Delphine Boël: not in it for the money, says financial expert

Delphine Boël: not in it for the money, says financial expert
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Now that Delphine Boël has been factually recognised as the daughter of former king Albert II – albeit not yet legally – accusations that she went through years of legal procedure to be able to inherit from the king can be put aside, according to financial journalist Ludwig Verduyn.

Interviewed on VRT News, Verduyn explained that Boël, for financial reasons alone, would have done better to remain the offspring of Jacques Boël, rather than battle through the courts for recognition from her biological father.

Delphine, it has now been established de facto if not yet de jure, was born of an extra-marital affair between the then-Prince Albert, brother of the late King Baudouin, and Sybil De Selys Longchamps, wife of Jacques Boël.

The accusation that Delphine has undergone a decade and more of legal battle in order to be recognised by her true father for financial reasons, however, is laid to rest by Verduyn, who argues that she would have been better off, in financial terms alone, to let things stand as they were.

Jacques Boël is at the head of a very rich family, placed at number 16 on the list of the richest Belgian families, between Christian Van Thillo of media group DPG Media and Fernand Huts of Katoen Natie. The family fortune is reckoned to be around €1.6 billion.

The fortune of Albert II, on the other hand, is worth barely a third of that at the very best estimate, Verduyn says, and very likely a good deal less.

Thanks to some arrangements organised on behalf of his late brother, a major part of Albert’s fortune is offshore, and no-one knows how much of the total has come down to Albert. In any case, the maximum estimate of the whole package comes to €600 million at most. As far as the official estimate is concerned, the royal palace puts their estimate at a paltry €12.5 million.

In the case where Delphine were to inherit her share of either estate, the difference is enormous: either a share of €1.6 billion as sole offspring, or a share of €12.5 million to be split with three other offspring.

But the die is now cast: in order to even begin a procedure to be recognised as the daughter of Albert II, Delphine had to divest herself in law of her status as the child of Jacques Boël. Having done so, any claim she had to his succession is once and for all gone. If it were a question of self-enrichment alone, Verduyn points out, that was her first and biggest mistake.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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