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Delphine Boël is officially named princess of Belgium
Artist Delphine Boël, after a seven-year legal battle to show she is the daughter of Belgium’s former king, Albert II, has won the right to be called a princess.
The Brussels Court of Appeal ruled that Boël, 52, can use her father’s surname. Her bitter battle for acknowledgement began in 2013, when she announced that Jacques Boël, who brought her up, was not her biological father. Only in January 2020 however did the king finally declare that he would no longer contest her claim that he was her legal father.
One of Boël’s lawyers, Marc Uyttendaele, confirmed that the artist’s new name will be Delphine of Saxen-Coburg-Gotha [the name of Belgium’s royal family], princess of Belgium. Her two children, Joséphine and Oscar, will also become princess and prince of Belgium.
In a statement, Boël’s lawyers said she was pleased with the verdict and that she will now be treated in the same way as Albert’s other children: Astrid, Laurent and the current king, Philippe.
“She is delighted with this court decision, ending a long process which has been particularly painful for her and her family,” the lawyers added. “A legal victory will never replace the love of a father, but it offers a feeling of justice, further reinforced by the fact that many children who have gone through the same ordeals can now find the strength to face them.”
Boël is due to speak further about the case on 5 October in the presence of her lawyers, Uyttendaele, Alain de Jonghe and Yves-Henri Leleu.
It has been a long affair. Albert II, 86, who abdicated in 2013, partly due to the legal battles over Boël’s paternity claims, was forced to acknowledge Delphine was his daughter after the court ordered a DNA test. This found Boël was the result of Albert’s affair with Delphine’s mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.
Last autumn, the court of appeal ruled that Jacques Boël was not Delphine’s biological father and asked an expert to test her DNA with the former king’s.
Albert II finally agreed to provide a saliva sample – which proved his paternity – after the courts threatened to fine him €5,000 for every day he refused.
In a TV interview given on 21 July 2013, the day Albert abdicated citing ill-health, Boël’s mother said: “I thought I could not have children because I had had an infection. We had not taken any precautions.”
The affair is said to have lasted from 1966 to 1984: “It was a beautiful period,” de Selys Longchamps added. “Delphine was a love child. Albert was not the father figure, but he was very sweet to her.”
Photo: Dirk Waem/Belga