As the news settles on King Albert II’s acknowledgement of paternity of Delphine Boël, Belgian newspapers have devoted their day to it, and how they feel about the news.
A commendable gesture, but made too late, seems to be the editorial trend – so here’s how the Belgian press tackled the news:
“Albert II is acknowledging nothing: he is just being forced to defer to the evidence as established by science and the law he did all he could to evade,” Le Soir writes. “Albert II certainly had his reasons for refusing to acknowledge Delphine as his daughter. But he is a king here, the heart of an institution that, through his denial, has lacked the value of an example.”
The Sudpresse Group points to a “long and humiliating legal procedure”. “With a common thread: Albert’s stubborn refusal to bend to the evidence against the daughter he had out of wedlock. How many missed opportunities for the former sovereign to recognize a daughter who was only waiting for a gesture from him.”
“Delphine Boël: the end of too long a struggle”, headlines Dernier Heure. For the king’s daughter, “at the dawn of her 52nd birthday (she was born on February 22nd), this is not a birthday present but a simple return to reality.”
For La Libre on the other hand, Albert II’s acknowledgement is a “gesture of appeasement” that ought to “bring peace of mind back to the families concerned.”
In the north of the country, reactions are rather bitter. Gazet van Antwerpen regrets the “forced” nature of the recognition. “The daughter has a father only on paper, her children have a grandfather only in legal terms.”
Het Laatste Nieuws points out that Albert II fled fatherhood during his entire adult life, including six years in court, partly because of “bad advice inside and outside his family”. “He says the procedure was painful, but it was mainly for Delphine and her mother, his mistress, that this was the case. The king could have spared them and himself this suffering.”
Het Nieuwsblad is no more tender: “The king confesses and puts an end to the proceedings. The way he proceeds is as merciless as the way he denied it.”
For the Belang van Limburg, this is a milestone for Belgium.
“Apart from the question of whether royalty is still of our time, it proves that the Belgian monarchy is in transition.” Another example of this development, according to the daily: “King Philip and Queen Matilda no longer (fortunately) want to live exclusively by hereditary title, they want to be part of society, preferably in their own way.”