The controversial ruling makes Cristina the first member of Spain's royal family ever to face criminal charges

By Caris Davis
January 29, 2016 02:40 PM
Europa Press/Getty

Spains’ Princess Cristina de Borb n has lost her legal battle to avoid being tried for tax fraud after a Spanish court ruled that the trial must go on, making Cristina the first member of Spain’s royal family ever to face criminal charges

Cristina, 50, is charged with tax fraud as part of an alleged $6 million embezzlement scheme involving her husband and 16 other defendants, all of whom plead their innocence.

Lawyers for King Felipe‘s older sister had contended that the Infanata Cristina, as she is sometimes known, was shielded from prosecution by a Spanish legal precedent known as the Botin doctrine, which they argued protected their royal client from prosecution for tax fraud by a private entity.

But Virginia Lopez Negrete, a lawyer for the anti-corruption group, Manos Limpias, had countered that the 2007 Botin case, where an allegedly corrupt banker walked free after the case against him collapsed, was “anachronistic.”

All citizens – regardless of their status as royalty – were equal before the law, she said during the first day of the trial on January 11 at a specially convened court in Palma, capital of the Balearic island of Majorca.

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On Friday, after prolonged deliberation, three judges decided in the prosecution’s favor and green lighted-Princess Cristina’s public trial in an 85-page ruling.

Proceedings, expected to feature some 363 witness, will take place February 9.

But some citizens in Spain, it seems, are not waiting for the trial verdict, which is unlikely to be delivered before June 2016.

The city of Barcelona – where the woman once dubbed "Spain’s Princess Di" married and raised her four children – stripped Cristina of its highest honor.

Officials have demanded the return of the gold Barcelona Medal – the highest honor it can bestow – originally awarded to commemorate Princess Cristina’s special relationship with the city.