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King Albert in first public appearance since admitting illegitimate daughter

Albert belgium
By Voka Kamer van Koophandel Limburg CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Belgium’s King Albert II accompanied his wife to church on Monday, the first time he’s been seen on an official royal duty since his statement confirming he has fathered a child outside their marriage. King Albert and Queen Paola joined other Belgian royals at the service held in Brussels every year in memory of family members who have passed away.

Albert, who ruled Belgium between 1993 and 2013, walked into the Church of Our Lady of Laeken arm in arm with his wife, Paola. The couple, who mark their 60th wedding anniversary later this year, were with their eldest son, King Philippe, and his wife, Queen Mathilde, for the traditional ceremony. Also present were Albert’s half-sister, Princess Marie-Esmeralda, and Princess Lea, widow of his half-brother, Prince Alexandre.

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It was the first time Albert had been seen in public since his admission in January 2020 that is the father of Delphine Boel after seven years of legal proceedings. Mrs Boel, who is 53, had taken the former king to court as she said she wanted recognition of their relationship. The former king denied paternity but DNA tests taken after complicated legal arguments led him to confirm he is Mrs Boel’s natural father. Delphine Boel reiterated at the time that she had no interest in money or titles, she just wanted the former king to confirm he is her father.

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No mention was made of the situation during the traditional Mass and King Philippe and Queen Mathilde spent some time greeting wellwishers who had gathered outside the church.

Albert and Paola married on July 2nd 1959 and had three children together. Philippe, their eldest son, was born in 1960 and became King of the Belgians on his father’s abdication in 2013.

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Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.