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Belgium's Princess Delphine shares first public hug with father King Albert

Delphine Boël was granted her royal title in 2020

albert delphine
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
17 February 2023
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Former Belgian King Albert II, 88, was spotted embracing his daughter, Princess Delphine, 54, for the first time publicly since she was granted her royal title in 2020.

The exchange between the pair was captured by royal journalist Wim Dehandschutter as the Belgian royals attended the annual mass in memory of deceased members of the royal family at the Notre-Dame de Laeken church in Brussels on Friday.

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Princess Delphine was also spotted embracing her half-brother, King Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde, as she arrived at the service with her husband, James O'Hare.

Artist Delphine Boël was granted the title of Princess of Belgium in October 2020 following a court battle. She was born from Albert's 18-year-long affair with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps. 

Princess Delphine and King Philippe© Photo: Rex

Princess Delphine greets her half-brother, King Philippe

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 2020, but he had fought the paternity claim by Delphine for more than a decade.

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Queen Paolo, King Albert and Princess Delphine in 2020© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Delphine's meeting with Queen Paolo and father Albert in 2020

Shortly after being granted her royal title, Delphine met her father and Queen Paola, at Belvédère Castle in Brussels.

Delphine and her husband, James, share two children, who have also been granted royal titles, Princess Josephine and Prince Oscar. However, neither Delphine or her children are in the line of succession to the Belgian throne. 

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Albert abdicated from the Belgian throne in 2013 for health reasons. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Philippe.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde share four children – Princess Elisabeth, 21, Prince Gabriel, 19, Prince Emmanuel, 17, and Princess Eleonore, 14.

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