SPAIN’S second-biggest newspaper El Mundo has sacked one of its journalists, Jaime Peñafiel, after he made a series of extraordinary claims about the private life of Queen Letizia. The 91-year-old, who worked for the daily for two decades as a columnist, insisted after his firing that he ‘didn’t regret it’.
Peñafiel published a book late last year called Letizia & I, much of which was based on allegations made by Letizia’s former brother-in-law, Jaime del Burgo.
Del Burgo has made a series of claims – both in the book and on social media – that he was still in a relationship with Letizia, a former television journalist, after she had married King Felipe back in 2004.
More recently, Peñafiel gave a controversial interview that was broadcast via YouTube in which he claimed that Letizia had fertility problems, and that her sister Erika Ortiz – who died in circumstances suspected by many to have been a suicide back in February 2007 – donated her eggs to the queen so that she could bear children.
In the YouTube interview, Peñafiel went so far as to blame Ortiz’s suicide on Letizia banning her sister from seeing her children, Leonor and Sofia.
This claim cannot be true, however, given that Sofia was not born until April 2007, several months after Ortiz’s death.
According to press reports, El Mundo sacked Peñafiel as a columnist due to a reorganisation and budget restraints, but Peñafiel went on the record to say that it was due to his comments about the Spanish queen.
“It was all about the statements on Letizia and the book,” he told Semana magazine. “I have no regrets, I am what I am and that’s the end of it.”