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Entertainment Belgium's hidden princess sits beside King Albert for first time

14:42  27 october  2020
14:42  27 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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The once secret princess of Belgium has met former king Albert for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter. A photograph released by the palace today shows Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg sitting smiling alongside Albert II and his wife Queen Paola in their home

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Delphine Boel et al. sitting on a couch: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

The once secret princess of Belgium has met former king Albert for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter.

A photograph released by the palace today shows Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg sitting smiling alongside Albert II and his wife Queen Paola in their home, Castle Belvédère, in Laeken on Sunday.

The meeting was described by the palace as a time of 'forgiveness, healing and reconciliation' after the lengthy court battle.

Princess Delphine, 52, was officially recognised as the love child of Belgium's former king on October 1.

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Belgium ' s hidden love-child princess sits beside former King Albert and his wife as they meet for the first time since battle to be accepted as daughter. Princess Martha Louise of Norway is currently filming hew new reality series focusing on her life with American boyfriend Shaman Durek.

Belgium ' s appeals court granted Delphine Boel the title " Princess of Belgium . BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian artist who has fought a seven-year legal battle to prove that Belgium ' s former King Albert II is her father secured a literally crowning success in court on Thursday when she

Delphine had revealed earlier this month she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and said at the time she 'expects nothing more'.

a group of people sitting around a living room: Belgian princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg has met her former king father Albert II and his wife Queen Paola for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter © Provided by Daily Mail Belgian princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg has met her former king father Albert II and his wife Queen Paola for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter

A joint statement said: 'On Sunday 25 October a new chapter, rich of emotion, peace of mind, understanding and hope was begun.

'During our meeting in Castle Belvédère each of us, in serenity and empathy, managed to express their feelings and experiences.

'After the uproar, the suffering and the injuries, it is now time for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.

'Together we have decided on this new path. This will take patience and effort, but we are determined.

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Princess Astrid of Belgium , Archduchess of Austria-Este (born 5 June 1962), is the second child and first daughter of King Albert II and Queen Paola, and younger sister to the current Belgian monarch, King Philippe.

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'These are the first step in a path that we will walk in peace. Delphine, Paola and Albert.'

Delphine Boel, Philippe of Belgium posing for the camera: King Philippe of Belgium (right) has met his half-sister Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg Gotha (left) for the first time - after she was finally recognised as former king Albert II's daughter following a lengthy legal battle © Provided by Daily Mail King Philippe of Belgium (right) has met his half-sister Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg Gotha (left) for the first time - after she was finally recognised as former king Albert II's daughter following a lengthy legal battle text: In a joint statement shared to the Belgian royal family's Facebook page, Philippe and Delphine said: 'This extensive and special conversation gave us the opportunity to get to know each other' © Provided by Daily Mail In a joint statement shared to the Belgian royal family's Facebook page, Philippe and Delphine said: 'This extensive and special conversation gave us the opportunity to get to know each other'

It comes after the princess met her half-brother King Philippe for the first time earlier this month.

The monarch said it was a 'warm meeting' which took place at the Castle of Laeken on Friday October 9.

Artist Princess Delphine, 52, formerly known as Delphine Boël, is thought to be the result of an 18-year affair between the former monarch, 86, and Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps, 79, that began in the 1960s.

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Princess Clémentine of Belgium (French: Clémentine Albertine Marie Léopoldine, or Dutch: Clementina Albertina Maria Leopoldina; 30 July 1872 – 8 March 1955), a daughter of King Leopold II, was the wife of Napoléon Victor Bonaparte, Bonapartist pretender to the throne of France

In a joint statement shared to the Belgian royal family's Facebook page, Philippe, 60, and Delphine - who shared a photograph of them socially distanced - said: 'This extensive and special conversation gave us the opportunity to get to know each other.

'We have spoken about our own lives and our common interests. This bond will develop further in family context.'

Their union was met with delight from royal fans, with many Belgians praising King Philippe for his 'moving' gesture.

One commented: 'Great respect for King Filip for this deep human gesture to his half sister!! Beautiful!!'

'Congratulations on this warm, human gesture!' another wrote. 'It truly is a strong signal. This is the attitude of an committed and confident Prince who also turns his social message into actions. An example. Congrats!'

And one gushed: 'Fantastic! How good of the King! And what's wrong with a nice new (half) sister? Exactly: nothing! Compliments.'

Speaking after a court officially recognised her as the love child of Belgium's former king on October 1, Delphine said her battle to be recognised as a royal was not about money or status.

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King Albert II, the former Belgian monarch, conceded this week that DNA tests showed he was the biological father of Delphine Boël, an artist who Alain Berenboom, one of the king ’ s lawyers, said on Tuesday that the Court of Appeal in Brussels would hear the case for a final time in June and that the

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She explained that her mother's husband, wealthy industrialist and aristocrat Jacques Boel, is 'much richer than the royal family'.

Delphine also revealed she will not be using the 'Her Royal Highness' prefix, adding: 'I just wanted to be the same as my brother and my sister.'

She told Belgian radio show Matin Premiere: 'I feel like I have a right to exist. Not to exist in the royal family but as me.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Delphine, 52, formerly known as Delphine Boël, is thought to be the result of an 18-year affair between the former monarch (pictured in February last year) and Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps that began in the 1960s © Provided by Daily Mail Delphine, 52, formerly known as Delphine Boël, is thought to be the result of an 18-year affair between the former monarch (pictured in February last year) and Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps that began in the 1960s

'My decision to call for help through the law, I feel today that it was the right thing to do... The judicial system said that I was right and that I had the right to exist.'

Speaking earlier this month, Delphine revealed she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and 'expects nothing more'.

'I tried to solve the problem behind the walls, in secret, for years,' she added, but said Albert's repeated denials forced her to go public.

Describing her life before the judgement, she called herself 'a black sheep' adding that her existence was 'unpleasant and unlivable'.

She added that she now wants to go back to focusing on her art, while moving on from the scandal of her birth.

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'It is not [the child's] fault, they do not ask to be born,' she said. 'The child who comes from a love affair outside of marriage should not be treated any differently.'

Delphine Boel holding a microphone: Delphine, pictured at a press conference in Brussels on October 5, a week after she won the legal battle to be confirmed as a princess, said her battle to be recognised as a royal was not about money or status © Provided by Daily Mail Delphine, pictured at a press conference in Brussels on October 5, a week after she won the legal battle to be confirmed as a princess, said her battle to be recognised as a royal was not about money or status Marc Uyttendaele et al. looking at each other: Speaking earlier this month, Delphine revealed she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and 'expects nothing more'. Pictured on October 5 © Provided by Daily Mail Speaking earlier this month, Delphine revealed she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and 'expects nothing more'. Pictured on October 5

The alleged affair between Albert II and Sybille de Selys Longchamps is believed to have begun in 1966 when Albert was not yet king but was married to Italian aristocrat and later queen Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, whom he wed in 1959.

The couple lived apart for a large part of their early marriage, amid rumours that she disliked living in Belgium, finding it too cold and rainy.

Delphine was born in 1968, and the affair is thought to have ended in 1984.

Albert's other children - Philippe, who assumed the throne after Albert's abdication, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent - were born in 1960, 1962 and 1963 respectively.

Albert ascended the throne in 1993, following the death of his elder brother, King Baudouin, from heart failure.

Albert II of Belgium wearing a suit and tie: Albert's admission comes after a court ruled that he has to submit to a DNA test and would fine him 5,000 euros for every day he refused to comply © Provided by Daily Mail Albert's admission comes after a court ruled that he has to submit to a DNA test and would fine him 5,000 euros for every day he refused to comply Sybille de Selys Longchamps standing in front of a window: Albert II, former King of Belgium, has admitted for the first time that 51-year-old artist is his love-child from an affair he is thought to have had in the 1960s © Provided by Daily Mail Albert II, former King of Belgium, has admitted for the first time that 51-year-old artist is his love-child from an affair he is thought to have had in the 1960s

Delphine - an aristocrat in her own right and an artist - first said in 1999 that she believes she is Albert's child.

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Her statement was made shortly after the publication of an unofficial biography of Queen Paola which alluded to an affair the King had which produced a lovechild.

Albert acknowledged problems with his marriage in his Christmas speech the same year, referring to a 'crisis' which nearly ended his marriage 30 years before, but said he and his wife 'surpassed those difficulties to find a deep understanding love'.

But Albert never addressed the issue of a child, and for years the palace neither confirmed nor denied the reports, merely saying that it was a 'private matter'.

Delphine Boel, Sybille de Selys Longchamps standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Delphine (left, with her mother in 2000) first claimed to be Albert's lovechild in 1999, after an unofficial biography of the Queen claimed he had an affair and a child born out of wedlock © Provided by Daily Mail Delphine (left, with her mother in 2000) first claimed to be Albert's lovechild in 1999, after an unofficial biography of the Queen claimed he had an affair and a child born out of wedlock

Despite years of private lobbying, Ms Boel was unable to get Albert to recognise her true identity.

After years of questions over her identity, which Delphine claimed stopped her from opening bank accounts, she went to the courts in 2013 in an attempt to prove her biological father was Albert.

The same year the legal case began, Albert abdicated for 'health reasons', passing the throne to son Philippe - Delphine's half-brother.

After several early setbacks, the breakthrough for Ms Boel came in November last year when a court ruled that Albert must provide a DNA sample for testing.

Failure to comply would result in a €5,000 fine for each day the sample was missing.

Albert is thought to have undergone the DNA test shortly afterwards, which proved he is the father.

Delphine Boel et al. posing for the camera: Delphine Boel, now 52 (pictured in Paris in 1999) has been recognised as the illegitimate lovechild of Albert II, former King of Beligum, after a seven-year legal battle © Provided by Daily Mail Delphine Boel, now 52 (pictured in Paris in 1999) has been recognised as the illegitimate lovechild of Albert II, former King of Beligum, after a seven-year legal battle

In January, he issued a statement confirming that he is no longer contesting paternity.

The court ruled that Delphine should be recognised as part of the royal family, putting her 15th in line to the throne and entitling her to a share of Albert's estate when he dies.

A statement released by Delphine's lawyers last week said: 'Delphine de Saxe Cobourg has taken note of the judgment... which gives her full satisfaction.

'Her other requests for it to be dealt with on the same footing as her brothers and sister have also been satisfied.

'She is delighted by this court decision which ends a long process which is particularly painful for her and her family.

A legal victory will never replace the love of a father but offers a feeling of justice, further reinforced by the fact that many children who have gone through the same ordeals will find the strength to face them.'

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