Palma.—The Foundation is made up of leading captains of Balearic business, as well as the then Balearic government presided over by Jaume Matas, and during yesterday's meeting at the Majorcan Tourist Board, the Foundation unanimously agreed to ask the National Heritage Board for the yacht to be handed back to the Foundation.

Earlier this month, the king announced he was giving up the Palma-based 21-million-euro yacht Fortuna as the country weathers a biting recession and record unemployment.

The 41.5-metre (136-foot) yacht was donated 13 years ago by the business group but left the king open to criticism during hard times in Spain. Each refuelling of the yacht costs more than 20'000 euros.

The group and the Tourism and Cultural Foundation of the Balearics, had said it hoped the king's presence in Majorca, where the royal family have traditionally spent their Easter and Summer holidays would draw tourists. Like other assets including the royal palaces, the luxury yacht is owned by the state and managed by the National Heritage for the use by the 75-year-old king and his family.

But the king has used the yacht less frequently in recent years, making his last outing in August last year. “The king has taken the decision to ask the National Heritage to proceed with the release of the asset,” a spokesman for the institution said.
However, it appears that the future of the yacht, which at one time was one of the most advanced and fastest of its kind afloat, lies with the National Heritage department which is presided over by the Presidential Minister, Soraya Seanz de Santamaria in Madrid whose decisions will then go before the cabinet. Sources in Madrid have said that the yacht could be auctioned or remain as the property of the State.

Spain's monarchy has seen its popularity plummet in recent months with recent polls showing public confidence in the royal family has reached an all time low.

The Royal family have also been hit by a fraud and embezzlement scandal embroiling the King's son-in-law, the Duke of Palma, which has led to Princess Cristina's tax returns being investigated.

Last year the Royal Family announced they would reduce their annual budget by 100'000 euros to 8.3m euros with King Juan Carlos and his heir Prince Felipe announcing they would take a pay cut of 7 percent, broadly in line with the public sector wage cut imposed by the government.