Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Royal Profile: Don Iñaki Urdangarín y Liebaert, Duke of Palma de Mallorca

Don Iñaki Urdangarín y Liebaert, Duke of Palma de Mallorca was born 15 Junauray 1968, and is the husband of Infanta Cristian, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. His parents were Juan María Urdangarín Berriochoa (1932-2012) & Claire Françoise Liebaert Courtain (1935-), and his is of Spanish Basque & belgian descent. His paternal grandparents were minor Basque nobility.

The Duke consort grew up primarily in Barcelona with his older brother, and five sisters.

In 1986, he became a professional handball player for FC Barcelona, where he continued to play until he retired from the sport in 2000. He also participated in numerous Olympics as part of the Spainish handball team, he participated in the  Summer Olympics in 1992 in Barcelona, 1996 in Atlanta, and in the 2000 Sydney Olympics(where he served as captain). The Spanish handball team won bronze medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

Also during his handball career, he studied at Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas (ESADE), where he earned a master's degree in business administration.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, he met Infanta Cristina, the daughter of King Juan Carlos. They married on 4 October 1997. Upon their marriage, her father granted them the titles Duke Consort & Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. Together, they have four children, including:


The family lived in Barcelona until 2009, when Iñaki's career brought the family to Washington, DC. The family returned to Spain in 2012.

The Duke Consort is a member of the Spanish Olympic Committe, and has served as its deputy chairmain since 2004. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Spanish Royal Order of the Sports Merit (The Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo) in 2001.

In November 2011, he was accused of diverting public funds for his own profit throng the Nóos institute in the 'Palma Arena case. In December of that same year, the Anticorruption Bureau confirmed that the Duke had been sending important sums of public money to tax havens in Belize and the United Kingdom and the Spainish Royal Court annonced that the Duke Consort would no longer participate in any official Royal Family activities as a result of the scandal. In 2012, he made several court appearances over the allegations




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