Belgium: Ex-King Albert II admits he’s father of Delphine Boel
HRH Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg, the daughter of King Albert II, yesterday joined Belgian senior royals for a poignant and socially-distanced visit in Brussels. The Belgian royals took turns to pay tribute to the deceased members of their family in the crypt at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken.
King Philippe and his wife Queen Mathilde led the tribute, followed by former King Albert II and Queen Paola – the current monarch’s parents.
Princess Delphine, who was born out of wedlock, was joined by her husband James O’Hare while Princess Astrid, the eldest daughter of Albert, stood next to her daughter Laetitia Maria.
All members of the Royal Family in attendance were wearing face coverings.
Princess Delphine, who made a name for herself in Belgium as an artist, triumphed in court in 2020 following a years-long battle to be recognised by King Albert II as his daughter.
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The princess, born Delphine Boel, first publicly claimed she was the illegitimate daughter of the then-King in 2005.
But she could only launch her legal battle in 2013, when he stepped down from his role and lost immunity from court proceedings.
After a Belgian court demanded the former monarch take a DNA test, he officially recognised Delphine as his fourth daughter.
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The now-princess was born during an 18-year-long affair between King Albert II and Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.
In September, Princess Delphine returned to court to demand the same rights, titles and privileges her step-siblings have been given upon birth.
On October 1, the Belgian court ruled in her favour and granted the artist the full title of HRH Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg, as well as the possibility to pass on to her two children the royal privilege.
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Royal Family news: Princess Astrid, the eldest daughter of Albert, standing next to her daughter Laetitia Maria
During the following months, the relationship between the princess and the Belgian Royal Family grew warmer.
On October 9, King Philippe and Princess Delphine met for the first time, as shown by a picture shared by the country’s Royal Palace.
In a joint statement, the palace said: “A joint message from His Majesty the King and Her Royal Highness Princess Delphine: On Friday the 9th of October, we met for the first time in the Palace of Laeken.
“It was a warm meeting. This extensive and special meeting gave us the opportunity to get to know each other.
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“We discussed our own lives and our shared interest.
“This bond will develop into a familial bond in due time. Philippe & Delphine”
Just a few days later, Princess Delphine travelled to Belvedere Castle to see Queen Paola and King Albert.
The meeting was described in an official statement as the beginning of a new chapter “rich in emotions, peace of mind, understanding and hope”.
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It added: “This is the path, patient and at times difficult, that we have decided to take resolutely together.
“These first steps open the way and it is now up to us to pursue peacefully.”
Since officially joining the Royal Family, Princess Delphine has stepped in royal duties.
In December, she backed the creation of a scheme promoting the use of art in health care, named the Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg Fund.