Photo: Delphine Boël
The love child of the former king of Belgium, Albert II, is asking a court to grant her royal status, months after she was recognized as his fourth child.
Back in January, Albert’s lawyers acknowledged that Delphine Boël, a 52-year-old Belgian artist, was his daughter, seven years into a legal battle over her paternity.
The former king had contested Boël’s claim that she was conceived during an affair between him and her mother, Sybille de Selys Longchamps, but reversed his position following the results of a court-ordered paternity test.
Albert’s lawyers said in a statement at the time that “legal paternity is not necessarily a reflection of biological paternity,” pointing out that the former king had not been involved in Boël’s upbringing and that he’d respected her relationship with her “legal father.”
Speaking in January, Alain Berenboom, Albert’s lawyer, told CNN affiliate VTM News that the former monarch would “treat all his children as equal,” saying Boël would be included in his will.
Boël has now brought legal proceedings “to be considered fully as Albert II’s child, with the same titles and the same rights” as her siblings, her lawyer, Marc Uyttendaele, said on Friday.
This will include being given the title “princess of Belgium,” Uyttendaele said, according to the AFP news agency.
In response, Berenboom, representing Albert, said: “We believe that she has the right to be recognized but these requests do not fall within the competence of the court.”
He added that Boël’s request for a title should be made to either the reigning king, Philippe, or the Minister of Justice.
Berenboom also said that the proceedings, which are now with the appeals court in Brussels, were part of those launched in 2013, adding that Boël had on Thursday “made additional requests that were not in the original request.”
Albert’s admission earlier this year ended more than two decades of speculation that he had fathered a child in the 1960s during an extramarital affair.
Rumors were fueled by the publication of a 1999 biography about Paola Ruffo di Calabria, later Queen Paola of Belgium, whom Albert married in 1959.
Boël, who was subsequently named as the alleged child in the Belgian media, brought a lawsuit in 2013 to see Albert recognized as her father.
Albert abdicated the throne in the same year that the case was launched, citing concerns about his age and health, with his son Philippe succeeding him as monarch.