Belgian ex-king submits paternity test sample after court order

Former king Albert II and queen Paola leave after voting in regional, federal and European elections on May 26, 2019..
Former king Albert II and queen Paola leave after voting in regional, federal and European elections on May 26, 2019..PHOTO: BELGA/DPA

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - Belgium's former king has submitted a DNA sample demanded from a woman who says she is his daughter after a court ordered him to pay €5,000 (S$7,000) a day if he failed to do so.

The 84-year-old King Albert II agreed to submit a sample even though he is challenging at the supreme court a ruling that has resulted in him having to take a paternity test, lawyer Alain Berenboom said on Tuesday (May 28).

"He noted that the court had decided that the conclusions of this examination would be strictly confidential until a new judicial decision," Berenboom said in a statement.

The retired monarch, who abdicated six years ago in favour of his son Philippe, has been fighting the paternity claim of Belgian artist Delphine Boel, 51, for over a decade.

His lawyers argue it is premature for him to take a paternity test while Boel still has a legal father, Jacques Boel, scion of one of Belgium's richest industrial dynasties.

The challenge at the supreme court concerns a lower court ruling that Delphine Boel is not Jacques Boel's offspring, which DNA tests have shown. That resulted in the Brussels appeals court ordering him to undergo a paternity test.

The supreme court is not expected to deliver its verdict until the end of the year.

Boel's identity became a topic of public debate after the publication in 1999 of a biography of Queen Paola, Albert's Italian wife, which alleged that he had had a long extra-marital relationship from which a daughter was born in the 1960s.

Albert, who now has no formal public role, has acknowledged that he and Paola had marital difficulties. He has not commented on Delphine Boel.

Albert and Paola's three children are all older than Boel.

Next in line to the throne is 17-year-old Princess Elisabeth, daughter of Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

Boel has said that she is not looking for money, just recognition that the former king is her father.