She will be the first royal family member to stand trial since Spain’s monarchy was restored in 1975. Cristina, the 50-year-old sister of King Felipe VI, was indicted as part of a four-year probe into her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, who faces charges of money-laundering and fraud.
The Balearic court in Palma said the couple will stand trial next year along with 16 others in the case. Cristina and Urdangarin, through their lawyers, have repeatedly asserted their innocence. If convicted, she could face up to four years in prison.
Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball medallist-turned-businessman, faces a possible sentence of up to 19 years. Urdangarin is accused of using his title to embezzle about six million euros in public contracts from the regional governments in the Balearics and Valencia in particular through a non-profit foundation he and a business partner set up.
Felipe stripped Cristina of her title as Duchess of Palma - which she received on marrying Urdangarin in 1997 - earlier this year in a move to distance the royal family from the court process. Urdangarin automatically lost his title as duke. Cristina is sixth in line of succession to the throne, and calls have increased for her to renounce her princess title and rights to the throne so as to protect the image of the monarchy ahead of the trial. The couple have been sidelined from royal activities since 2011.