Queen gets a 'sorry' for adultery ads

By Fiona Govan in Madrid

Queen Sofia of Spain. Photo / Getty Images
Queen Sofia of Spain. Photo / Getty Images

Queen Sofia of Spain has won an apology from an online dating agency for adulterers after it used her image in an advertising campaign mocking her husband's rumoured marital indiscretions.

The 74-year-old Greek-born wife of King Juan Carlos took legal action against the US-based agency, Ashley Madison, for "damage to her honour and dignity" after it used a photograph of her in a series of advertisements last year.

The company, which specialises in connecting people looking for extramarital affairs, has issued a personal apology to Queen Sofia and promised never to use her image in its marketing campaigns.

The offending advertisements contained a doctored image of the smiling Queen draped around the bare shoulders of a much younger man, beneath the slogan in Spanish: "You no longer have to spend the night alone".

Published first in February 2012 and then again last October, it apparently referred to widespread allegations that King Juan Carlos had conducted numerous affairs during their 50-year marriage.

The "close friendship" between the 75-year-old King and German Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, 48, made headlines after it became known that she had accompanied him on an elephant hunting trip to Botswana in April 2012, during which he broke his hip.

No legal complaint was made when an image of King Juan Carlos was used by the same company in the aftermath of the ill-fated safari.

In that advertising campaign, the King's picture appeared flanked by two scantily clad models with the slogan: "The best place to hunt for an adventure".

Queen Sofia used a private lawyer to sue Ashley Madison, ensuring no public funds were used in the case. She asked for no monetary compensation only a public apology and a guarantee it would not happen again.

Ashley Madison, which uses the motto "Life is short, have an affair", was launched in the US in 2001 and now has portals in 26 countries. It claims to have more than 18 million members around the world.

- Telegraph Group Ltd

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