Secret princess finally meets King after legal fight to prove she’s his daughter

A once secret Princess of Belgium has met with her father King Albert and his wife for first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter.

King Albert II’s daughter Delphine Boël, 52, now has the same rights and titles as his other royal children.

The surprise ruling ends a seven-year battle to prove her biological links to the King, who abdicated six years ago in favour of his son Philippe.

Delphine now has the title Princess of Belgium and will take her father’s surname, Saxe-Cobourg.

An image released today shows meeting for the first time as Princess Delphine sits socially-distanced from her father and his wife Queen Paola in their home Castle Belvédère in Laeken on Sunday.

The meeting was described by the palace as a time of “forgiveness, healing and reconciliation”.

Princess Delphine’s two children, Josephine and Oscar, will also receive royal titles and the right to be referred to as his or her royal highness.

Speaking after the ruling, her lawyer said: “A legal victory will never replace the love of a father, but does offer a sense of justice, further reinforced by the fact that many children who have gone through the same ordeal will find strength to face them there.”

Speaking when the DNA result was confirmed, Boel, who is now 15th in line to the throne, said that she just wants recognition that the former king is her father rather than any money.

he is younger than Albert’s three children with Queen Paola, his Italian wife.

Next in line to the throne is 17-year-old Princess Elisabeth, daughter of Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

Boel’s identity became a topic of public debate after publication in 1999 of a biography of Paola which alleged that Albert had a long extramarital relationship from which a daughter was born in the 1960s.

Mail Online reports that Boel is believed to be the result of an 18-year affair between Albert and the Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

The relationship between her mum and dad is thought to have started in 1966, when Albert was married to Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, but not yet king.

Boel was born in 1968 and her parents’ affair is thought to have ended in 1984.

The 51-year-old first said the monarch was her father in 1999.

In 2005, she claimed Albert told her ‘you are not my daughter’.

Her claim meant she and her mother were put on a ‘high risk’ list by banks and some of their family’s accounts were reportedly closed.

Her 11-year-old son was also put on the register, restricting his access to finances.

In 2013, she took her fight to the courts, resulting in Albert being told to hand over a DNA sample last year.

He faced being fined £4,238.31 for every day he failed to produce a sample.

The retired monarch handed one over shortly afterwards.