Iñaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma de Mallorca

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Urdangarín and the second or maternal family name is Liebaert.
Iñaki Urdangarín
Duke of Palma de Mallorca
Iñaki Urdangarín.jpg
Iñaki Urdangarín
Spouse Infanta Cristina
Issue Juan Urdangarín y de Borbón
Pablo Urdangarín y de Borbón
Miguel Urdangarín y de Borbón
Irene Urdangarín y de Borbón
Full name
The Most Excellent Don Iñaki Urdangarín Liebaert
Father Don Juan María Urdangarín Berriochoa
Mother Mme. Claire Liebaert Courtain
Born (1968-01-15) 15 January 1968 (age 47)
Zumárraga, Basque Country, Spain
Olympic medal record
Men’s handball
Bronze medal – third place 1996 Atlanta Team Competition
Bronze medal – third place 2000 Sydney Team Competition

Iñaki Urdangarín y Liebaert, Duke of Palma de Mallorca (born 15 January 1968), is a retired handball player. He is the husband of the Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, the second child of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain.

Personal life[edit]

The Ducal Consort is the son of Juan María Urdangarín Berriochoa (b. Zumárraga, 19 September 1932 - d. Vitoria-Gasteiz, 10 May 2012) and wife Claire Françoise Liebaert Courtain (b. Antwerp, 16 July 1935), of Spanish Basque and Belgian (both Walloon and Flemish) descent respectively. He has six siblings. His paternal grandparents Laureano de Urdangarín y Larrañaga (1898–1982) and wife Ana de Berriochoa y Elgarresta (1902–1996) came from Basque minor nobility.[citation needed]

Sports career[edit]

At the age of 18, Urdangarín became a professional handball player with FC Barcelona Handbol, where he remained until his retirement in 2000. Meanwhile, he studied at the Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas (ESADE) in Barcelona, from which he received a master's degree in business administration.

As a member of the Spanish handball team, he participated in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Summer Olympics, serving as team captain in 2000. The team won the bronze medal in 1996 and 2000.

Marriage and children[edit]

It was at the 1996 games in Atlanta that he met the Infanta Cristina, whom he married in Barcelona on 4 October 1997. Upon his marriage, Urdangarín became jure uxoris The Most Excellent The Duke of Palma de Mallorca (Spanish: Excelentísimo Señor El Duque de Palma de Mallorca). The Duchess and Duke have four children, all born in Barcelona:

They lived in Barcelona until 2009, where the Duke was director of planning and development for Motorpress Ibérica and a founding partner of Nóos Consultoría Estratégica. From 2009-2011, the Royal couple and their family lived in Washington, D.C., where he worked for Telefónica, before returning to Barcelona. In August 2013, Infanta Christina moved with her four children to Geneva, Switzerland, to take a job with the Caixa Foundation, while her husband, who is the subject of an embezzlement investigation, remained in Barcelona.[1]

The Duke has been a member of the Spanish Olympic Committee since 4 April 2001, and was elected first deputy chairman on 16 February 2004. In 2001, the Duke of Palma received the Grand Cross of the Spanish Royal Order of Sports Merit (Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo).[2]

Alleged corruption and money laundering scandal[edit]

See also: Nóos case

In November 2011, the Duke was accused of diverting public funds for his own profit through the Nóos institute in the 'Palma Arena' case.[3] Searches were conducted at the Nóos institute by the Spanish Anticorruption bureau.[4] The daily El País has released a suspicious budget document for one international event that was organized by the aforementioned institute which was managed by Urdangarín at that time.[5] It is believed that he persuaded various Spanish public administrations (mostly regional governments) to sign agreements with his company, the Nóos Institute (which was supposed to be a non-profit organization) for both work that was never done and work that was dramatically overbudgeted up to €5,800,000 from public Administrations.[6]

In December 2011, the Anticorruption Bureau confirmed that the Duke had been sending substantial sums of public money to accounts in Belize and the United Kingdom. That same month, the Royal Household of Spain announced that it had decided that the Duke of Palma was not going to participate in any official Royal Family activity for the foreseeable future, as a result of the Instituto Nóos scandal.

In the King's Christmas speech on 24 December 2011, King Juan Carlos stated that "La justicia es igual para todos" ("Justice is the same for everyone"); the following day he clarified that he was speaking generally.[7]

On 6 February 2012, Urdangarin appeared before a judge regarding allegations of corruption.[8] He is being investigated, with 14 others, including Jaume Matas, former premier of the Balearics.[9][10] He appeared again on 25 February 2012 in Mallorca to answer questions before the investigating judge, José Castro.

On January 26, 2013 the Spanish royal household removed the section covering the Duke of Palma, Inaki Urdangarin from its official website.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]


Royal styles of
The Duke of Palma de Mallorca
Escudo de España (mazonado).svg
Reference style His Excellency
Spoken style Your Excellency
Alternative style Sir
  • 15 January 1968 – 4 October 1997: Iñaki Urdangarín Liebaert
  • 4 October 1997 – present: His Excellency The Duke of Palma de Mallorca

In view of contradictory Spanish legislation, enacted over the past 30 years, Urdangarín is not entitled to use the ducal title of his wife [11] (Royal Decree 1368/1987, Transitory Provisions, Third).[12] But by centuries-old social convention in Spain, he is considered a duke.[13] As such, he is styled by the same social convention as "His Excellency", but as a Knight Grand Cross he is also addressed with this style officially.[14]


See also List of honours of the Spanish Royal Family by country


Arms of Iñaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma de Mallorca
Coat of arms of Iñaki Urdangarín, Duke of Palma.svg
The Duchess' Consort personal coat of arms.
The crown of a Grandee of Spain.
A field of silver, displaying a tree of vert and at its trunk booted a wolf passant of sable, surrounded by a bordure of gules, charged with eight saltires of gold.
The ribbon of the Grand Cross of the Spanish Royal Order of the Sports Merit (Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo).
Coat of arms of Garai
The coat of arms is that of the anteiglesia of Garai, Biscay, coinciding with that of the Lordship of Biscay, i.e., that of the Count of Haro.[18]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ (Spanish) Royal Decree 1369/2001 The Duke of Palma member of the Royal Order of the Sports Merit.).
  3. ^ (Spanish) Iñaki Urdangarin is involved in the 'Palma Arena' case
  4. ^ (Spanish) Anticorrupción registra la fundación de Iñaki Urdangarin
  5. ^ (Spanish) http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2011/11/09/actualidad/1320868088_382205.html
  6. ^ (Spanish) Los gestores de Nóos facturaron al Instituto 1.700.000 euros cuando ya no funcionaba
  7. ^ The Big Picture, boston.com, January 2009; accessed 19 June 2014.
  8. ^ Spanish duke Inaki Urdangarin to appear before judge, bbc.co.uk; accessed 19 June 2014.
  9. ^ http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/672a39dc-3225-11e1-9be2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1iJJFbij3
  10. ^ (Spanish) Controversial news about Iñaki Urdangarin, inakiurdangarin.com; accessed 19 June 2014.
  11. ^ "The Infanta Cristina is the Duchess, but he only consort, so that the king can not take a title that had not, under the law," Journal "Public", Spain, January 31, 2013
  12. ^ The Crown - Official site of the Royal Household of HM the King
  13. ^ Duchy Original: The Palma title at home and abroad
  14. ^ (Spanish) Ordenanzas de la Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo, Art. 19 Real Decreto 1523/1982 - official website of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport
  15. ^ (Spanish) Royal Decree 1369/2001 The Duke of Palma member of the Royal Order of the Sports Merit.).
  16. ^ Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo
  17. ^ Foro Dinastías, State visit of Luxembourg in Spain, 2001, Group Photo
  18. ^ A cuerpo de rey: Monarquía accidental y melancolía republicana, pages 163-164, Jon Juaristi, Ariel, 2014. ISBN 978-84-344-1899-8.

External links[edit]