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A muted reaction from Belgium’s press on the appearance of a new princess

In the end, it was a good day to bury controversial royal news. The decision of a court to convert the illegitimate daughter of King Albert II into HRH Princess Delphine of Belgium came on a day the country finally got a new government and that’s reflected in the press coverage of this regal surprise. For while Delphine Saxe-Coburg makes headlines, they are muted and well down the news agenda.

Reaction is largely confined to reporting the facts in early editions, understandable since the news only started coming through on the evening of October 1st 2020. LaLibre Belgique features Delphine on the top corner of its front page in an image where she is pulling back her face mask. The headline is simple ”Delphine Boel obtains the right to carry the title of Princess of Belgium. The same image is used by the Antwerp Gazette which says, simply, that ”Belgium has a new princess: Delphine of Saxe-Coburg”.

Meanwhile, online editions have the breaking news of President Trump’s positive coronavirus test to deal wit,h meaning Princess Delphine shuffles even further down the page. The familiar face of Europe’s newest royal fights for space alongside analysis of the incoming government, interviews with the parents of the Prime Minister and photos of Donald and Melania Trump.

However, that hasn’t changed the level of interest in a story that has surprised many. While SudInfo doesn’t feature the story on its online front page, it is easily the most commented on piece on the site with views split 50/50 over whether the decision is the right one. De Standaard chooses a photo of Delphine in silhouette, stating that she is ”now officially Princess of Saxe-Coburg” while L’Avenir states that she will become a princess. asks what rights Delphine has gained, focusing on whether she will receive any kind of royal allowance and plumping for a definite no. Meanwhile, Nieuwsblad asks what the decision will mean for the legacy of King Albert II. However, analysis is so far muted as columnists focus on the formation of a new government and the quarantining of the most powerful leader in the western world.

A good day, indeed, for a royal controversy.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.