One in two Belgians thinks that their former monarch is "very dishonest," after a DNA test undid years of denying he had fathered artist Delphine Boël in an extramarital affair.
At the end of January, a court-ordered DNA test confirmed decades-long rumours, handing a victory to Boël who in 2013 embarked on a legal battle to prove she was the daughter of Albert II of Belgium.
Half of Belgians questioned in an online poll said that they were disappointed in their former king and that they believed his image and that of his reign had been tarnished following the revelations.
The poll, published in the weekly publication Soirmag, questioned 1,009 Belgians between the ages of 18 and 75.
Boël's decision to bring the matter to the courts prompted Albert II to abdicate in favour of his son, current ruler King Philippe, whom the DNA test also established as Boël's half-brother.
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70% of poll respondents also said that Boël, a sculpting artist and member of the Belgian nobility, should also be entitled to parts of Albert II's heritage.
The revelations closed a seven-year legal strife in which, after a series of appeals from both side, Albert yielded to a ruling ordering him to provide a DNA sample or risk a fine of €5,000 for every day he refused to comply.
Albert's handling of the results of the paternity test were seen as "pitiful," by 38% of respondents, after he reportedly issued a statement via his lawyers claiming he had not played an "active paternal role" in Boël's life, 7sur7 reports.
A small number of respondents (4%) thought Albert "really didn't believe he was [Boël's] father," while 8% said his handling the affair and overall attitude was "normal" since he was not sure he was the artist's father.
The Brussels Times