A photo of the meeting between a king and his newly-styled half-sister quickly became the most popular post on the Belgian Monarchy’s social media accounts.
The photo of King Philippe and Princess Delphine was taken at their first meeting at the Castle of Laeken on 9 October. The caption simply read, in Dutch, French and English: “On Friday 9 October, we met each other for the first time at the Castle of Laken. It was a warm encounter. This long and rich discussion gave us the opportunity to learn to know each other. We talked about our respective lives and areas of shared interest. This bond will further develop within the family setting.
“Philippe & Delphine.”
Vorsten, a Dutch newspaper, noted that on Facebook, the photo had received over 13,000 likes, with the majority of comments positive towards the siblings. On Instagram, the photo received over 13,000 likes. For comparison: a photo of Princess Elisabeth from her military training received around 8,000 likes; a photo of Queen Mathilde to announce her speech for World Mental Health Day received nearly 6,000 likes.
Princess Delphine has, for years, fought the courts to determine her paternity, with the former King Albert II always declining the opportunity to take a paternity test to prove it. A court held that the former monarch would be fined each day he did not undertake the test, resulting in a fine of €5,000 for every day he did not take the test. On 27 January of this year, the paternity test confirmed that Delphine is the daughter of King Albert II.
Earlier this month, Delphine was granted the title of Princess of Belgium and entitled to use the style Her Royal Highness. The ruling also granted her children the styles of Prince and Princess of Belgium, and they are now known as Princess Joséphine and Prince Oscar. They are not included in the line of succession to the Belgian throne and will not receive any allowances.