An artist whose mother had an affair with Belgium’s former King Albert II has won the legal right to be recognised as a princess, following a seven-year court battle to prove the former monarch was her biological father. Delphine Boel’s lawyer shared the news with Belgium newspaper Het Nieuwsblad this week, revealing she would now be known as Delphine of Saxen-Coburg-Gotha, princess of Belgium.
“She is delighted with this court decision which ends a long process which is particularly painful for her and her family,” her lawyer said in a statement, reports The Guardian. “A legal victory will never replace the love of a father but offers a feeling of justice, further reinforced by the fact that many children who have gone through the same ordeals will find the strength to face them.”
Not only will Boel be known as princess from now on, the right has also been extended to her children Josephine and Oscar, who will be known as prince and princess of Belgium.
Boel launched her legal bid to be granted the same rights and titles as the 86-year-old former monarch’s other children – Philippe, now King of Belgium, Prince Laurent and Princess Astrid – last month.
“Delphine’s position isn’t that she wants or doesn’t want to be princess,” her lawyer told the BBC at the time. “She doesn’t want to be a cut-price child, she wants to have exactly the same privileges, titles and capacities as her brothers and her sister.”
Boel’s mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, claims she had a lengthy affair with Albert before he ascended the throne. Rumours that the 86-year-old had an illegitimate child first began circulating in 1999, according to reports in the Belgian media, however Albert had vehemently denied the claims until now.
However Albert only admitted he was Delphine’s father in January of this year, after a court-ordered DNA test came back positive. The former king’s lawyers released a statement at the time which said Albert now “accepts Delphine Boel becomes his fourth child”, according to the BBC.
Albert II reigned over the European nation for 20 years before abdicating in July 2013 due to ill health, making way for his son King Philippe to ascend the throne.
One month before he announced he would be stepping down, Boel launched legal proceedings against the man she claimed to be her biological father, summoning Albert and his children Philippe and Astrid to appear in court.
In November 2018 a court ordered the former king to submit to DNA testing, however he refused and in May 2019 the Brussels Court of Appeals ruled that Albert should be made to pay €5,000 (AU$8,135) per day that he refuses to take the test.
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