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Royalty

Court orders Belgium’s former king to take paternity test

  • Former monarch must take test within three months or risk being presumed to be artist Delphine Boel’s father, but his lawyers challenge the order
PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 9:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 9:42pm

The Brussels appeal court has ordered the retired king of Belgium to take a DNA paternity test, overturning an earlier ruling in a suit brought by 50-year-old artist Delphine Boel.

Under the judgment, reported by Boel’s lawyers on Monday, King Albert II must take the test within three months or risk being presumed to be her father – although his lawyers could seek to challenge the court’s legal argument.

The 84-year-old monarch, who in 2013 abdicated in favour of his son Philippe after 20 years on the throne, has contested Boel’s claim for more than a decade. Court-ordered DNA tests have proved she is not the daughter of Jacques Boel, scion of one of Belgium’s richest industrial dynasties.

Boel’s lawyers said in their statement that they were pleased with the “strong affirmation of the principle of acting in the interests of the child” as she seeks legal confirmation of her true identity.

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That identity became a topic of public debate after the publication in 1999 of a biography of Queen Paola, Albert’s Italian wife, which claimed he had a long extramarital relationship from which a daughter was born in the 1960s.

Albert, who has no formal public role, has acknowledged that he and Paola had marital difficulties. Their three children are all older than Boel. Next in line to the throne is 17-year-old Princess Elisabeth, daughter of Philippe and Queen Mathilde.