Belgian court to rule on princess title for ex-king's love child next month

Delphine Boel was recently recognised as the daughter of former Belgian king Albert II after a DNA test.
Delphine Boel was recently recognised as the daughter of former Belgian king Albert II after a DNA test.PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Will there be a new Belgian princess?

A court in Belgium will rule in October what rights and titles can be granted to Ms Delphine Boel, recently recognised as the daughter of former Belgian king Albert II after a DNA test he was forced to do.

The Brussels appeals court, which on Thursday (Sept 10) heard lawyers on both sides, must still formally establish this direct line of descent and its legal ramifications.

Ms Boel wants the title of princess of Belgium, but Albert II is against it, according to their lawyers.

The court will rule on this on Oct 29, a spokesman told AFP.

A 52-year-old artist, Ms Boel was born from Albert's affair of nearly 20 years with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, a Belgian aristocrat.

At the time, he was heir to the throne and married since 1959 to the future queen Paola.

He went on to reign from 1993 to 2013, when he handed the crown to his son Philippe.

Since 1999, the year a journalist revealed the existence of the then King's secret daughter, Albert always denied his paternity - even though he had been in contact with her when she was a child.

 
 
 

But then a court ordered a DNA test and levied a fine of €5,000 (S$8,100) a day for each day he refused.

In January, Albert, 86, finally acknowledged that he was Ms Boel's father after the DNA test came back positive.

Her lawyer Marc Uyttendaele told reporters on Thursday that she now wants to have the same "rights and titles" as her three siblings, Philippe, Laurent and Astrid.

That includes being given the title "princess of Belgium". But Mr Alain Berenboom, Albert's lawyer, said that title was usually granted by royal decree, and that it is not up to a court to decide.