Real-Life Princess Diaries: Former Belgian King’s Secret Daughter Wins Rights as Princess

The secret daughter of the former King of Belgium wins the court battle to become a princess. She is now entitled to all the royal titles and rights that her legitimate siblings enjoy as children of the former king.

It is not easy to become a princess but one automatically becomes one if they are the children of monarchy. However, this rule only applies to children who are officially recognized as the children of royals. This means that illegitimate kids might not enjoy the same titles and privileges as legitimate children, particularly if they are born in secret.

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Delphine Boël, 52, is a sculptor who fought a lengthy court battle to be recognized as a princess for being the daughter of the former king of Belgium with Sibylle de Selys Longchamps, with whom he had a secret affair for 20 years.

In the lawsuit, Delphine claimed that she even met her father, former King Albert II, when she was young, but the king vehemently denied that he’s her father. He even refused to submit to a DNA paternity test when ordered to do so by the Brussels Court of Appeals in October 2018.

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It was only last May that the king finally agreed to the paternity test after the court ruled that the former king would face a daily fine of €5,000 ($5,600) until he took the test. The DNA test results came out positive – and the king finally acknowledged Delphine publicly after years of denial.

As princess, Delphine Boël earns the new name of Delphine Saxe-Cobourg and will receive all the royal titles and privileges that come with her status. Her children will also become royals, earning the titles of princes and princesses.

A judicial victory will never replace a father’s love, but it does offer a sense of justice, which is further strengthened by the fact that many more children who have gone through similar ordeals may be able to find the strength to face them,” lawyer Yves-Henri Leleu said.

She is delighted with this court decision which puts an end to a long procedure which is particularly painful for her and her family.

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Who is Albert II?

Albert II was the former king of Belgium who ascended to the throne in 1993. He is married to Paola Ruffo di Calabria, later Queen Paola of Belgium.

At age 79, he abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Philippe, in 2013. The scandal over his illegitimate child has been circulating since the 1990s, though he kept denying it until the results of the DNA paternity test were revealed.