THE former king of Spain gave his ex-mistress a giant engagement ring worth more than a million euros as an anniversary gift.
Sources close to Corinna Larsen, 57, have revealed that the emerald ring was inscribed ‘22-1-10’, to represent the date marking the five years that the Danish-German businesswoman and former monarch Juan Carlos I had been together.
“He was very proud of it,” she explained. “He showed it to his friends, all of the friends’ wives wanted to see it… I was just careful not to wear it out in meetings where this could be observed and then lead to rumours swirling around the palace.”
The revelation was made by the king’s former lover, who uses her married name of Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, in the third episode of a sensational podcast, Corinna and the King.
The eight-part series details her decade-long involvement with Juan Carlos, 84, who abdicated the throne in 2014 after a series of scandals about his private life.
In the latest episode, which was released on Monday, Larsen explains how she visited the then-king at the Zarzuela royal palace in Madrid, as well as on business trips to the Middle East and around Europe.
She also provides shocking details about Juan Carlos’s dodgy business dealings – including him coming home from trips with “bags of cash” – and explains how promiscuous he had been with women, including when he casually told her that he had been seeing another woman just after her father had died from cancer.
“When I arrived in Madrid, not long thereafter, in a state of real grief and despair, the king somehow in a conversation mentioned something about me not having been available much during those eight months when my father was in his last stage of cancer,” she explains in the podcast. “And that he’d been seeing someone else.”
She also revealed how she had been confronted by the king’s wife, Queen Sofía, during a private tour of the Zarzuela palace.
“Suddenly, Queen Sofia burst into the room. And with a face like thunder,” she explains. “She said hello to a guest and then pointed at me and said, ‘I know who you are’. I obviously wanted to disappear into the ground.”
The eight-part podcast, which has been produced and released by American best-selling authors Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, comes at a sensitive time for the Spanish royal family, as the king is facing a trial at the High Court in London over his relationship with Larsen.
In her lawsuit, she alleges that the king caused “great mental pain” to her after their relationship ended by getting the Spanish secret service (CNI) to spy on her and harass her.
Juan Carlos denies any wrongdoing and his lawyers argue he is “entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of the English courts being from the Spanish royal family”.
Despite speculation in the Spanish press over the timing of the podcast release, which came just ahead of the most recent appeals hearing in the case, podcast producer Bradley Hope recently told an Olive Press reporter it was a mere coincidence. “We had no idea about the court schedule, nor would it have a consequence to our decision [to release the podcast],” he said.
Corinna met the then-king at a dinner party hosted in the Duke of Westminster’s giant La Garganta estate in Cordoba. It is the largest private hunting estate in Europe, and has regularly hosted Prince William and Prince Harry.
According to episode one of the podcast, Larsen caught the king’s attention when she walked out of the dinner early, thus breaking protocol.
From that moment, the mother-of-two claims she started getting regular flowers and love letters from Juan Carlos, while he phoned her “10 times a day” at work under the name “Mr Sumer”, an acronym of “Su Majestad el Rey”, meaning His Majesty the King.
Some of the most shocking claims are linked to the huge sums of money he had been paid in cash on foreign business trips.
“I’d see him come back from trips and he’d be happy as a five-year-old. And there’d be bags full of cash, and you go, ‘Oh my God, what’s that?’, and it’s like, ‘Oh this is from my friend so and so, and this is from my friend so and so’. It seemed to me like a very habitual situation,” she explained.
She added that the king, who is living in self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi, would brush off her questions when she asked where the money came from, telling her she “didn’t understand Spain”.
In March of this year, all of the investigations into King Juan Carlos were shelved by the Supreme Court, on the basis that any tax fraud or money laundering offences were either committed when he enjoyed immunity as head of state, or had exceeded the statute of limitations. Investigations by a Swiss prosecutor into his business dealings were also shelved.
Meanwhile, Larsen alleges that the harassment she claims she was subjected to was aimed at getting her to return a €65 million “gift” that Juan Carlos had transferred into her bank accounts in 2012. The money is alleged to have come from a kickback that Juan Carlos received due to his mediation in the awarding of a contract to a Spanish business consortium to build a high-speed rail link to Mecca.