Royal family affair: Artist demands DNA to prove she’s king’s daughter

Delphine Boël in court bid to prove that the Belgian monarch Albert II is her father

Brussels

Delphine Boël’s art says it all: a neon sculpture spells out the words “Love Child” alongside a crown askew on a red heart. Another text work in colourful crepe appears to be a blunter message to King Albert II, the Belgian monarch she claims is her father: “F*** You I Exist”.

Now the British-educated artist has launched a court battle to obtain DNA from the sovereign and his family in a bid to prove her claim. Ms Boël, a 45-year-old Belgian who studied at the Chelsea College of Art, claims she is the product of an affair in the 1960s between King Albert and the Belgian aristocrat, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

While King Albert has never publicly acknowledged Ms Boël as his child, 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 the Baroness. Ms Boël bears a resemblance to the 79-year-old King, who has three children with Queen Paola.

In action launched on Monday and confirmed by the Royal Palace today, Ms Boël has asked a court to call King Albert, his heir Prince Philippe, and his daughter Princess Astrid, in the hope of then demanding blood samples from them.

A first hearing has been set for 25 June. “I am deeply saddened, but I believe blood can work wonders,” Ms Boël was quoted as saying on the Flanders News website. She has previously said she wishes to have a normal relationship with the King.

One Belgian legal expert told the public broadcaster RTBF that Ms Boël’s request would probably be refused while the King remains on the throne, as his position shields him from legal action which interferes with his duties. His children, however, are not offered the same protection. Allegations of an affair and the existence of a royal love child were first aired in 1999 in an unauthorised biography of Queen Paola. The book shattered the air of media secrecy surrounding the royal family, and the Belgian press tracked Ms Boël down.

Her mother had married an industrialist, Jacques Boël, and moved the family to London when Delphine was a child. After attending art school, Ms Boël returned to Belgium in 2004.

She often uses her art – which is sold by London’s Saatchi Gallery for up to £13,000 – to try and make sense of her royal relationship. A photomontage message to the King features a photograph of her in a washing machine with the words “Kaboom, Your Closet Clean”. As well as “Love Child” and “Fuck You I Exist”, another work reads “Fornicate Under Consent of the King”.

The Belgian royal family has long been seen as one of the few institutions uniting the Dutch-speaking north and French-speaking south. But it is not without its controversies: the government cut the stipend of the King’s sister-in-law this year after plans to squirrel her inheritance away tax-free provoked an uproar.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police