Sunday 22 September 2019

Court tells Belgium's retired king to undergo DNA test

Belgium’s Queen Paola and Albert II. Photo: Virginia Mayo/AP
Belgium’s Queen Paola and Albert II. Photo: Virginia Mayo/AP

James Crisp

The retired king of the Belgians has been ordered to take a DNA paternity test by a Brussels court, raising the prospect of finally resolving whether he is the real father of Delphine Boël, an aristocrat artist.

King Albert II, who has refused to recognise Ms Boël as his daughter for more than a decade, must submit to the test within three months or be legally presumed to be the multi-media artist's father.

An earlier court-ordered DNA test proved that Jacques Boël, scion of one of Belgium's richest industrial dynasties, was not her biological father.

Since that 2013 test, Ms Boël (50), who has two children, has tried to prove that Albert is her father.

The former monarch (83) abdicated in 2013 in favour of his son Philippe after 20 years on the throne. The decision also cost him his immunity to court judgments such as the paternity test, which would be a saliva test carried out on Albert, Ms Boël and her mother at a Brussels hospital.

Ms Boël's lawyers said in their statement that they were pleased with the "strong affirmation of the principle of acting in the interests of the child" as she seeks legal confirmation of her true identity.

Ms Boël's parentage became the subject of fevered speculation in Belgium after the 1999 publication of a biography of Queen Paola, Albert's Italian wife.

The book alleged the king had a long extra-marital affair with Ms Boël's mother Sybille de Selys Longchamps, a baroness, which resulted in the birth of a daughter in the 1960s.

The affair ended in 1976 after Albert chose to stay with Paola rather than abdicate to be with Ms de Selys Longchamps, she has claimed. The court decision overturned an earlier ruling and cannot be appealed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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