Spain's royal family are facing fresh embarrassment with the publication of details of the controversial elephant hunting trip taken by King Juan Carlos last month and the mysterious role of the blonde aristocrat who accompanied him.
Corinna zu Sayn Wittgenstein appears on the cover of the June edition of Spain's 'Vanity Fair' magazine alongside claims that she has been the king's unofficial companion on numerous private trips abroad, including the ill-fated Botswana safari in April which caused outrage in Spain.
The twice-divorced Princess Corinna (46), who was born in Germany and claims her title through her second husband, has reportedly fled Spain amid intense speculation that she is actually the Spanish monarch's mistress.
"She has told me that the king is her friend and a great guy whom she admires. Nothing more," said Ms zu Sayn Wittgenstein's first husband, Philip J Adkin, an American shipping magnate who confirmed he had also been a member of the hunting party in Botswana.
The hunting trip became public knowledge after the 74-year-old monarch fractured his hip in a fall in camp and was rushed back to Madrid for surgery. News of the king shooting endangered animals while Spaniards suffered deep economic strife was met with public outcry.
The king and Ms zu Sayn Wittgenstein reportedly met when she was organising shooting expeditions for Boss & Co, Britain's oldest gunshop where she worked until 2006. They were on the same safari in Mozambique in 2004. Several hunting trips followed as well as a trip to Saudi Arabia.
Sources at the royal household insist she has no official role in relation to the king but friends spoken to by Vanity Fair talk of her being his "financial adviser". (© Daily Telegraph, London)