The Belgians have expressed their disappointment, sadness and even anger over yesterday’s news that former King Albert refuses, once again, to recognise his alleged daughter, Delphine Boël. The once well-respected King of the Belgians is no longer the popular King he once was.
Yesterday news broke that King Albert of the Belgians refuses once again to give a DNA sample to determine the paternity of Mrs Delphine Boël. Late last year the Court of Appeals in Brussels ordered King Albert to take part in the test. Delphine Boël has been trying to get recognition from King Albert for many years.
The press release from King Albert spread like a wildfire in the Belgian media yesterday. Reactions from the Belgian citizens came quickly after the announcement. Strikingly, every person who commented on the announcement has, in essence, the same opinion: this is not acceptable. The case Delphine Boël seems to unite Republicans, critics of the Royal family and yes even monarchists. The critique on the attitude of King Albert is widespread and sounding louder by the day.
One man said: “Unbelievable that someone, such as a former King and role model, is doing everything he can to deny his own daughter!” Another man added: “He should be an example for the country. That he slept with another woman that is not his own wife is not our business. But he must take responsibility for the consequences.”
There is not only criticism on the fact that King Albert has been a role model for over 20 years while calling on his people to show respect and kindness to everyone. People also criticize his reputation as a pious Catholic: “Is the royal family Catholic? Well, what a beautiful example.”
These comments were definitely not only made by critics of the Royal Family who consistently wish to abolish the monarchy and their allowances. Even monarchists and those who respect the monarchy do not understand the decision made by King Albert. One woman said: “He must be ashamed of himself and no longer deserves the title of King of the Belgians. Time for King Philippe to show that he has more dignity and more respect than his father.”
While reading the reactions once or twice someone defended King Albert as they did not believe she is his daughter. However, throughout the years it has become difficult to deny that King Albert is not Delphine’s father.
Going forward, King Albert has directed his case to the Court of Cassation, the court of last resort. It is important to note that the Judge of the Court of Cassation will not go into the contents of the case. The lawyers of the King will try to prove that during the trial procedural errors have been made, the only possible thing they can do before the King will have to give his DNA sample. The King can decide not to give his DNA, but then the Court is expected to rule that the denial is proof that he really is the father of Delphine Boël.
King Albert and his lawyers regret that the media and Belgian people have shown interest in the court case. The press statement reads: “A lot has been said and written about this case, while it is about a private matter. But the matter has nevertheless become public, despite the discretion and restraint of the King since the start of the procedure initiated by Mrs Delphine Boël. Like any citizen in his situation, the King has the right to use the justice institutions and he only asks for the application of the law, which applies to everyone.”
Belgian royal watchers have stated that the once well respected King, known for his sense of humour and commitment to his people, is overshadowing his reign of 20 years by not recoginizing his own daughter. The popularity and respect for King Albert seems to be fading away.