She had fought for seven years to have her filiation and her rights recognized. Delphine Boël, long hidden daughter of the former King of the Belgians Albert II, saw her fight crowned with success: justice granted her the title of princess and the name of Saxe-Coburg.
The judgment delivered on Thursday 1er October by the Brussels Court of Appeal “Gives him full satisfaction”, reacted his lawyer, Marc Uyttendaele, by confirming a decision which fell four weeks before the date announced and revealed by the RTBF channel. At the final hearing of a long, twisting soap opera on September 10, lawyers for Albert II challenged her to demand the title of princess.
A 52-year-old plastic artist, Delphine Boël was born from the almost twenty-year affair that her mother, Sybille de Sélys Longchamps, had in the 1960s and 1970s with Albert. The latter was then crown prince, married since 1959 with the future queen Paola.
The former ruler – on the throne from 1993 to 2013 and father of the current king, Philippe – denied this parentage for years, until justice forced him to undergo a DNA test in 2019. The test result finally came out. was made public on its initiative on January 27. “The scientific conclusions indicate that he is the biological father of Madame Delphine Boël”, then announced his lawyers, Mr.es Alain Berenboom and Guy Hiernaux.
“Child at a discount”
Now, Mme Boel “Wants to have exactly the same prerogatives, titles and qualities as his two brothers (Philippe and Laurent) and her sister (Astrid) “, had explained, in September, Me Uyttendaele. “She doesn’t want to be a cheap kid”, he had hammered.
Mme Boël, who had renounced the surname of Jacques Boël, the husband of his mother, will henceforth be named “Her Royal Highness Delphine of Saxe-Coburg”, ruled on Thursday, the appeals court. “The court affirms that King Albert II is her father and that she will henceforth bear the patronymic name of Saxe-Coburg”, commented Me Uyttendaele in a statement.
The content of the decision was confirmed to AFP by a judicial source who said that his children, adolescents, “Will also be prince and princess of Belgium”. Delphine Boël’s requests “Aiming for her to be treated on the same footing as her brothers and sister were satisfied”, according to his lawyer.
Recognition that “changes his life”
“This legal victory will never replace the love of a father but offers a sense of justice, which is further enhanced by the fact that many children who have gone through the same ordeals will find the strength to face them there”, continued Me Uyttendaele.
In August, during a meeting with Agence France-Presse, Delphine Boël assured that the recognition of paternity acquired in January had “Really changed [sa] life “.
The existence of the king’s hidden daughter was revealed in 1999 by a journalist. “I was Albert II’s dirty laundry”, the visual artist told AFP. She had refused to say what she expected from the last act of the long legal standoff that began in 2013 after a failed attempt at conciliation. She is due to speak to the press next Monday with her lawyers.