For 20 Years, This Artist Has Claimed the King of Belgium Is Her Father. Now He’s Been Ordered to Take a DNA Test.

Artist Delphine Boël has long claimed that she's the daughter of Albert II, who stepped down in 2013.

Delphine Boël. Photo by Wim Van de Genachte, courtesy of the artist.
Delphine Boël. Photo by Wim Van de Genachte, courtesy of the artist.

Belgian artist Delphine Boël’s claim that Albert II, the former King of Belgium, is her father will be settled by a DNA test, a court has ruled. Since 1999, the 50-year-old sculptor and painter has claimed that her mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, had an affair with the 84-year-old king.

But Albert II has remained silent on the subject. When he was king, he was immune from legal prosecution and could not be ordered to undergo a DNA test. When he abdicated in 2013 due to poor health, he allegedly offered to write a letter acknowledging Boël’s parentage, but insisted that it remained sealed until his death.

But Boël rejected the offer and is pushing forward in her quest to be legally recognized as the king’s daughter. “It was too vague and without any real guarantee for the future or resolution of the problems she faced in her life. It wouldn’t have solved anything,” Marc Uyttendaele, Boël’s lawyer, told local radio station RTBF, as translated by the London Times, adding that Boël had been emotionally scarred by the king’s public denial of her.

Last week, a Belgian court gave the former monarch three months to submit a DNA sample for testing.

Delphine Boël. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Delphine Boël. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The existence of a possible royal love child was revealed in an unauthorized 1999 biography of the king’s wife, Queen Paola. That year, the king seemingly acknowledged the matter in his Christmas speech, making reference to a “crisis” in their marriage. The affair between Albert II and de Selys Longchamps is said to have lasted between 1966 and 1984.

A low-ranking member of the Belgian nobility in her own right, Boël had a solo exhibition “NEVER GIVE UP,” at the Museum of Ixelles, Brussels, in 2017.


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