Infanta Cristina of Spain has been stripped by councillors in Barcelona of the city’s Gold Medal as the 50-year-old’s trial for tax fraud continues.
King Felipe’s sister has been revoked of Barcelona’s top honour after she was informed by the deputy mayor’s office that she may no longer use the title “her most excellent lady”, which comes with the award.
Deputy Mayor Gerado Pisarello said: “No merit exists by which the princess could be deserving of this honour”.
He continued saying that the princess should have voluntarily handed back the award after she was originally accused of corruption.
Infanta Cristina previously lived in Barcelona from 1992 to 2009, where she worked for the charitable foundation of La Caixa bank. The city’s Gold Medal was bestowed to her in 1997.
There has been controversy, however, with the decision, with fears it may prejudice her trial which is currently on-going.
The councillors have said that the decision to revoke her honour would in no way prejudice the trial, but some say it may put the presumption of innocence in doubt.
As a result of this, the conservative Popular Party decided to abstain from the vote to strip the award from the princess, with some asking what will happen if she is acquitted and found not guilty.
The trial of Infanta Cristina is centred on the Nóos Institute, a company formerly run by her husband Iñaki Urdangarin. The company allegedly used to embezzle public funds.
Cristina, Mr Urdangarin and 16 other defendants are being tried in Palma de Mallorca. The trial started on January 11th and it expected to last for around six months.
The princess is the first member of the Spanish Royal Family to ever be put on trial and faces two charges of being an accomplice to tax fraud.
Public prosecutors want a jail sentence of eight years, but her lawyers have asked to exonerate Cristina before she is cross-examined, arguing that she has not actually been accused by the state, but a private prosecution.
The court is currently in recess until February 9th while the judges consider this appeal and other matters that have arisen.