Delphine Boël: 'I was King Albert II's dirty laundry'

Delphine Boël: 'I was King Albert II's dirty laundry'
Credit: Belga/Dirk Waem

For the first time since former Belgian King Albert II acknowledged that he was Delphine Boël's biological father at the end of January, she gave an interview about how the recognition changed her life.

In an interview with AFP, on the occasion of a retrospective exhibition at an art gallery in Knokke, Boël spoke about how she deals with the "difficult combination" of being an artist and a king's daughter.

Boël's "hell" began in 1999, when she became world-famous as a possible illegitimate daughter of Albert, she said. "I did not want it. I did not become famous like a pop star. I became famous and I was a disgrace. I was King Albert II's dirty laundry."

The ruling on 27 January came after 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.

"It really changed my life," she told AFP. "For the first time, I felt taken seriously. I was finally heard. And then I found it extraordinary that justice can thus give hope to all those who are searching for their identity," Boël added.

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Today, Boël says she is "proud" of a battle fought for herself and her two children aged 16 and 12, who also had to "know their history."

"At school, they were sometimes asked, 'Are you sure your mother didn't make all this up (...) that she is right in her head?' I'm really glad no one can ever say that to them again," she said.

Since she started the court-process, speculation that Boël was only in it for the money have been rife, or that she was only looking for extra attention for her art, but she has always denied it.

"Everyone has their challenges and problems. It is about what you do with them. And I'm proud of what I have done with them," Boël told VRT last week. "That is why I call this exhibit 'Attitude'. Your attitude defines your life. It is the only thing you can control."

In September, the Brussels court of appeal will still have to rule on the legal consequences of the official recognition as the fourth child of Albert II.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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