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Albert II ordered by court to undergo paternity test
Albert II, the former king of Belgium and father of King Philippe, has been ordered by a Brussels court to undergo a DNA test to determine if he is the father of Delphine Boël. It is the latest news in a five-year-long case in which Delphine (pictured), the daughter of Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, has tried to prove that Albert is her biological father.
Delphine, 47, has been trying since 2013 to convince Albert and his three children – King Philippe, Prince Laurent and Princess Astrid – to submit to DNA tests to prove she is a member of the royal family. Both Baroness Sybille and Jacques Boël – who was married to the Baroness when Delphine was born – have confirmed that Albert is Delphine’s biological father.
A DNA test carried out in 2013 revealed that Jacques could not possibly be Delphine’s biological father. A court ruled last year that he was her legal father as he raised Delphine as his own and so Albert would not be required to undergo DNA testing.
Boël appealed the decision, and the appeals court has now ruled that Jacques is not Delphine’s legal father simply because he raised her and that Albert, 84, has three months to provide a sample of his DNA.
The royal family’s press agent had no comment today when asked if Albert would submit to a test. The other options are to appeal the decision, which means it would then move on to a higher court, or to refuse the test without appealing. That, however, could lead the court to decide that there is “an assumption of paternity” and name Albert the legal father.
“It is not a surprising ruling,” said Delphine’s lawyer Alain De Jonge. “These judges have not given special consideration to the personalities involved in the case. They simply applied the law. And it is only natural for the interests of the child to come first.”
According to Baroness Sybille, she and Albert had an affair that lasted 16 years. Albert was married to Paola at the time.
In a Vier news report from 2013, Sybille and Delphine both claim that Albert was a part of their lives when Delphine was a child and that he was fully aware that he was her father. The Baroness pulled out a number of photographs of the three of them together.
Should it be proven that Delphine is the biological daughter of Albert, she would be entitled to part of his inheritance. She would not be given the title of princess because the birth would have happened out of wedlock.
Delphine, an artist, has always maintained that the money was not important to her and that she simply wants her father to acknowledge her.
This article was modified slightly on 9 November
Photo: Eric Lalmand/BELGA