There’s a new princess in town. Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg (yes, the same name as the British royal family’s) has visited her half-brother, Belgium’s King Philippe, for the first time. Princess Delphine recently won her long legal battle to be recognised as a member of the Belgian royal family.
King Albert II, Philippe and (as it turns out) Delphine’s father abdicated in 2013. He was forced to undergo DNA tests in 2019 after many years battling his daughter’s claim to membership of the family. The tests proved that Albert was indeed Delphine’s biological father. Delphine’s mother, Baroness Sibylle de Selys Longchamps had a long affair with the King. Delphine was born in 1968, not long after the affair had begun. The king’s extramarital relationship continued until 1984. Yet, he continued to deny his daughter from that relationship, keeping her secret throughout his twenty years on the throne and after his abdication, until a Belgian court ordered the DNA test.
Even after the DNA test results were known in January of this year, Albert’s lawyers said, “the scientific conclusions indicate that he is the biological father of Mrs Delphine Boel” adding that legal paternity does not equal being a true father. Through his lawyers, the king announced that he felt no connection to Delphine. Charming! Princess Delphine said that this announcement was “like a knife in the back”. Especially since she and the former king had been in contact until the king cut all connections with her when she was 33.
The court decided that Delphine must be admitted to the royal family, can use the Saxe-Cobourg name and use a royal title. She will also have inheritance rights. She received a warmer reception from her half-brother King Philippe when the pair had a meeting at the King’s residence.
“We had the chance to get to know each other during a long and rich exchange that allowed us to speak about our respective lives and our areas of common interest,” a joint statement from the palace said.