Journalist who made bombshell claims about Queen Letizia having ‘romantic relationship with ex-brother-in-law’ is sacked by Spanish newspaper after 20 years – but insists he ‘doesn’t regret it’

A journalist who made a series of bombshell accusations about Queen Letizia has been fired by the newspaper he worked for after 20 years.

Jaime Peñafiel, 91, who wrote the recent book ‘Letizia & I’, was employed by El Mundo, the second largest print newspaper in Spain.

Late last year, the veteran journalist sent shockwaves through Spain’s royal family after claiming the Queen was romantically involved with her ex-brother-in-law.

The book relied heavily on allegations made by Jaime Del Burgo, 53, who sensationally claimed he was still in a relationship with Letizia after her marriage to King Felipe in 2004.

The businessman told the author that he met Letizia before 2000 and that their relationship began during a romantic trip to Venice, years before she met King Felipe.

Pictured: Veteran journalist Jaime Penafiel, 91, attends an event in Madrid in December 2018. The author has confirmed that he is no longer employed by Spanish newspaper El Mundo

This weekend the journalist spoke to the Argentinian publication Semana and confirmed that he was no longer employed by El Mundo.

During the interview, the journalist denied that the decision to leave El Mundo was made months ago.

Initial reports in Spanish media claimed that Jaime Peñafiel was fired due to 2024 budget constraints.

However, the author claimed that the decision to fire him was made the day he complained about a “highly offensive” article printed about him.

Jaime claimed: ‘It was all a result of the statements about Letizia and the book.’

Despite the impact it has had on his career, Jaime said he has “no regrets” writing the book and was “very generous” to the Queen.

The journalist claims that he reproduced only “2% of what Jaime del Burgo told (him) in order not to damage people’s integrity.”

Jaime’s book caused a media storm in Spain when it first hit shelves. The Spanish journalist Ana Pastor wrote about X at the time: ‘The campaigns against Letizia are not new and usually always come from the same side.’

Pictured: Queen Letizia and King Felipe attend the final concert of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in December 2023, weeks after Jaime del Burgo's allegations were published

Pictured: Queen Letizia and King Felipe attend the final concert of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in December 2023, weeks after Jaime del Burgo’s allegations were published

Pictured: Queen Letizia's ex-brother-in-law Jaime del Burgo with his ex-wife Telma when they were still married

Pictured: Queen Letizia’s ex-brother-in-law Jaime del Burgo with his ex-wife Telma when they were still married

Journalist Rosa Villacastin added: “If Peñafiel intended to discredit Letizia, his move went wrong. Women and many men are for her and against the machismo of those who think they are more than anyone else.

‘The fact that the granddaughter of a taxi driver is the Queen of Spain today is something to be proud of.’

In the book, Jaime del Burgo makes the unlikely claim that he planned to propose to Letizia – who was a newsreader at the time – on the night she told him she was dating a high-profile man in Spain.

Letizia reportedly told him that she had “met someone who would force her to quit her profession,” which Jaime said led him to deduce that Felipe was her mystery partner.

Additionally, the ex-brother-in-law of the royal family also made the far-fetched claim that he “handled” Letizia’s prenuptial agreement and helped pay for the cost of the Queen’s family’s wedding suits.

He says: ‘When the wedding with Felipe took place, as you know, I settled the prenuptial agreement, among other things.

‘I also had to pay the expenses of Letizia’s family because (former king) Juan Carlos refused to pay or even come with me. So with the help of my friend Felipe Varela, I dressed her mother, grandmother and her sisters. And with the help of Jaime Jason, her father, grandparents and a cousin.’


  • Before 2000 – Letizia Oritz, then a newsreader, meets Jaime del Burgo – the son of a politician – and the couple starts dating
  • 2001 – Letizia and King Felipe meet at the site of an oil spill. Jaime claims he was planning to propose when she told him about her new royal romance
  • 2003 – Letizia and Felipe announce their engagement.
  • 2004 – the couple gets married in the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. Jaime claims he was asked to be a witness during the ceremony
  • 2005 – the couple welcomes Princess Leonor
  • February 2007 – Letizia’s sister Erika dies suddenly
  • April 2007 – Princess Sofia is born. During one of her pregnancies, Jaime claims Letizia sends him a selfie professing her love.
  • 2010 – the couple is reportedly professing their love for each other and has reportedly met with lawyers. Jaime claims they have been looking at properties in the US to move to. He also claims that Letizia suggested using a surrogate mother to have a baby in LA
  • 2011 – Jaime claims Letizia ends their relationship over the phone
  • 2012 – Jaime marries Letizia’s sister Telma. The couple moves to New York
  • 2014 – Telma and Jaime announce their divorce

Jaime also makes the incredible claim that the Queen wanted to see him at the exclusive El Latigazo restaurant in Madrid the night before the wedding – where she asked him to ‘never leave her’.

He sensationally claimed, “When we met, she grabbed my hand and asked me why I never asked her to marry me. Of course I didn’t answer. I encouraged her as best I could. The last thing she said to me before we said goodbye in that restaurant was a request: “Never leave me.”

Jaime – who says the Queen called him her ‘yogi friend’ – claims he was still romantically involved with Letizia even after the wedding in 2004. He also claims he kept “photos, videos, cellphones” and text messages as evidence.

In the book, Jaime sensationally claims that Letizia whispered she loved him as they lay in a hammock by a pool at her home after Princess Leonor’s birth.

After this, Jaime claims they “took steps forward with the goal of being free” – which involved seeking legal advice and viewing properties in the US.

One of the most damaging claims Jaime reportedly makes is that Queen Letizia suggested they have a child together with the help of a surrogate mother in Los Angeles.

Around this time, Jaime claims he confronted Letizia after photos of her kissing Felipe appeared on the covers of Spanish magazines.

He claims the queen told him, “I had to do it to protect us.”

He says in the book that Jaime del Burgo told him that Felipe and Letizia had a “difficult relationship” and told him: “Felipe used me as a good man because he felt unable to calm her down.”

After Letizia allegedly ended the ‘relationship’ in August 2011, Jaime claims a friend told him to contact the Queen’s sister Telma.

The following year, the couple became engaged after just two months of dating. However, the couple divorced in 2014 after two years of marriage.

The couple’s first divorce attempts were crushed by the groom’s father, Jaime Ignacio del Burgo, who told the court that his son and Telma were remorseful and wanted to give their marriage another try.

Telma is now dating Irish lawyer Gavin Bonnar and the couple welcomed their first child together in October 2021. Gavin shares two children with his first wife, musician Sharon Corr.

Meanwhile, Jaime remarried Swedish lawyer Lucía Díaz Liljestrom and the couple share their daughter Ulla.