King Albert of Belgium had been summoned to appear in court this morning in the case of his alleged illegitimate daughter, Delphine Boël. The former Belgian King did not appear in person and was represented by his lawyer.
Although plenty of press appeared at the trial, they were not allowed inside the courtroom. Delphine Boël did appear in person but did not speak to waiting media. All King Albert’s lawyer said was, “We are going to plead our case, we’ll see.” After the end of the day’s proceedings, neither party spoke to the press.
Delphine Boël is pursuing this case to be recognised as the King’s child. She is also trying to force a DNA-test. If the court finds in her favour and she is identified as his child, she is entitled to an inheritance. Delphine Boël has always claimed that it was not about the money, as her legitimate father is much richer than the King.
She was born in 1968 as the daughter of Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps and was officially recognised by her mother’s husband Jonkheer Jacques Boël (of which the English equivalent would be Esquire). The King made a reference to a crisis ‘thirty years ago’ in the 1999 Christmas speech but has otherwise remained silent on the subject.
In 2013, Delphine summoned King Albert and two of his children, the Duke of Brabant, now King Philippe and Princess Astrid of Belgium, the Archduchess of Austria-Este to court in hopes of obtaining DNA for testing purposes. The King enjoyed immunity at the time but his abdication in July 2013 opened the way for a new procedure.
She ran into some trouble when she wished to revoke the paternity of Jacques Boël, as this had to be done before you turn 22 or within a year of learning that your parent is not actually your parent. Belgium’s constitutional court has now ruled that the right to know who your biological parent is, is more important than the age limit and so Delphine can now continue in her quest for recognition.
The trial is expected to last several years.