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Belgian king’s ‘daughter’ drops one legal fight, but plans another

British-educated artist, Delphine Boël, drops legal case demanding DNA samples from two of Albert II's acknowledged children

A British-educated artist who claims to be the daughter of Belgium’s King Albert II has dropped a legal case demanding DNA samples from two of his acknowledged children.

But Delphine Boël, who studied at Chelesa College of Art,  plans to start fresh proceedings against Albert and the wealthy industrialist who raised her as his own.

Ms Boël’s lawyer, Alain De Jonge, said that the July abdication of King Albert – who retains his title under Belgian law – had “changed matters” and meant that she no longer had to pursue her claims against Princess Astrid and King Philippe, who succeeded his father.

While Albert was still on the throne, his position shielded him from legal action which interferes with his duties, hence the case requested DNA from his children as well.

Belgian commentators had speculated that the strain of the court case was one of the reasons King Albert chose to step aside in favour of his son, although the 79-year-old cited ill health and age.  Mr De Jonge, said they would launch their new case next week, requesting that the court order DNA samples from King Albert and the man who raised her, Jacques Boël.

The royal family’s lawyer, Guy Hiernaux, told the Flanders News website that it would be “hard to prove” Ms Boël is the king’s daughter before first proving she is not a blood relation of Mr Boël.

King Albert has never publicly acknowledged Ms Boël, but Belgian media interpreted a speech he gave in 1999 referring to a “crisis” in his marriage 30 years ago as a tacit admission of a relationship with Ms Boël’s mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

The Baroness has rarely spoken about the relationship but in an interview entitled Our Daughter is Called Delphine that was due to air on Belgian television last night, she was expected to speak of her disappointment that the royals had frozen her daughter out.