| THE Royal household has issued a statement in answer to speculation about whether King Juan Carlos will abdicate and pass the throne to his son and heir, Prince Felipe of Asturias.
Despite his health problems – the monarch is about to undergo an operation on a spinal disc, the 12th time he has gone under knife in less than two years – King Juan Carlos says he has no intention of giving up his role.
The head of the Royal family has had four operations relating to a hip replacement, as well as a benign tumour removed from his lungs, and surgery following a fall in Botswana whilst out hunting.
Although once a popular public personality, the monarch's reputation has never recovered from his being involved in elephant-hunting and photographed next to a dead one, which led to his resignation as chairman of the WWF.
The Royal family has also been drawn into the controversy surrounding the infamous Nóos Case, since the King's son-in-law and husband of his daughter Cristina, Iñaki Urdangarín, is under investigation for money-laundering and corruption allegations which could land him in jail for up to 20 years.
Recent emails presented to the judge in charge of the investigation by Urdangarín's former co-director, Diego Torres, hint that the King and his daughter, the Infanta Cristina, could be directly involved in the case, along with a friend of the monarch's, Corinna Sayn Wittgenstein, a member of the aristocracy.
But Urdangarín has stressed that none of the Royal family has been involved in any way, nor offered their opinion or been consulted, about his work with the Nóos Institute.
The Institute was set up to promote sports and cultural activities in the Balearic Islands and the Comunidad Valenciana and registered as a non-profit-making organisation to allow it to benefit from public funds.
However, the case notes appear to suggest that the Nóos Institute was in fact a business and that the two directors, Urdangarín and Torres, made a healthy profit from it.
Their assets have been embargoed to cover a sum of nearly 8.2 million euros which may need to be repaid to the regional governments of the Balearics and Valencia.
Photograph: Three generations of Royals – King Juan Carlos (L), son and heir Prince Felipe of Asturias (R) and his and Princess Letizia's eldest daughter, Leonor, now aged seven