Well, two, actually. Ingrid Sartiau and Albert Solá are their names. Both have reason to believe that their biological father is Juan Carlos de Borbón, better known as the former King Juan Carlos of Spain. And with the king’s abdication, both are now pressing forward with their paternity suits, in the hope of finally getting the truth out of him, at least:
When they bundled Albert Solá into a jeep and pulled him at high speed from some live-fire exercises in Los Monegros, it seemed very strange to him. It was February 1978, and he was a 22-year-old private doing his military service in the Saboya de Leganés regiment, but they told him that his father had had an accident, they gave him eight days’ leave, and “even offered to take me to Girona”. He rode back to his village, guarded by another vehicle. “When I arrived, my father was working in the field. There had not been any serious accident.” He was glad; he was young, and eight days’ leave from the military were eight free days.
That anecdote can be added to the shocking beginnings of his military service, in 1977: he joined the encampment 17 days after the rest of his comrades because of some endless medical exams which the army performed on him. “It was the most complete medical checkup of my life.”
Another strange event in his changeful life. He was born in the Barcelona Maternity Hospital in 1956, son of a single mother, and was given to a family in Ibiza to be raised. “Someone paid 300 pesetas a month for the wet-nursing.” When he was nearly 8 years old, he was given in adoption to a farming couple, Salvador Solá and Antonia Jiménez.
Now he knows he was torn from the arms of his mother, whom they told that she had given birth to a very sick boy who needed special care, and they moved her to Switzerland to avoid a scandal in Barcelonese society. Today he knows that five years after his birth, his biological mother was given the corpse of a boy the same age as he, who had died in hospice. “They told her it was me, her son Alberto. She buried him and gave herself over to her sorrow.”
“I never looked for the king,” says Albert Solá Jiménez, who says he is the natural son of [ex-king] Juan Carlos de Borbón. “They came looking for me” when he lived in Mexico, because his biological mother knew he was alive and wanted to meet him. And, even though this meeting didn’t take place, Solá began to ask questions and investigate his origins. He took the judicial route to access his adoption papers. His surprise was greater when a judge in Barcelona met with him and his attorney to grant him access to the documents, and said in the chamber, as Sola says: “Now do you know who is the father of this man? Juan Carlos de Borbón, king of Spain.”
Solá was stunned. Suddenly, he began to piece together the hidden fragments of his life, “and I could put a face to this sensation that I’d always had that someone was ruling over my destiny, someone I could not identify, but whom I always perceived in a powerful and indefinite form.” In his eyes, that power directing his life was “the hand of Francisco Franco”, since his biological mother’s family had strong ties to the Franco régime. And, later, the knowledge “of determined powers” that he could be the son of Juan Carlos de Borbón. That is what he says, and that is his conviction.
On Friday, Juan Carlos I abdicated, following the publication in the Official Bulletin of State of the organic law off the succession of Felipe VI. And on that day, his immunity as head of state ended. On Monday, Solá’s attorney will present a writ of extension so that this new circumstance may be taken into account.
The law does not take into account how to proceed regarding the paternity suit which Solá filed in a Madrid court concerning the head of state, because no such regulation exists. For that reason, the judge archived the case at the same time as the monarch’s immunity became law.
Now, the “express” reform which the government has put in place against possible civil suits which might arise against Juan Carlos de Borbón, the abdicated king, who enjoys parliamentary immunity before the Supreme Court.
Solá went over the archive of his paternity suit from October. Deliberations over the recourse are slated for September 9 in the Civil Court of Madrid, Section 24.
For that reason, on Monday, the writ of extension will be presented. It will argue that a new event has occurred, which affects the petition. In this case, the abdication. Article 286 of the Law of Civil Trials permits presentation of such a writ if there is an event of relevance before a sentence is handed down.
Solá’s attorney, Francisco Bueno Celdrán, emphasizes that the right to identity is one of the fundamental rights of a person. In case Juan Carlos de Borbón’s immunity persists, because the suit was filed when he was head of state, they will solicit the exhumation of the body of his father, Juan de Borbón, for the relevant DNA tests, as he never reigned. Bueno also insists that the ex-king’s immunity does not extend to his private actions, but to the exercise of headship of state, and says that the case is not a “settled matter”, because the judge in the first instance did not probe the matter in depth. All these matters must be resolved in the audience.
“I know how it all will end: with a ‘yes’ from him,” concludes Solá, referring to his suspected biological father. To be sure, that “yes” will recognize that he, Alberto Fernando Augusto, registered as a newborn in the Civil Register of 1956 and in the Maternity Hospital’s records as son of Anna María Bach Ramón, is the first-born son of Juan Carlos de Borbón.
Albert Solá tells his life story with a mixture of Catalan accent and Mexican inflection. Because, as an adult, he moved to Mexico, where his two daughters reside.
In a trip to Spain in 1988, he went to the Maternity Home in Barcelona, in order to learn about his adoption proceedings; he wanted to know who his parents were. They refused to give the information to him, so he had to solicit it via the judicial route. A year later, the Maternity Home called him: his mother had appeared. He got his hopes up and began to write to her. Two years later, his wife received an anonymous phone call. they told her that they had been deceived, that this woman was not Solá’s biological mother.
In 1998, Albert Solá hired a detective agency. And there he found out that his surnames could be Ramón Bach, because he was listed in the Maternity Home as Bach Ramón, but it was a habit of the times to reverse the surnames in the case of a single mother’s child.
He returned to Spain in 2000, summoned by Javier U.R., a resident of Guadalajara, who contacted him in Mexico through acquaintances. He claimed to be speaking as a representative of Solá’s mother and that she wanted to meet him. Solá arrived on August 8, checked in at the Hotel Plaza, and waited and waited. She did not contact him. In September, he went to live at the home of his adoptive mother in Girona, to wait for news. The man contacted him again, and confessed that “he was under a lot of pressure”. He called him to Pastrana and advised him that it would be prudent. “I didn’t know where Pastrana was.”
He arrived there, and Javier told him again of the “great pressure” which “many people” were putting on him over the case, but Solá didn’t get anything more out of him. He decided to cut off relations with this person, because he believed that he was being fooled once again. “I bought a return ticket for Mexico. Then I got an anonymous phone call which told me: ‘We know you want to leave the country. For your safety, don’ty do it.'” The call ended.
Solá decided to stay in Spain and access his adoption papers judicially. There were 42 documents.
When he uncovered the possible paternity, he received another message, and sensed that his biological mother was in danger. “They begged me ‘not to do her harm, she’s on your side’…I know that one day, I’ll meet her.”
In 2012, a Belgian citizen, Ingrid Sartiau, contacted Solá over the Internet. She also claims that she is a child of Juan Carlos de Borbón, fruit of the monarch’s relationship with Liliane Sartiau in 1966.
Both have had DNA tests done by Jean-Jacques Cassiman of Louvain University. The result is that they have a high likelihood of a shared progenitor.
“High likelihood of a shared progenitor” — in short, a father in common. And if Juan Carlos isn’t forthcoming for the DNA tests and insists on maintaining his royal immunity (as he is very likely to do, if this article is any indication), then they’ll have to exhume his father’s body — their suspected biological grandfather — and obtain a sample from it. Juan de Borbón was never king, and that’s a legal loophole that the parliament may not be able to close in time, or at all.
And if Juan Carlos isn’t the father of Albert Solá, I’ll eat my hat, because that man is the spitting image of him. Younger, of course, but the facial features are identical. No wonder the late fascist dictator was at great pains to conceal him from the world…and no wonder the king is still knocking himself out trying to keep secret what can’t be kept secret anymore.
Stay tuned, folks, this is going to get mighty hot.