I can’t even begin to tell you how delighted I am that Delphine Boël – now Princess Delphine – has been recognized by BOTH of Belgium’s kings. First, the former King Albert, who (finally) acknowledged her as his daughter. Then his son, the current King Phillippe, met with his sister to mend bridges.
King Albert had to be dragged into court and forced into a DNA test before he officially admitted paternity. It was such a shame that it came to that point, as it seems that he had a good relationship with Delphine when she was a child.
Prior to becoming king, Albert had an 18-year-long relationship with Delphine’s mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, a Belgian noblewoman. When he decided to return to his wife, Princess Paola, Albert split with Sybille but also left Delphine behind.
Delphine lived with her mother, who would eventually marry Jacques Boël, from whom Delphine took her surname. Delphine became a well-established artist and sculptor in her own right, but her biggest claim to fame was her oft-publicized legal battle to get her father to recognize her as his child. It was not to gain status, she says, but only to be a part of the family. And who could blame Delphine for wanting that?
Thankfully, Delphine’s brothers Phillippe and Prince Laurent were much more at ease embracing the newest family member. King Phillippe met with Delphine in a public photo call to welcome her, and Laurent had already met her before along with his wife, Claire.
A message issued by King Philippe and Princess Delphine said they had met for the first time at the Castle of Laken the previous week.
“This long and rich discussion gave us the opportunity to learn to know each other. We talked about our respective lives and areas of shared interest,” they said.
“This bond will further develop within the family setting.”
The only one publicly silent is Delphine’s sister, Princess Astrid. It must be an enormous change for Astrid, who for so long was officially the king’s only daughter. It will likely take time for Astrid to process all of this, which is completely understandable.
Shockingly, Albert himself released a statement when all was said and done:
“I unreservedly endorse the communique that the King and Princess Delphine have published and I join in the spirit of this message,” he said.
“My wife and I are very happy with what has been achieved on the King’s initiative, the first steps towards better days for everyone and especially for Delphine.”
It is a complete 180-degree turn around, I am so pleased that the siblings can now get to know each other and that Albert – AND Paola – are welcoming her. It is truly remarkable and may the days ahead bring further reconciliation and love.