King Albert II of Belgium ‘reduced illegitimate daughter to tears during her battle for recognition’

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A royal love child of the former king of Belgium was reduced to tears as she begged him to recognise her as his daughter, she has claimed.

Princess Delphine, a 53-year-old artist, has spoken publicly on the first encounter with Albert II at the beginning of her seven-year legal battle for recognition.

She first demanded acknowledgement of the former monarch’s paternity in 2013, before eventually being fully recognised as his daughter in October 2020.

“‘Ah, because it’s not going so well as an artist you need some attention,’ he sneered. At that moment I thought, ‘How unbelievably rude is this?’,” Princess Delphine told a television documentary broadcast by the VTM channel.

“After the first conversation with Albert and his lawyers, I walked out of the office completely crushed and crying. They said I was ‘putting a gun to the king’s head’ by going to court.”

She had first asked for recognition some two decades ago, but launched legal proceedings after failing to convince Albert II to come clean that he was her biological father.

King Albert, 87, abdicated in 2013 in favour of his son Philippe, citing health reasons, a month after his illegitimate daughter, then known as Delphine Boel, launched legal action to force him to take a DNA test.

After the lengthy battle, he was forced to recognise her as his daughter. In a separate court case, she won the right to be called Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg.

She said: “The first time I visited him and his lawyers, he was very nasty and made me cry.

“I never thought I would go to court. But I did it out of a certain principle. After Albert said I wasn’t his daughter. I needed proof. I had to be sure.”

Princess Delphine was raised by her mother Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, an aristocrat who was reported to have had an 18-year affair with Albert before he took the throne.

Her parentage became the subject of fevered speculation in Belgium after the publication of a biography of Queen Paola, Albert’s Italian wife.  Albert chose to stay with Paola rather than abdicate to be with Mrs de Selys Longchamps, it is claimed.

Albert distanced himself from Mrs de Selys Longchamps and Delphine in 1984, to preserve his marriage. It was a year later that Delphine, then aged 17, was told that the crown prince, who would assume the throne in 1993, was her father. 

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