MADRID - Spain’s Supreme Court will consider two paternity suits against former king Juan Carlos lodged by a waiter and his sister who believe they are the illegitimate children of the ex-monarch, a judicial source said Thursday.

The 10 judges comprising the civil chamber of the nation’s highest court will consider the applications filed by Spaniard Alberto Sola Jimenez and Belgian Ingrid Jeanne Sartiau in January at the earliest, the source said. Dogged by scandals and weakened by health problems, Juan Carlos, 76, abdicated in June, passing the throne to his son Felipe VI. Civilian courts had rejected the two claims in 2012, citing the king’s constitutional immunity. Juan Carlos lost his total immunity when he stepped down but parliament rushed through a controversial law granting new legal protection to the ageing monarch, which, however, do not completely shield him.

He now must answer to the Supreme Court, which has a high threshold for evidence, giving him similar protection enjoyed by many high-ranking civil servants and politicians.

The paternity suit by Sola, who works as a waiter, was the first legal challenge to be filed against the former king since he lost his total legal immunity.

Sola, an adopted child, has claimed for years that his birth mother, the daughter of a well-known Barcelona banker, may have had an affair with the king before he married Queen Sofia.

Sola and Belgian housewife Sartiau made headlines in Spain in 2012 when they teamed up and underwent DNA tests that showed there was a 91 percent chance that they had one parent in common.

Sartiau says she began to investigate after her mother one day saw the king on television and told her: “This man is your father.”

Her research led her to Sola. In a recent interview with Britain’s The Sunday Times, Sola said all he wants is recognition. “I’ve no choice now but to put pressure on him. Every Spaniard has the right to know where he is from,” he told the newspaper.