Case against King Albert over lovechild claims to begin on 23 September
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    Case against King Albert over lovechild claims to begin on 23 September

    DNA tests suggest that Delphine Boel, the aristocratic artist who claims she is the love child of former Belgian King Albert II, was born out of wedlock. The results show that her legal father is not her biological father and now paves the way for her on Tuesday to seek a judicial order for a DNA test to be carried out on King Albert or, if he refuses, his children to prove they are her siblings.

    She has regularly demanded a paternity test to prove she is the illegitimate daughter of King Albert and is also seeking a judicial order for a DNA test to be carried out on Prince Philippe, the successor to the throne, and Priness Astrid, his sister, to prove they are her siblings as the former king cannot be compelled to comply with Belgium’s courts.

    If successful in the judicial hearing, which opens on Tuesday, Mrs Boël could ask to be officially recognised as King Albert’s daughter.

    Mrs Boel has always insisted she wants none of King Albert’s money although legal recognition would entitle her to a fifth of his estate and her legal challenge follows her disinheritance by her legal father Jacques Boel, a wealthy Belgian industrialist.

    Her mother is Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps who had an affair with King Albert, an episode he has previously, but indirectly, referred to as “a crisis” in his marriage.

    The former king could refuse a DNA test but as Antwerp University Family Law Professor Frederik Swennen told the Belgian VRT news channel, “If he refused, it could look like he has something to hide and the court could conclude on the basis of this that he is the father”.

    The case of Delphine Boël v King Albert opens at the Brussels Courthouse on 23 September.

    Mrs Boel, 45, is a modern painter and sculptor born of a Belgian baroness who is widely believed be the daughter of the king following an affair while he was a jet-setting but married prince in the 1960s.

    The former king has always denied fatherhood although it is accepted as common knowledge in Belgium since the revelation of relationship in 1999 and an opinion poll showed Ms Boel has the support of 82 per cent of Belgians.

    King Albert, 80, a lover of fast cars and the 1960s jet-set scene in his youth, married the current queen, Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, an Italian aristocrat in 1958.

    The monarchy was once regarded as the glue that held Belgium together and prevented deepening divisions between Flemish Dutch-speakers and francophone Walloons from tearing the country apart.

    By Martin Banks