The former king of Belgium has finally admitted he is the father of a woman who had claimed she was born as a result of an extra-marital affair with her mother.
Albert II, who abdicated in 2013 for health reasons, had never publicly denied the claims of artist and sculptor Delphine Boel, 51, but had for years battled to avoid a DNA test.
Image: King Albert II (r) abdicated in favour of his son King Philippe on July 21, 2013
He finally gave in last year after an order from the Brussels Appeals court.
In a statement by the 85-year-old’s lawyers they said he admitted paternity as “scientific conclusions indicate that he is the biological father of Mrs Delphine Boel”.
On Monday Albert II said that he had decided to “to end with dignity this painful procedure”.
Ms Boel’s lawyer Marc Uyttendaele said that “her reaction was one of relief, emotion but also shows a wound that will not heal”.
Rumours about Albert and Ms Boel’s mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, had been around for years, but the news that the king may have had a child with her broke into the open when a biography of Albert’s wife, Queen Paola, was published in 1999.
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In his Christmas message to the nation that year, he alluded to a past infidelity and said he and Queen Paola lived through a “crisis” in the late 1960s that almost wrecked their marriage, but they overcame their marital problems “a long while ago”.
Image: The wedding of Prince Albert of Belgium, later King Albert II and Princess Paola of Belgium (later Queen Paola) in 1959
Albert II acceded to the Belgian throne in 1993 on the death of his older brother. He stepped down in July 2013 and automatically lost his immunity from prosecution. a privilege enjoyed by the reigning monarch.
The following year Ms Boel, who bears a striking resemblance to some members of the royal family, opened court proceedings to prove that Albert was her father.
She has always said she brought the paternity case due to anger since she was being cold-shouldered by the royal family.
Source : Sky News