Felipe and Cristina's public paths cross

Felipe VI, King of Spain, in an official portrait

They were once so close but in recent years have been very far apart. King Felipe VI of Spain and his sister, Infanta Cristina, even got into a public debate about how she lost the title of Duchess of Palma. The issues were caused, of course, by the Noos case which saw Cristina become the first member of Spain's royal family to sit in the dock facing criminal charges. On May 11th 2017, for the first time since her acquittal, the royal siblings met in public.

Felipe and Cristina were both at the memorial mass for Infanta Alicia of Spain, the aunt of their father King Juan Carlos, who died in March at the age of 99. Cristina was sitting in the front row, next to her sister Elena, and when their parents, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, came into the chapel, they had been so overcome with happiness at seeing their second child that they rushed over to kiss and hug her. It was a very public moment of support. A few moments later, King Felipe and Queen Letizia, made their entrance. There seemed to be a very brief moment of recognition between the once so close siblings with Felipe directing an unseen look at Cristina who then smiled back. 

The siblings haven't been seen in public for several years and their interaction has been far from happy in recent times. In June 2015, Felipe deprived Cristina of her title of Duchess of Palma, given to her by Juan Carlos on her wedding day. Cristina immediately said that she had offered to renounce it and a spat ensued. When she was acquitted of tax fraud in February 2017, the Spanish Royal Household issued a very short statement about justice. Cristina's husband. Inaki Urdangarin, is still appealing after he was found guilty in the Noos case and sentenced to six years in prison. The royal siblings haven't been seen together since. This first encounter was brief and much watched. The next question is whether it will be repeated.