Paternity suit against King Juan Carlos shelved by Supreme Court

Neither of the two lawsuits filed since the monarch’s abdication have prospered

An archive photo of Ingrid Sartiau and Albert Solá, who both claim to be the children of Spain’s King Juan Carlos.
An archive photo of Ingrid Sartiau and Albert Solá, who both claim to be the children of Spain’s King Juan Carlos.Tura Soler

Spain’s Supreme Court has rejected a paternity lawsuit filed against the former Spanish king, Juan Carlos, who abdicated last June. The case had originally been accepted by the top court in January, but now justices have decided to close and shelve the case brought by Ingrid Sartiau, a 48-year-old Belgian woman, who claims to be the daughter of the ex-monarch.

The magistrates accepted the arguments contained in an appeal filed by the former king’s lawyers, which pointed to contradictions and vagueness in the original lawsuit. Initially, the magistrates had decided that the lawsuit contained plausible facts that would have demanded investigation under Spanish law. Now, however, after studying the appeal filed by the king, which was accompanied by documentary evidence, they have done a U-turn and decided to shelve the case.

The evidence supplied by Sartiau’s lawyers was a document signed by her mother before a notary. In the document, Liliane Ghrislaine Sariau, who is now 80, attested to having had a brief relationship with Juan Carlos de Borbón at the end of 1965. As a result of that relationship, according to the woman, Ingrid Sartiau was born in 1966, a year after the king’s daughter Cristina, and three years before King Felipe VI.

The appeal from the Spanish royal was supported by the public prosecutor, who has always maintained that there was no proof in the original lawsuit that would have seen the courts legally obliged to investigate.

The Supreme Court has also rejected an appeal filed by Sartiau after her request for a pre-emptive DNA test on King Juan Carlos was rejected.

Second suit

In January, magistrates at the top tribunal rejected another paternity lawsuit filed by Albert Solá Jiménez, a Spaniard born in Barcelona in 1956.

The two paternity suits were presented in ordinary courts in 2012 when Juan Carlos I was still the head of state, but judges rejected the cases at the time due to the immunity that the king enjoyed. After his abdication last June, the plaintiffs refiled the lawsuits, which were passed on to the Supreme Court after Spain’s parliament approved special immunity status for the former king from the lower courts.