A Princess Or Not? Delphine Boel Fights For Recognition From The King Of Belgium

  @mathildehamel on June 20 2013 3:15 PM
  • Delphine Boel
    Belgian artist Delphine Boel, who says she is the illegitimate daughter of Belgian King Albert II, poses with her partner James O'Hare after presenting her book "Cutting the Cord" in Brussels, in which she recounts her life and show examples of her art, April 9, 2008. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
  • King Albert of Belguim
    King Albert II leaves the pitch after greeting Belgium's players before their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Serbia at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on June 6, 2013. Reuters
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She could have been a princess of Belgium. Instead, Delphine Boel was raised like any other child in the country. Now, the 45-year-old woman is suing King Albert II, her alleged father, to prove that she is legitimately part of the royal family, even if the battle ahead is going to be a complicated one.

The claimed illegitimate daughter of the 79-year old king, who rose to the throne when his brother King Baudouin died in 1993, has launched a legal action in order to prove that she is from royal blood. The monarch and two of his children, Prince Philippe (the heir apparent) and Princess Astrid, have been summoned to appear in court. But the case is more complicated than it seems, as Albert enjoys full immunity from prosecution and from legal proceedings.

Still, Boel decided to start legal action against her alleged father. Details have not been provided, but it is believed that Boel is seeking proof of her lineage through a DNA test. The royal family has refused to comment on the affair that has Belgium’s attention.

At the heart of the scandal is an authorized biography published in 1999 about Queen Paola, the king’s Italian-born wife. The book argued that Albert had had an affair with another woman in the 1960s, when he was a prince of Belgium. After thinking about divorcing at first, he renounced the plan because the reputation of the monarchy was far more important.

Then, four decades later, enter Delphine Boel. Born in 1968 to Sybille, Baroness de Selys Longchamps, she was adopted by Jacques Boel, a rich manufacturer. Delphine said she did not know about the relationship between her mother and Albert  until she turned 18. She also stated that since that time, she has been trying to find out who she really was.

Although the king did acknowledge that his family went through a crisis during that period, he has never made an official statement about this delicate subject, since it appeared in the  media 14 years ago.

In 2008, Boel wrote a book to exorcize what she said has been making her “suffer” for years. She said that during a phone conversation she had with the king, he said to her that she was not his daughter and he wanted to be left alone.

“I am trapped in a fight that makes me angry and disgusts me,” said Boel.

But, this fight might be harder than she thinks because the Belgian constitution, following the classic doctrine of “sovereign immunity,” makes it impossible for a reigning monarch to be sued and to be made to appear before a court. So she is summoning the first two children of the king. It is believed that Boel is hoping to get them to comply with a DNA test.

She is not, she said, after money or the fame, but she just wanted to know her father. The first session in court is scheduled for June 25.

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