Postcard from... Brussels


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The Independent Online


For a website that prides itself on offering a “discreet” service for husbands and wives looking for a bit of extra-marital fun, their advertising trucks sporting huge billboards (right) were anything but.

Perhaps if they had been following the advice of the man pictured, they might have got away with it. In a photograph taken at the abdication of Belgium’s King Albert II, the retiring monarch leans in as if offering advice to his son Philippe. “Good counsel, my son, always be discreet,” the caption reads, in an apparent reference to King Albert’s alleged marital indiscretion nearly four decades ago.

The claims have resurfaced in Belgium this year after Delphine Boël, the woman who says she is the product of that affair, launched legal action to prove her paternity.

The words of advice were, of course, pure fiction, and the Royal Palace was not amused. They said the Belgian dating website did not have the authorisation rights to use the image for commercial means and demanded they stop the campaign. swiftly complied, but said in a statement that they were disappointed that King Albert did not appreciate their sense of humour.

“We had hoped that the new king could see the joke. It’s a great shame that this is not the case. Our campaign in no  way intended to insult members of the royal family,” the  statement read. 

But, they added, they achieved their aim and had boosted their profile among potential adulterers: “Happily we also got tons of positive reactions to the campaign. This shows how our members trust our sense of fun and the discrete character of our platform.”