Some princesses are discovered by slipping their dainty foot into a glass slipper, like Cinderella, but Belgium’s latest princess has been legitimised at the age of 52 through a Belgian court decision.
From yesterday, Delphine Boël, the illegitimate daughter of King Albert II, is officially a princess of Belgium, and will be known as Her Royal Highness Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg.
Her children, Joséphine and Oscar, are now princess and prince of Belgium.
For years, the king refused to take a DNA test but a court-ordered test this year showed that he fathered Delphine Boel, in an extramarital affair, reports the Brussels Times.
Boël’s “hell” began in 1999, when she became world-famous as a possible illegitimate daughter of Albert, she said.
“I did not want it. I became famous and I was a disgrace. I was King Albert’s dirty laundry.”
Boël’s decision to bring the matter to the courts prompted Albert II to abdicate in favour of his son, current ruler King Philippe, whom the DNA test also established as Boël’s half-brother.
After living in London from the age of eight with her mother Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, Boel considers herself Anglo-Belgian and speaks English with almost no trace of an accent.
“A judicial victory will never replace a father’s love,” said her lawyer.
It’s not such a fairy tale ending for ex-King Albert though. In a recent opinion poll one in two Belgians now thinks that their former monarch is “very dishonest”.