Former Belgian King Albert II has admitted he is the father of a woman born from an affair, after he was forced to give a DNA paternity test which came back positive.
The ex-king lost his immunity from prosecution after he abdicated in 2013 due to ill health. He initially refused to take the DNA test, but was forced to comply after a Brussels judge threatened to fine him €5000 a day until he submitted. The paternity test brings to a dramatic conclusion, a lawsuit that had been underway for over 6 years. The plaintiff, Delphine Boël, is now an heiress to the king’s fortune, which is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
In a statement released on Monday, the ex-king’s lawyers said he had “learnt the results of the DNA test… [and] the scientific conclusions indicate that he is the biological father of Mrs Delphine Boël”.
The lawyers said the 85-year-old had decided to halt the legal battle, which had dragged on since 2013, and he now accepts Delphine Boël as his fourth child.
Ms Boël’s lawyer, Marc Uyttendaele, described the admission from the former king as a relief. He told RTL television that her life had been a long nightmare because of this quest for identity.
“She had a biological father who brutally rejected her when this paternity [case] publicly emerged”, he said. Adding that she launched the legal fight “to avoid her children carrying this weight”.
Belgian artist, Ms Boël, filed her lawsuit after King Albert ceded the throne to his eldest son, King Philippe. According to her lawyer, Albert privately recognised her as his daughter until he unexpectedly became king. She is believed to be the child of an extramarital affair between the future King Albert and the Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps. At the time, the king was then a prince married to Italian princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria, with whom he had three children.
As a second son, Prince Albert was not expected to reign and enjoyed a life of partying and socialising with models, movie stars and fashion designers. However, Albert became king when his older brother, King Baudouin, died suddenly of heart failure in 1993, aged 63.
The positive DNA paternity test could put Ms Boël in line to inherit some part of the Royal family’s private fortune. She could also be eligible for an aristocratic title and, potentially, a place in the line of succession to the throne.
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