Belgium news: Former king’s ‘love child’ wins right to be called Princess

Belgium news: Former king's 'love child' wins right to be called Princess

Former Belgium King Albert II’s “love child” Delphine Boël just won her long-standing legal battle to be recognized as a Princess.

BBC reports that the court ruling grants Boël the title “Princess of Belgium.” Her battle started in 2005 when she went on record via an interview that King Albert was her biological father.

But, her court battle technically started in 2013—the year King Albert was abdicated. This meant he no longer had “immunity to prosecution.”

Boël’s legal claim for Belgium royalty

CNN notes that Boël now enjoys the equal rights to the royal title along with the former King’s three other children.

Reports entail that Boël’s mother, Sibylle de Selys Longchamps, had an 18-year affair with the now 86-years-old Albert II. The affair, which started before Albert was king, resulted in Boël’s birth in 1968.

Longchamps claimed, per BBC, that the affair started in 1966 and lasted until 1984. At the time, Albert was still the Prince of Liège.

She further noted that the then-Prince was “around during Ms Boël’s childhood.”

For seven years, King Albert “contested” Boël’s claim. He even “failed to submit to a DNA paternity test” as ordered by the Brussels Court of Appeal in 2018.

Due to his failure to submit, the court had ordered a daily fine of €5,000 ($5,600). In May 2019, as reported by CNN, he finally agreed to the paternity test.

By January 2020, the retired monarch finally acknowledged being Boël’s biological father. Rumors of the king fathering a child from another woman reportedly emerged in 1999.

This rumor was “disclosed” through an “unauthorized biography” of Queen Paola, the King’s wife.

What entails the entitlement?

The win now entitles Boël to change her last name to “Saxe Cobourg”—King Albert’s last name. In addition, Boël’s children will also become Princess and Prince of Belgium, per CNN. 

However, Boël will reportedly not receive “any royal endowment.” Although, former King Albert is subjected to pay nearly €3.4 million [US3.986 million] in legal fees.

In a statement to CNN, Boël’s lawyer Yves-Henri Leleu said:

“She [Boël] is delighted with this court decision which puts an end to a long procedure which is particularly painful for her and her family. A legal victory will never replace the love of a father but offers a sense of justice.”

Delphine Boël is a 52-year-old sculptor. In a Sunday Times interview reported by Tatler, Boël’s legal drive had been to seek recognition from her father.

She expressed that “even if he had been a zookeeper or a criminal, I would have done exactly the same.”


Featured image courtesy of Karrewiet van Ketnet/YouTube Screenshot

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