Belgium’s former king agrees to DNA test to settle decades-long paternity feud

Belgium’s former King Albert II has agreed to a DNA test Credit: Frederic Sierakowski/Pool Photo via AP, File

Belgium’s former king has agreed to a DNA test demanded by a woman who claims to be his daughter.

The test could be a decisive breakthrough in the case that has followed King Albert II, 84, for decades.

Albert, who abdicated in 2013 for health reasons, had been facing a daily fine of 5,000 euro (£4,400) for failing to provide his DNA in the case brought by 51-year-old Delphine Boel.

The king publicly admitted to infidelity problems which almost ruined his marriage. Credit: AP

Ms Boel has been trying to establish paternity for years and her story has often made headlines. Albert has never publicly denied being her father but so far had refused to provide DNA.

A statement from Albert’s lawyer, delivered to the Belgian media, said after the former monarch had taken note of the judgment two weeks ago, which imposed the daily fine, he would submit to the test “out of respect to the judicial authorities”. It was made clear the move did not imply any admission of guilt.

Ms Boel’s lawyer, Yves-Henri Leleu, said she “reacted very positively, because with the DNA test, the biological evidence is now there”.

Delphine Boel claims to be the former king’s out of wedlock daughter Credit: AP Photo/Thierry Charlier, File

The lawyer for the former monarch said the DNA results would have to be sealed until later in the legal case.

Rumours about Albert and Ms Boel’s mother, the aristocratic wife of a well-heeled industrialist, had been around for years. But the news the king may have had a child with her broke out into the open when a biography of Albert’s wife, Queen Paola, was published in 1999.

Albert and his wife Paola Credit: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File

In his Christmas message to the nation that year, King Albert indirectly confessed to a past infidelity and said he and Queen Paola lived through a “crisis” in the late 1960s that almost wrecked their marriage but that “a long while ago” they overcame their marital problems.

Six years ago, Ms Boel, who has a striking resemblance to some members of the royal family, opened court proceedings to prove that Albert is her father.

An artist and sculptor, Ms Boel has always said that she brought the paternity case due to anger since she was being cold-shouldered by the royal family.