Court overturns King Albert appeal in paternity case

Court overturns King Albert appeal in paternity case
The allegation that Delphine (pictured) was Albert’s daughter was first made public in 1999. Credit: Belga.

The Court of Cassation in Brussels has rejected an appeal by the former King Albert II against a ruling obliging him to provide a DNA sample in a case attempting to show he is the father of an illegitimate daughter now aged 51 years.

As we reported earlier today, the woman in question, artist Delphine Boël, claims Albert – then a prince while his brother Baudouin was king, had a long-standing affair from 1966 to 1984 with her mother, the socialite Sybille De Selys Longchamps, from which she was born. She was recognised by her mother’s husband, the industrialist Jacques Boël, but later found out what she alleges to be her true origin, and began a crusade to have her true father recognise her. In the meantime, Jacques Boël has given a DNA sample confirming he is not Delphine’s biological father.

The allegation that Delphine (pictured) was Albert’s daughter was first made public in 1999 by the young Flemish journalist Marco Danneels, then aged 18, in his book on Queen Paola, wife of Albert.

Today’s court ruling, which cannot be appealed, does not extend to a decision on the paternity of Ms Boël. The matter of the case concerns a DNA sample which both parties were ordered to provide by the Court of Appeal. Delphine complied, and Albert, now aged 85, resisted until ordered to give the sample by another ruling from the court, on condition that the sample and its analysis would remain sealed until Cassation could give a final ruling.

That has now come down: the sample from the former king may be opened and the results of the analysis revealed to Boël. If it proves his paternity, she will have won what she started out to get – the recognition that she is, in fact, his biological daughter – even if the recognition came about by force of law.

If the result is negative, however, the case ends there, and years of struggle – through the courts since 2013 – will have been for nothing. Appeals rejected, the case now goes back to the Court of Appeal, which will order the sealed sample to be opened and the results revealed. A date for that hearing has yet to be fixed.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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