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ROYAL FAMILY

King Juan Carlos insisted €65 million was ‘a gift’ to former mistress

Spain's ex-king Juan Carlos had denied that a former mistress at the heart of a graft allegation that pushed him into exile ever held money on his behalf, in a 2018 letter published Friday in Spanish media.

King Juan Carlos insisted €65 million was 'a gift' to former mistress
Former King Juan Carlos I photographed at an official event in December 2018

The Danish-born business consultant Corinna Larsen, who was the former monarch's lover between 2004 and 2009, has said she received a significant amount of money from Juan Carlos in 2012: 65 million euros ($77 million) according to Swiss daily La Tribune.

During an explosive interview broadcast Thursday on the BBC, she said he made this “enormously generous gift” out of “gratitude for looking after him” and because he valued her son.

Larsen, who still uses the surname zu Sayn Wittgenstein from a former German husband, is one of three people under investigation in Switzerland over $100 million which Juan Carlos received from late Saudi king Abdullah in a Swiss bank account.   

Swiss prosecutors suspect the 65-million-euro gift she received from Juan Carlos served to hide what was left of the money he received from the Saudi royal.

If that is the case, and if the money came from illegal activities, she could be liable for the crime of money laundering, which she denies.    

In conversations with a retired police officer which were apparently recorded without her knowledge that were leaked to online Spanish newspaper OK Diario, Larsen accused Juan Carlos of graft, saying he regularly flew to the Middle East and “returned with bags of money”.   

In the letter dated August 12, 2018 which Juan Carlos sent to his Swiss lawyer Dante Canonica, the former king says the donation which he made to Larsen in 2012 “was irrevocable”.

“I never received any amount back from her. I have never asked for it,” he wrote in French in the letter published in several Spanish newspapers including pro-monarchy daily ABC.

“Madame Corinna zu Sayn Wittgenstein has therefore never held money on my behalf, contrary to what may have been suggested in the Spanish media.”    

During her BBC interview, Larsen also said the former king never asked for the money back.

While Juan Carlos is not under formal investigation, the revelations made by Larsen have raised legal questions about the former king's financial affairs which officials are looking into in Spain and Switzerland, and pushed him to move to the United Arab Emirates on August 3rd.

Despite his self-imposed exile Juan Carlos, who abditicated in 2014, has said he remains available to prosecutors.

READ MORE: Exiled King Juan Carlos confirmed to be hiding out in United Arab Emirates

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ROYAL FAMILY

What is Sweden doing to celebrate the King’s 50th year on the throne?

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf marks his 50-year jubilee next year, while the nation will mark the 500th anniversary of the year Gustav Vasa ascended to the throne after liberating Sweden from Danish rule. So, how is Sweden celebrating?

What is Sweden doing to celebrate the King's 50th year on the throne?

Carl XVI Gustaf was only 27 when he became king following the death of his grandfather, Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973, and he had been Crown Prince since his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, died in a plane crash when he was just four years old. 

In 2018, he became Sweden’s longest reigning monarch ever, and he’s currently showing few signs of slowing down. 

Here are the main events planned for 2023 to celebrate his rule. 

January 27th: the Sweden Dinner

Jubilee celebrations will begin shortly after the New Year’s celebration, with a Sverigemiddag, or “Sweden Dinner”, planned in Stockholm at the Kungliga slottet, or Royal Palace, for January 27.

Leaders from each of Sweden’s 21 counties are invited, and those leaders will also select significant people from their counties to “set the tone” (tongivande människor) for the event.

February-September: Tour of Swedish counties

Throughout the year, the King and Queen will travel to all of Sweden’s counties, riding in a horse-drawn carriage wherever possible. These visits will take place between February and September.

June 6th: National Day celebrations

As mentioned above, on June 6, the royal couple will be in Strängnäs to mark the anniversary of the founding of modern Sweden under Gustav Vasa.

After visiting Strängnäs, the King will give a National Day speech at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, which has its own statue of Gustav Vasa, and which will itself be celebrating its 150-year anniversary next year. A National Day reception will also be held at the museum.

September 15th and September 16th: Main jubilee celebrations

September 15, 2023, officially marks 50 years from the day when Carl XVI Gustaf became Sweden’s king. 

A Jubilee dinner with international heads of state and royals will be held that evening in the Rikssalen at the Royal Palace.

The next day, on September 16th, the King and Queen will travel through Stockholm in a Jubilee Cortege. This will be followed by a Jubilee Concert, which will be open to the public and may also be broadcast live on TV and radio.

While not all these events will be open to the public, there are plenty of opportunities for regular civilians to get caught up in Jubilee celebrations. In March, an exhibition titled “Vasa to Bernadotte – Culture in the service of the kingdom 1523 – 1973 – 2023”, tracking the history of the Swedish monarchy, will open at the Royal Palace. And in June, an outdoor photography retrospective on Carl XVI Gustaf’s time as King will open at Slottsbacken, by the Royal Palace. 

Gustaf Vasa led a rebellion against the Danish King Kristian II, led Sweden’s reformation, and established Sweden as a unitary kingdom. Photo: National Museum of Sweden

So what’s planned to celebrate the the Vasa anniversary? 

Next year isn’t all about contemporary royalty, there’s also a historical king to celebrate. 

Gustav Vasa, or Gustav 1st, is seen by many Swedes as the country’s greatest ever ruler. During his rule, Vasa did away with the tradition of elected monarchs, replacing the system with a hereditary monarchy, then ruled by the House of Vasa.

The day he was elected king, June 6th, 1523, is now celebrated as Sweden’s national day.

So on June 6th, a full day of festivities is planned in Strängnäs, the city where Vasa’s election was held, with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia presiding over the day’s events.

The Royal Castles will mark Gustav Vasa’s election with a variety of events, including lectures, concerts, and park walks planned throughout the year at Vasaborgen Gripsholm, or Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred. The castle itself is an important historical site, dating back to the era of Sweden’s Vasa rulers

You can apply for tickets here from March for the events at Gripsholm Castle. 

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