ROYAL FAMILY

King's grandson recovering in hospital after accident with shotgun

Thirteen-year-old discharges firearm into foot at point-blank range

Civil Guard describes flouting of firearms laws a "thunderous infringement"

King Juan Carlos chatting with his grandson Felipe Juan Froilán, in a photo from 2011. / JAVIER SORIANO (AFP)

The grandson of the king, Felipe Juan Froilán Marichalar y Borbón, continued his recovery in hospital on Tuesday after accidently shooting himself in the foot with a firearm the day before, while engaging in target practice with his father. The accident was described on Tuesday by sources from the Civil Guard as a “thunderous infringement of the law,” given that at 13, the child is a year too young under Spanish law to possess or operate a firearm. That means that his father could be open to a fine for the infraction.

Froilán – who is the son of Princess Elena and Jaime de Marichalar, who separated three-and-a-half years ago – was in the garden of the family’s estate in Garrejo en Garray, Soria, when the accident happened. The weapon, a small caliber shotgun, was discharged at point-blank range while pointed at the young man’s foot.

Given the proximity of the weapon, the shot contained in the cartridge did not disperse, and traveled clean through Froilán’s foot. According to sources from the Royal Household, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Froilán’s mother, Infanta Elena, spent the night in hospital with her son, while Queen Sofía made a visit on Tuesday morning. Both members of the royal family stopped to talk to the press on their exit from the Quirón clinic, in Madrid, on Tuesday morning.

When asked how the accident happened, the princess replied: “I don’t know, he was with his father.”

The Civil Guard has not, as yet, begun any investigation into the accident, given that it is waiting for a Soria court to instruct it to do so. The normal procedure in cases such as this is that a hospital report on the injuries is passed to the duty judge, who will then call on the police or Civil Guard to begin an investigation should it be required.

If that instruction comes, the Civil Guard will take a statement from Froilán’s father, Jaime de Marichalar. Given that he was the adult in charge of the minor at the time, Marichalar could be facing a fine of 300-600 euros for the infraction.

For many Spaniards, the accident has echoes of an incident on Easter Thursday in 1956, when the current king, Juan Carlos, accidently shot and killed his younger brother, Alfonso de Borbón, when a pistol that he was handling went off accidently. The future king was 18 at the time, and his younger brother just 14.

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