Spanish monarchy's popularity hits new low

By Jorge Sainz

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

A year after he first gave testimony, Urdangarin will return to a tribunal in Palma de Mallorca to answer more questions from investigating magistrate Jose Castro. Urdangarin hasn't been formally charged, but all indications point to a long and drawn-out trial that will keep suspicions of royal extravagance swirling.

The royal family has responded by barring him from official functions and pulling his profile from the monarchy's website. When both Urdangarin and his brother-in-law Prince Felipe attended the final of the world handball championship, which Spain hosted and won, they didn't even look at each other.

"He's been ostracized and separated from the royal family," said Burns Maranon. He said it will be a blow for the royal family if he's jailed but "even worse if he got off scot-free."

Meanwhile, the case is getting closer and closer to Princess Cristina, with her personal secretary, Carlos Garcia Revenga, set to make statements before the magistrate on Saturday.

Garcia Revenga hasn't been formally accused. The royal family has used this as an argument to keep him in his post as it waits for justice to take its course. But the question that arises is whether or not Princess Cristina knew about her husband's alleged activities.

"I don't see why Princess Cristina would be accused of anything," said Urdangarin's lawyer, Pascual Vives. "Her situation is radically different from those facing accusations."

Ironically, Urdangarin and his wife have the title of the Duke and Duchess of Palma, the same city investigating the case. Responding to popular revulsion, city hall said it removed the street name "Duques de Palma" — one of the municipality's most central thoroughfares — because of the "less-than-exemplary behavior toward the title."

It's only a symbol, but it reflects the loss of reputation the monarchy is suffering at an especially difficult time for Spaniards.

Associated Press writer Harold Heckle contributed to this report.

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