Belgian ex-king backs secret daughter's royal welcome

  • Belgian ex-king backs secret daughter's royal welcome

Belgian ex-king backs secret daughter's royal welcome

On October 1, the decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal considered that Delphine Boël is indeed the legitimate daughter of King Albert II.

King Philip and Princess Delphine said in a statement on Thursday, "This long and rich discussion has given us the opportunity to learn to know each other".

Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg (yes, the same name as the British royal family's) has visited her half-brother, Belgium's King Philippe, for the first time.

"This bond will further develop within the family setting", they said, signing off as "Philippe & Delphine" without any royal titles attached.

The test confirmed he was indeed her biological father, which he had refused to admit since the revelation in 1999 of an old extra-marital affair.

Last month, a Belgian court ruled in Princess Delphine's favour and officially recognised her as the daughter of former King Albert II, something the aging monarch had fought tooth and nail to avoid ever since the paternity allegations became public.

The current king has now publicly welcomed Delphine into the family, unlike his father so far.

The couple first met on October 9 in a "warm encounter" at the royal family's official residence, Lacan's Castle, the Belgian monarchy said.

"This relationship will from now on develop in a family framework", the statement added.

Albert had already married his future queen, Paola, and the illegitimate daughter was kept secret.

Rumours about Albert and Princess Delphine's mother, the aristocratic wife of a wealthy industrialist, had been around for years but Albert's two children never met each other. The king's extramarital relationship continued until 1984. The former monarch reportedly had her during an affair 52 years ago.

The princess, who is a professional artist, previously said she didn't expect anything from the royals after seven years of court proceedings to prove she was related to them.