Delphine Boël affair: International reports on King Albert II’s admission
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    Delphine Boël affair: International reports on King Albert II’s admission

    There has been widespread international coverage of the admission by former Belgian King Albert II that he is the biological father of Delphine Boël, as evidenced by the results of a DNA test.

    Here is a selection of headlines:

    Germany

    “The former king of the Belgians recognises an illegitimate daughter” is the headline in today’s issue of the German newspaper Deutsche Welle, which goes on to report that “Former King Albert II of Belgium has admitted that he fathered a girl during an affair 51 years ago. He has recognised artist Delphine Boël as his daughter, after a DNA test gave a positive result.”

    The German news agency DPA noted that “unlike King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, seen as calm and down to earth, Albert and his wife Paola made headlines on many occasions before Albert abdicated in 2013. In the 1960s, Paola, who is of Italian origin, was considered a socialite, and there was mention of an affair with the singer Adamo (“Dolce Paola”). As early as 1999, a biographer had speculated that Albert had an illegitimate child.”

    Denmark

    “DNA test forces former Belgian sovereign to admit paternity,” reads the headline in Ritzau, the Danish news agency.

    France

    “Former Belgian King Albert II has admitted that he is the biological father of a girl born out of wedlock following a DNA test, after many years of legal proceedings by the latter, Delphine Boël, now in her fifties,” notes Agence France Presse (AFP), quoting Belgian media. The agency stressed that, until now, the former king had always denied his paternity.

    “Denouement in Belgium: former King Albert II recognises his daughter from an affair, Delphine Boël”, is how the French daily Le Monde titles its story. It also comments that: “This is not really a surprise for most Belgians, but a shock for the Laeken Royal House.”

    Spain

    In its report, the Spanish news agency, EFE, announced that “DNA shows that the artist Delphine Boël is the illegitimate daughter of Albert II.”

    The headline in the online edition of the Spanish daily El País is “DNA shows that King Albert II of Belgium is the father of Delphine Boël”. The daily stressed that the truth has emerged after years of denial by the king who had rejected his paternity and had been threatened with a €5,000 fine if he did not agree to a DNA test.

    “Albert II of Belgium recognises the paternity of sculptress Delphine Boël” is the headline in the online version of El Mundo, another Spanish daily, which noted that the DNA test resolved a matter that had made the news in Belgium for 20 years.

    The Netherlands

    The Dutch daily De Telegraaf recalls that the issue has raised eyebrows in Belgium since 1999. It also quotes an interview by Delphine Boël in 2013: “They were worried about me (…). My mother and the king were very much in love. He used to be with us every weekend until I was nine years old. He even wanted to divorce Paola, but my mother wanted to protect the royal house.”

    United Kingdom

    “Belgium’s ex-King admits fathering child after DNA test” runs the headline in the BBC, which notes that the former king “had been fighting the paternity claim by Belgian artist Delphine Boël for more than a decade.” The allegations, which surfaced in 1999, gave rise to a royal scandal and persistent rumours in the media in Belgium, the BBC added.

    “Former Belgian king admits he fathered lovechild” is how the British daily The Telegraph titles its piece on the issue, which recalls the time spent by Delphine Boël in boarding schools in England and Switzerland, and even the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London, where she did her A-Levels.

    “King Albert II, who abdicated from the Belgian throne in mysterious circumstances in 2013, has acknowledged having fathered a child during an extramarital affair in the 1960s, following the result of a court-ordered DNA test,” the Guardian reported.

    In a news story headlined “DNA tests show Belgian ex-king is father of artist, lawyer says” the UK-Canadian news agency Reuters recalls that “Albert, who abdicated six years ago in favour of his son Philippe, had long contested Boël’s claim.” It adds that the artist’s identity had long been at the centre of a public debate following the publication in 1999 of a biography of Albert’s wife Paolo in 1999 in which the “long extramarital affair” was mentioned.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times

    Correction: a previous version of this story did not have a photo of King Albert II