Spain’s Queen Letizia had an affair during the early years of her marriage to King Felipe, it has been claimed.
Jaime del Burgo, a longtime friend of the queen who went on to marry her sister, has alleged that he was in a romantic relationship with Letizia, before she was married in 2004 and at another point after her wedding.
Mr Del Burgo shared an image of Letizia on social media in which she is visibly pregnant. King Felipe and Queen Letizia’s daughters were born in 2005 and 2007.
He claimed that Letizia sent him the photo while they were conducting the affair along with the message: “Love. I am wearing your pashmina. It is like feeling you by my side. It looks after me. Protects me. I am counting the hours until we see each other again, love you, get out of here. Yours.”
Speculation over the Spanish queen’s relationship with Mr Del Burgo emerged after the 53-year-old businessman was interviewed by the author of a new book about his relationship with the royal.
In Letizia y yo (Letizia and I), by royal reporter Jaime Peñafiel, Mr Del Burgo claimed Queen Letizia told him that she loved him as they lay in hammocks by the pool at her and Felipe’s royal residence, La Zarzuela. This prompted him to write an unpublished play in English, entitled The Hammock.
He is also quoted as saying that Spain’s CNI secret service placed him under surveillance for five years and even broke into his home in Switzerland. Mr Del Burgo said the alleged operation did not achieve its presumed objectives as he had placed everything to do with his relationship with Letizia – “photographs, videos, mobile phones, text messages” – in a bank vault.
Spain’s royal household declined to comment on Mr Del Burgo’s claims.
Book ‘did not tell whole truth’
Mr Del Burgo claims in the book that he had been poised to propose to Letizia – then an anchor on Spanish state television news shows – and had a ring in his pocket on the night she first told him about her relationship with Felipe.
The book does not allege that any affair was conducted during Letizia’s marriage to Felipe. However, he has now claimed that it did.
Mr Del Burgo, who was a witness at the wedding of Felipe and Letizia, claimed that the future queen begged him to “never leave her” the night before she was married. He went on in 2012 to marry the queen’s sister, Telma Ortiz, before the couple divorced two years later.
On his account on X, formerly known as Twitter, which was deleted on Monday, Mr Del Burgo said that the book had not told the whole truth, and made the claim that he and Letizia had been lovers during her marriage to King Felipe.
Some social media users posted messages of support for Queen Letizia. Carolina Alonso, spokeswoman of the Left-wing and anti-monarchist Unidas Podemos group in Madrid’s regional parliament, said Mr Del Burgo’s messages were a “sexist attack on her privacy”.
Mr Del Burgo, the son of a prominent politician who was president of the Navarre region, lives outside Spain, dividing his time between Switzerland and London.
He attracted considerable publicity in the past for complaining about press intrusion when he was married to Queen Letizia’s sister. He also made headlines when he claimed that the public should rise up and ignore lockdown rules during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scandals cast doubt over future of Spanish monarchy
The claims come at a time when King Felipe and Queen Letizia appeared to be consolidating their reign after a series of scandals involving former King Juan Carlos had cast doubt over the future of the Spanish monarchy.
Letizia has been more outspoken in her appearances since turning 50 last year, recently quoting a popular rap artist’s lyrics at an event aimed at raising the profile of mental health issues.
In October, Princess Leonor, the royal couple’s eldest daughter, swore her allegiance to Spain’s Constitution in front of large and enthusiastic crowds who had gathered in the streets of Madrid to cheer the 18-year-old heir to the throne.
Juan Carlos, who abdicated in favour of Felipe in 2014, was excluded from Princess Leonor’s ceremony in the Spanish parliament.
Juan Carlos moved to Abu Dhabi in 2020 after his financial affairs became the subject of an investigation by Spanish prosecutors. Eventually, no charges were brought because some offences including money laundering were covered by the immunity heenjoyed while on the throne, while more recent tax offences were amended by payments of back tax.
A recent poll published by the digital newspaper El Diario showed that 45 per cent of Spaniards would support a republic in the event of a referendum on the monarchy, while 43.5 back the current system. Most polls over recent years suggest that such a referendum would be a close-run affair.