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BelgiumEuropean Royals

Belgium gains a new Princess as King Albert’s illegitimate daughter is granted title

Delphine Boel
Luc Van Braekel/CC/Flickr

Delphine Boël, the acknowledged illegitimate daughter of King Albert II of Belgium, has been granted the title of Princess of Belgium with the style of Her Royal Highness, her lawyer has confirmed.

Her new official name will Delphine of Saxe-Coburg (van Saksen-Coburg). Her children Josephine (16) and Oscar (12) will also be recognised as Princess and Prince with the style of Their Royal Highness. There has been no word on an official allowance for Princess Delphine.

Delphine has been fighting to be recognised as the daughter of King Albert II, who abdicated in favour of his son King Philippe in 2013, for many years. The case came to a head in 2019 when the former King was finally forced to undergo a DNA-test under threat of a 5,000 euro a day penalty for refusing to take the DNA-test.

Delphine 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. Delphine Boël has always claimed that it was not about any inheritance, as her legal father is much richer than the King.

In 2013, Delphine summoned King Albert and two of his children, the Duke of Brabant, now King Philippe and Princess Astrid of Belgium, 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. The former King of the Belgians was part of a great deal of Delphine’s childhood but has wanted nothing to do with her for the past 20 years. He has also refused to appear in court.