Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

Royal heartbreak: Monarch in mourning following unexpected death of long-time friend

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The Spanish royal couple put on a sombre display as they attended the funeral of Jaime Carvajal Hoyos, the CEO of Arcano bank. King Felipe and Queen Letizia were greeted by the Carvajal family upon their arrival at the funeral home in Madrid where the ceremony took place. 

The Spanish monarch wore a dark suit and tie and had his face covered by a surgical mask.

Similarly, Queen Letizia, who was photographed holding her husband’s arm outside of the funeral home, donned a surgical mask as well as an elegant black shirt and trousers.

King Felipe and Mr Carvajal’s friendship dates back to their childhood, with their parents – then-King Juan Carlos and Jaime Carvajal Urquijo – close friends.

In 1998, King Felipe, then Prince of Asturias, was one of the best men at Mr Carvajal’s wedding. 

Infanta Cristina, King Felipe’s sister, and her husband Inaki Urdangarin were among the guests.

The 56-year-old CEO died from a sudden heart attack, leaving behind his wife Xandra Falco and three daughters.

Days before his death, Mr Carvajal had returned from his summer break in Mallorca. 

The funeral came at a difficult time for the Spanish Royal Family.

The former king suddenly left the country last month while his finances are under scrutiny in a major corruption probe.

The 82-year-old royal travelled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 3, his spokesman confirmed later during the same month.  

The former monarch had previously revealed his intentions to leave the country to his son Felipe in a letter.

Saying he was making the decision “in the face of the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating”, King Juan Carlos said he hoped his son could continue carrying out his duties as monarch with “tranquility” despite the scandal.

Juan Carlos denies any wrongdoing and has said he is available if prosecutors need to interview him.

Since news of the probe broke, Queen Letizia and King Felipe had continued to put on a united front. 

The couple were visiting Ibiza on the day their royal palace confirmed Juan Carlos’s whereabouts.

Juan Carlos I’s reign started two days after the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Despite having been widely credited to have helped the country’s transition to democracy, Juan Carlos’s reign began to unravel in 2012. 

That year the monarch undertook a lavish trip to Botswana and was photographed standing next to a dead elephant with a rifle over his shoulder while Spain was struggling with a financial crisis.

Two years later, King Juan Carlos abdicated and handed over the crown to his son.    

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