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King Philippe and Princess Delphine meet for the first time
King Philippe has met his half-sister Delphine for the first time, a week after the courts ruled she could be addressed as Princess and take the name of her father, former king Albert II.
Their three-hour meeting follows a seven-year battle by artist Delphine to be recognised as the daughter of Albert, who had a long relationship with her mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, in the 1960s and 70s.
Philippe invited his half-sister to lunch at Laken castle on 9 October, and the pair posted a joint message with a photo in a Facebook post six days later.
“On Friday 9 October, we met each other for the first time at the Castle of Laken. It was a warm encounter,” they said. “This long and rich discussion gave us the opportunity to learn to know each other. We talked about our respective lives and areas of shared interest. This bond will further develop within the family setting.”
“This is fantastic news,” said Alain de Jonge, one of her lawyers, about the meeting. “The fact that they have met represents a turning point in the relationship with the royal family.”
There has been no public reaction from Albert and his wife, Paola, to the news of the meeting, and it is not clear whether their other children, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent, will also meet their half-sister.
Immediately after the results of the court process on 2 October, Delphine, 52, said she had not had contact with any of the royal family. “I don’t expect anything more,” she said. Referring to her father, who was obliged to take a DNA test to prove paternity, she said: “I do wish him the best, I wish him good health and happiness.”
Photo: Belgian Monarchy