March 11, 2015 / 4:33 PM / 4 years ago

Spanish court rejects paternity suit against former king

Spain's former King Juan Carlos attends a reception marking Spain's Armed Forces Day at the Royal palace in Madrid in this file June 8, 2014 photo. REUTERS/Andrea Comas/Pool

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s highest court rejected on Wednesday a paternity suit brought against former king Juan Carlos by a Belgian woman in her forties, a ruling that spares the royal family an embarrassing court hearing.

The Supreme Court had initially agreed to hear the case of Ingrid Sartiau, who claims to be Juan Carlos’s daughter. But after an appeal by lawyers for the 77-year-old former monarch the court said in a statement it had reversed its decision.

The court also rejected in January a similar claim brought by a 58-year-old Spanish man, Albert Sola, saying it did not meet legal requirements. The state prosecutor had recommended both cases be rejected.

The palace has declined to comment on the matter.

Juan Carlos, the father of King Felipe VI, abdicated last year in a move aimed at restoring the monarchy’s popularity. His abdication led to the loss of his judicial immunity.

However, due to legislation rushed through after he stepped down, Juan Carlos can only be tried in Spain’s highest court, the Supreme Court.

Although King Felipe consistently scores highly in opinion polls, his family continues to draw unwelcome headlines. His sister, Cristina de Borbon, is due to stand trial on tax fraud charges later this year.

Reporting By Raquel Castillo; Editing by Gareth Jones

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