Former Belgian King Albert II met his estranged love child, Princess Delphine, on Sunday, marking their first encounter since Delphine won a legal battle earning her recognition as a member of the royal family.
The gathering brings to close years of "turmoil, injury and suffering," and marked "the first steps" of a new chapter, the Belgian Palace said in a press release.
Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg, until recently Delphine Boël, became Belgium's newest princess on 1 October and gained notoriety for marking on a years-long legal battle to prove that she was the biological daughter of Belgium's former king.
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After years of denial, Albert admitted that he had fathered Delphine during an extramarital affair after a court ordered him to take a paternity test.
The meeting was also attended by Albert's wife, former Queen Paola, and gave each of them the opportunity to express "serenely and with empathy, our feelings and experiences," the palace said.
"After the turmoil, the injuries and the suffering comes the time of forgiveness, of healing and of reconciliation. This is the path, patient and at times difficult, that we have resolutely decided to take together."
Delphine's encounter with Albert and Paola, which took place the Château de Belvédère, the couple's official residence in Laeken, in the north of Brussels, came just days after she met with her half-brother, King Philippe, in October.
The meeting with King Philippe came just days after Delphine became a princess following her legal victory, following which she said in an interview that she had not heard from her father or from the Royal Palace, adding that she "expected nothing" more.
According to a statement from the palace, Delphine and Philippe had a "warm encounter" and will seek to "bond further within the family setting."
The Brussels Times