Scandal over underage royal using a firearm
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Madrid - Spanish King Juan Carlos' 13-year-old grandson has shot himself in the foot, the royal family said Tuesday, sparking a scandal because he is below the legal age for using a firearm.
The boy, Felipe Marichalar Borbon, shot himself while learning to use a shotgun on the family's estate in Soria, north-central Spain, on Monday, the royal household said in a statement.
“While on the patio of the house with his father, he shot himself with a small .36 calibre shotgun, causing an injury in the right foot,” the household said.
Doctors at Soria Santa Barbara hospital performed first aid on the boy, who is the oldest of the king's grandchildren and the son of Jaime de Marichalar, who reportedly divorced in 2009 from Princess Elena, it said.
He was then transferred to a Madrid hospital where the wound was surgically cleaned.
“He is very animated, he has eaten and is playing with his mobile telephone. Children always give you scares,” Princess Elena said outside the hospital after visiting her son along with Queen Sofia.
Widely known in Spanish media as simply Froilan, the boy's progress is “favourable” and he will remain under observation in hospital for the coming days, the royal household said.
Under Spanish law, children under 14 are not allowed to use firearms and the boy's father, an aristocrat and banker, could be fined for allowing him to use the gun. Froilan turns 14 on July 17.
A political party that lobbies against the mistreatment of animals, PACMA, criticised De Marichalar for teaching his son to hunt.
“It is deplorable that a 13-year-old boy learns to shoot, to practice the best way to end lives,” the president of the party, Francisco Garcia Leal, said in a statement.
Fifth in line to the throne after his mother Elena, the teenager had been spending a few days on the family estate with his father and his 11-year-old sister Victoria Federica.
After spending a year in Britain in 2010-2011 to improve his English, Felipe Marichalar Bornon returned to Spain and now lives in Madrid with his mother.
He briefly stole the spotlight during the wedding ceremony of Crown Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz in May 2004 after he was seen kicking one of his cousins.
The 74-year-old Spanish king witnessed his brother being shot and killed in an accident during Easter week on March 29, 1956.
Juan Carlos, then 18, was with his younger brother Alfonso when he was killed in an accident involving a revolver at the family residence in Estoril, Portugal. The brothers were reportedly playing with the gun at the time. - Sapa-AFP