Belgium’s Princess Delphine attends first official royal event since recognition
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
On Wednesday, Belgium’s Princes Delphine and her husband were present at a traditional ceremony for the deceased members of the royal family in the royal crypt of the Notre-Dame church in Laeken.
Every year since 1935, a mass has been held on 17 February to commemorate all deceased members of the Royal Family.
“Princess Delphine was invited, like her siblings, and responded positively,” Francis Sobry, a spokesperson for the palace, told Het Nieuwsblad.
This year, however, the mass could not take place due to the coronavirus measures, and the members of the family followed each other into the crypt, separately and per social bubble.
In early 2020, after years of legal battles and a court-ordered DNA test, King Albert acknowledged that he was Boël’s biological father.
On 1 October 2020, Delphine Boël was also officially recognised as the legitimate daughter of King Albert II, according to a ruling by the Brussels Court of Appeal. She officially became a Princess of Belgium, putting an end to a legal battle that dates back to 2013.
Following a previous meeting with Albert II and Paola at the Château Belvédère, and a separate one with King Philippe at Laeken Castle, this is the third private meeting that has been made public since Delphine was officially recognised as Princess of Belgium.
Delphine Boël is now officially a Belgian princess
Thursday, 01 October 2020
As of today, Delphine Boël, the illegitimate daughter of King Albert II, is officially a princess of Belgium, the Brussels Court of Appeal decided.
The judgment was not expected until 29 October, but has already been handed down today, reports RTBF and was confirmed to VTM News and VRT.
Delphine is now changing her name to that of her father, namely ‘of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’. Her children, Joséphine and Oscar, also become princess and prince of Belgium, and should be addressed the same way.
At the beginning of this year, and after years of legal battles and a court-ordered DNA test, King Albert acknowledged that he was Boël’s biological father.
However, Boël did not settle for that and wanted to be treated like the other children of Albert (Belgium’s current King Philippe, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent), and also bear the name ‘of Saksen-Coburg’.
Additionally, she wanted to be addressed as Royal Highness and princess of Belgium. The Court of Appeal has now proved her right.
The Brussels Times
Belgian King Philippe meets half-sister Princess Delphine for the first time
Published15 October 2020
Belgium's Princess Delphine finally met her half-brother King Philippe for the first time, following her successful legal battle to use a royal title.
The siblings enjoyed a "warm encounter" last Friday, the royal family's official Facebook account says.
The princess, who is 52, spent years fighting to be recognised as a child of former King Albert.
He admitted paternity in January. A court later granted her the same rights and titles as his children by marriage.
The decision was announced on 1 October.
A message issued by King Philippe and Princess Delphine said on Thursday they had met for the first time at the Castle of Laken the previous week.
"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," they said.
"This bond will further develop within the family setting."
Delphine Boël, an artist, won her court case on 1 October. According to the ruling, she and her two children can now hold the surname of her father, Saxe-Cobourg.
She will be entitled to receive an inheritance after Albert's death, along with his three other children - Prince Laurent, Princess Astrid and King Philippe.
Despite her new title, Princess Delphine will not receive any royal endowment. But Albert must pay nearly €3.4m (£3.1m) to cover her legal fees, according to local outlet De Standaard.
What is the background?
Princess Delphine's mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, says she had an 18-year affair with Albert before he was king.
Rumours first emerged that he had fathered a child with another woman after it was disclosed in an unauthorised biography of Albert's wife, Queen Paola, published in 1999.
The princess first alleged on the record that King Albert was her biological father during a 2005 interview, but it was not until he abdicated in 2013 - when he lost his immunity to prosecution - that she opened court proceedings.
The 86-year-old had resisted court orders to undergo DNA testing until he was facing fines of €5,000 per day for refusing to do so. In January, he announced that he accepted her as his fourth child after he had "learnt the results of the DNA tests".
Belgium has a constitutional monarchy in which the king plays a largely ceremonial role.