Sunday, September 21, 2014

Op-Ed: The Belgian Monarchy vs Delphine Boël (UPDATE)

She's ba-ck. That's right folks, Delphine Boël's battle to prove King Albert II of Belgium is her natural father continues. As I reported in July 2013, Miss Boël began legal proceedings to obtain DNA tests from Princess Astrid and then Prince Philippe (who is now King, and holds legal immunity from the situation). Anyway, before I get too far ahead of myself, allow me to explain some of the background of the situation and what this could potentially mean for the Belgian Royal Family:


The Background of the situation:

Years ago, King Albert & Queen Paola were separated for a while, but remained married. During this time, King Albert had an affair with Sybille, Baroness de Selys Longchamps, which allegedly produced the famed Belgian artist, Delphine Michèle Anne Marie Ghislaine Boël in February 1968.

While Boël and her mother remained in hiding for the majority of her life and she was raised as the legal daughter of Jacques Boël, it was first brought to the public’s attention in 1999, when an unauthorized biography of Queen Paola was published{Source}{Source}. The book contained statements of allegations that there was an existence of a daughter born out of wedlock to King Albert. When the Belgian press got a hold of this idea, the investigations on who she could be and rumors started. Eventually the Belgian press found Boël, and both the Palace and Boël denied the claims at the time. The main element that was considered to be an informal acknowledgement of her existence was during his 1999 Christmas speech, in which he said:
This Christmas feast is also the occasion for each of us to think of one’s own family, to one’s happy periods but also to one’s difficult moments. The Queen and I have remembered very happy periods, but also the crisis that our couple have experienced more than 30 years ago. Together, we could very, long time ago already, surpass those difficulties and find back a deep understanding and love. This period have been recalled to us short ago. We don’t wish to dwell ("nous appesantir" in French) on that subject which belongs to our private lives. But, if certain people who meet today similar problems could get some reasons to hope from our lived experience, we would be so happy.


In May 2005, Boël was interviewed by France 3, where she publicly claimed to be the King’s daughter. after this, she phoned the man she claimed was her biological father, to get some help for her mother who was being harassed by journalists. The king shrugged her off, claiming that he was not her father. Raised as the legal daughter of her mother’s second husband, She was told the truth about her paternal lineage by her mother when she turned 18 in 1986.

For years after this, she kept quiet. In January 2013, it was reported that her mother’s second husband and her legal father disinherited her from his family’s estimated €760m (£650m) fortune. It was then that she, with her mother’s support, made the decision to summon her alleged biological father and two half-siblings to submit to a DNA test{Source}. The Palace has confirmed that a summons was received by The King, Duke of Brabant & Archduchess of Austria-Este (Albert II, Philippe & Astrid). The road block for Boël is that per the Belgian constitution, the King has legal immunity, but his children do not get this privilege.

UPDATE:

With King Albert's abdication, it leaves him, his daughter Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent part of the situation, but legal immunity to King Philippe. Prince Laurent has recently released a statement that he has no interest in submitting a DNA test, and has refused to do so. There has been no public comment from anyone else in the family regarding this matter, and the only thing the Palace will say is that it is "a private matter".


WHAT THIS COULD MEAN FOR THE ROYAL FAMILY:
Pretty much that King Albert, Prince Phillippe, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent have a daughter and half-sister they never acknowledged. She nor her descendants can inherit the throne as they are considered illegitimate descendants of Leopold I, even if King Albert & Queen Paola divorce over this (a scenario in which I doubt), and he marries his illegitimate daughter's mother, she will still not be in line for the throne.

However, per the rules of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), she will inherit some of her father’s fortune at his death. As is a similar case with the children of Prince Albert II of Monaco.

My opinion:

Remains the same: She wants money, not acknowledgement. If she really wanted acknowledgement, she would've gone after him in 1986, when she found out the truth from her mother. Do I think she ever will get to know whatever the truth may be? Doubtful. Unless the courts force them, a scenario which I doubt, I doubt the Belgian Royal Family will ever submit to a DNA test

2 comments:

  1. Does anyone know what the result is of this court case? I thought a decision was supposed to decided last year.

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  2. Good question. I just looked it up to see if there was any recent news. The latest I could find was from September 2014, where they had gone to court over it, but the proceedings were sealed and done behind closed doors. This was from an article in The Daily Mail, which had WAY too many mistakes (like for example: the article claimed the aknowledgement would put her in line for the throne, which it wouldn't). Last I heard was that Prince Laurent (who was not originally named in the suit like then Prince Philippe-who now has legal immunity-and Princess Astrid were named) was under refusal to submit to a DNA test. And like I said above, I doubt the Belgian Royals will ever submit and if they do, I doubt we will see it.

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