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King Albert II's illegitimate daughter granted princess title

The former king lost a court battle

Aisha Nozari

Delphine Boël, the love child of former Belgian King Albert II, has been granted the title of Princess of Belgium following a court battle.

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Brussels has ruled that Delphine can now bear the same surname as her father, Saxe-Cobourg.

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Delphine was born from Albert's 18-year-long affair with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps. 

Rumours that he had fathered a child with another woman first emerged back in 1999, after claims were disclosed in an unauthorised biography about Albert's wife, Queen Paola.

King Albert admitted that he is the father of an illegitimate daughter in January.

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Delphine Boël at court 

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King Albert, 85, fought the paternity claim by 51-year-old artist Delphine for more than a decade.

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King Albert II acknowledged Delphine was his daughter in January 

In a statement released by his lawyers at the beginning of the year, Albert was said to have "learnt the results of the DNA test... [and] the scientific conclusions indicate that he is the biological father of Mrs Delphine Boël".

The lawyers added the royal had decided to halt the legal battle, which had dragged on since 2013, and he now "accepts Delphine Boël becomes his fourth child".

Ms Boël first publicly alleged that Albert was her biological father in a 2005 interview, but it was not until the king abdicated in 2013 that she opened court proceedings.

Her mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, has stated that she had an affair with the royal between 1966 and 1984, when he was still Prince Albert of Liege. 

Following his older brother’s death in 1993, Albert unexpectedly came to the throne. 

He remained monarch until July 2013, when he abdicated, citing ill health, and his son, King Phillipe took the throne. 

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