A Clonmellon woman has been left reeling after a video featuring the former king of Spain, whom she filmed at an event at the end of July caused a frenzy in Spain.
As it turned out, Marion Tighe captured on camera not just Juan Carlos I, but also a woman identified as Marta Gayá, rumoured in the Spanish press to be his “close friend”.
Since then, the video has gone viral and there are thousands of stories online about the former monarch's sojourn in Clonmellon, and about his friendship with Ms Gayá.
Marion – who writes the weekly local notes for The Westmeath Examiner – whipped out her phone and snapped a short video while at the opening of the refurbished St John the Baptist church in Clonmellon after discovering that one of the guests present was Juan Carlos I.
But, she says, she didn't realise the controversy she was about to unleash.
“I attended the event out of local interest, and it was nice to see the former king, Juan Carlos was there,” Mrs Tighe told The Westmeath Examiner.
“I took pictures and video – but not with the intention of invading his private life.”
Due to go on a few days' holidays to Galway, Marion sent her notes and pictures to The Westmeath Examiner, and she uploaded her video to You Tube.
“At first it went to 500 views and I thought: 'that's not too bad', but then I re-edited it and put his name in – and within a few minutes it shot up to 3,000 and then 4,000 – and it kept going and today (Thursday) it's at over 98,000,” says Marion, whose clip can be seen on newspaper and video sites across Spain.
Not speaking Spanish, Marion didn't realise newspapers had found a surprising angle to their former king's Irish holiday through her video, until she googled and realised the little clip she filmed solely to record a moment of Clonmellon life had caused a news storm.
What really propelled the Spanish media into overdrive was the fact that Juan Carlos's stay at Killua Castle happened as the Spanish Royal Family, including Queen Sofia, spent their annual holidays in Palma, a holiday that has become a traditional get-together for the royals.
Juan Carlos abdicated the throne of Spain in 2014, and his son, Felipe VI, is now monarch.