October 20, 2020

Belgium’s new princess asks nothing of estranged family

An artist who won a legal battle to prove that Belgium’s former King Albert II is her father said on Monday she was not expecting anything from her new family, after a court last week made her a princess.

Delphine of Saxe-Cobourg was granted the title as a result of a court ruling on Oct. 1 after a DNA test showed the former monarch was her father, her lawyers said last week. She changed her surname from Boel to Saxe-Cobourg, her father’s family name.

“If I had done this for the title, the money, all that I would have lost,” she told reporters during her first news conference as a royal in Brussels. “I’m still going to be Delphine, I’m not going to be hanging out in the streets and say please call me princess.”

Delphine said she felt at peace and was relieved to have her life story made public. Albert, who abdicated six years ago in favour of his son Philippe, had long contested her claim.

The royal court has not commented on last week’s ruling although the former king had previously said he would not oppose court decisions that legally make Delphine his daughter.

However, she said her father and siblings, including King Philippe, refused to communicate with her. The lack of communication from her new family was hardest to understand for her and her two children, she said.

“I’m not expecting anything I’m just going to carry on with my work,” Delphine said. “However if suddenly they showed signs of life I would never turn my back to them.”

Before breaking into tears, she said people in similar situations should not feel ashamed and encouraged them to find their identity. “If someone wants to know their identity it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

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