Princess Delphine of Belgium
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Princess Delphine of Belgium

Princess Delphine
Delphine Boël.jpg
Delphine and her daughter at her first book's signing in 2008
Born (1968-02-22) 22 February 1968 (age 52)
Uccle, Brussels, Belgium
PartnerJames O'Hare (since 2003)
Princess Joséphine
Prince Oscar
Full name
French: Delphine Michèle Anne Marie Ghislaine
Dutch: Delphine Michelle Anna Maria Gisela
FatherAlbert II of Belgium
MotherSybille de Selys Longchamps

Princess Delphine of Belgium (Delphine Michèle Anne Marie Ghislaine de Saxe-Cobourg; born 22 February 1968),[1][2] known previously as Jonkvrouw Delphine Boël, is a Belgian artist and member of the Belgian royal family. She is the natural daughter of King Albert II of Belgium with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, and the half-sister of King Philippe of Belgium. Before 1 October 2020, she belonged to the Belgian titled nobility and was legally Jonkvrouw Boël. On that date, she was elevated to the title of Princess of Belgium with the style "Her Royal Highness".[3]

Early life

Princess Delphine is the daughter of Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, whose first husband was a Belgian nobleman and industrialist Jonkheer Jacques Boël.[4] They divorced in 1978.[] Her biological father is King Albert II of Belgium.[5]

Delphine attended boarding school in England and Switzerland, and studied at the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts (with honours) in 1990.[6]

Paternity case

On 19 October 1999, an 18-year-old Flemish schoolboy,[7]Mario Danneels, published his unauthorized biography of Queen Paola, Paola, van 'la dolce vita' tot koningin (Paola, from 'la dolce vita' to Queen). The book contained a statement referring to the existence of a daughter born out of wedlock to King Albert. The Belgian press investigated, and traced Delphine. At first, both Boël and her mother refused to comment on the matter, and the palace dismissed Danneels' book as gossip and rumor.

The Belgian press interpreted a short passage the king's 1999 Christmas speech as acknowledgement that Delphine Boël was, in fact, his natural daughter:

Christmas is a time for each of us to think of our family, of the happy periods but also the difficult times. The Queen and I remember very happy times, but also the crisis that we experienced more than 30 years ago. Together we could, over a long time, overcome those difficulties and recover a deep understanding and love for each other. This period was recalled to us recently. We don't wish to dwell on that subject which belongs to our private lives. But, if those who encounter similar difficulties today could get some encouragement from our own experiences, we would be very happy.

The press interpret this to refer to the king's 18-year-long relationship[8] with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

Boël gave an interview on 15 May 2005, to the France 3 presenter Marc-Olivier Fogiel in the broadcast "On ne peut pas plaire à tout le monde" (You Can't Please Everyone) in which she alleged for the first time that she was King Albert's daughter.[9] She claimed that when she and her mother moved to England, when she was 9, Albert (not yet king) wished to divorce his wife and join them. Her mother apparently opposed this because of the political consequences for Albert.[10] She said her mother told her the truth about her parentage when she became 17. In her upcoming interviews, Boël said she made a telephone call to Albert when she was 33 years old asking for help.[10] According to her statement, he replied "Never call me again. You are not my daughter," which she said was hurtful.[10] Boël added that her efforts to contact her father via telephone and sending letters or through friends and politicians failed.[10]

In June 2013, Boël summoned King Albert and his children Prince Philippe and Princess Astrid to appear in court. She hoped to use DNA tests to prove that she was the king's daughter. As king, Albert was immune under the law, and Delphine decided to summon her half-siblings too.[11][12] When the king abdicated on 21 July 2013 immunity ceased, and Boël relaunched proceedings against him. In March 2017, the court ruled that her claim was unfounded, and her lawyers said she would take the claim to appeal.[13]

On 5 November 2018, a court ruling was published which instructed Albert to submit to a DNA test to determine whether he was Boël's biological father. DNA testing is not obligatory in Belgium, but not submitting to it is considered evidence of paternity.[14] In January 2019, Albert appealed in cassation against the verdict, but on 16 May of the same year, the Brussels's Court of Appeals ordered the former king to pay a fine of 5000 Euros a day to Boël for every day he refused to take a DNA-test.[15][16][17]

On 27 January 2020, the DNA tests showed that King Albert II was the father of Delphine Boël.[18][19] In October 2020, she and her children were granted princely titles by the Belgian court of appeals. As she was born out of wedlock, Princess Delphine and her descendants are not in the line of succession to the Belgian throne.[20] They will also not receive any royal endowment, but her legal fees, which add up to EUR3.4m, will be covered by her father.[21]

She and her half-brother, King Philippe of Belgium, met on 9 October 2020 at the Palace of Laeken.[22][23] The next day, King Albert II reacted in a press release, rejoicing over the meeting and stating "My wife and I are very happy by the initiative of the King, presage of happier days for all and in particular for Delphine."[24][25]

On 25 October 2020, she was received at Belvédère Castle by her father and Queen Paola.[26]

Personal life

James O'Hare, an American of Irish descent, has been the partner of Delphine Boël since 2003.[27][28] The couple have two children, Princess Joséphine (born 17 October 2003) and Prince Oscar of Belgium (born 28 April 2008).[29][30]

Notable published works

  • Boël, Delphine (8 April 2008). Couper le cordon [Cut the Cord] (in French). Paris: Éditions Luc Pire. ISBN 9782507000684.
  • Boël, Delphine (17 February 2017). Never Give Up (in French). Brussels: Marque Belge. ISBN 9782390150121.

Titles and styles

Styles of
Princess Delphine of Belgium
Coat of arms of a Princess of Belgium.svg
Reference styleHer Royal Highness
Alternative styleMa'am

Delphine was styled as Jonkvrouw Delphine Boël until 1 October 2020, when the Belgian courts granted her and her children the titles of prince and princess of Belgium with the style of Royal Highness.[31]


Coat of arms of a Princess of Belgium.svg
As a Princess of Belgium and a descendant of King Leopold I, the Princess is entitled to use a coat of arms which was stipulated[clarification needed] in the Royal Decree of King Philippe in 2019.[32]
1 October 2020
Princely crown of Belgium
On a lozenge, sable, a lion rampant or, armed and langued gules (Belgium), on the shoulder an escutcheon barry of ten sable and or, a crancelin vert (Wettin), overall a bordure or.
Two lions guardant proper
French: L'union fait la force
Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht
German: Einigkeit macht stark
Other elements
The whole is placed on a mantle purpure with ermine lining, fringes and tassels or and ensigned with the Royal crown of Belgium.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Boël, Delphine. "Curriculum vitae of Delphine Boël Artist colourist painting, video". Delphine Boël. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "Delphine Boël: Belgium ex-king's love child wins royal titles". 1 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "King Albert II's Secret Daughter: How a Teenager Uncovered Belgium's Royal Scandal". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 6 February 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Privacy settings". Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ "Van Saksen-Coburg Delphine at Guy Pieters Gallery". Guy Pieters Gallery. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ "Lungescu, Oana 27 October 1999 Belgium's royal sex scandal BBC, retrieved 27 April 2010". BBC News. 27 October 1999. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ Higgins, Andrew (19 July 2013). "Belgium Is Also Awaiting Possible News of a New Royal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 27 January 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "Belgium ex-king's love child seeks royal rights and titles". BBC. 11 September 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d "The Secret Princess: King's love child in court battle for recognition". 60 Minutes Australia. YouTube. 11 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ Stroobants, Jean-Pierre (17 June 2013). "En Belgique, la fille adultérine d'Albert II exige une reconnaissance officielle". Le Monde. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2013.
  12. ^ Bacchi, Umberto (18 June 2013). "Belgium: King Albert's 'Disowned Natural Daughter' Delphine Boel Seeks Recognition in Court". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ mtm (27 March 2017). "Delphine Boël vangt bot bij rechter: koning Albert II is niet haar wettelijke vader". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ Schreuer, Milan (5 November 2018). "Former Belgian King Ordered to Give DNA for Paternity Test". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Dekkers, Laura Dekkers (Correspondent Europe) (16 May 2019). "BREAKING: King Albert of Belgium ordered to pay 5,000 euros per day in paternity case". Royal Central. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ T. B. T. "Brussels court rules former King Albert must pay daily EUR5,000 fine". The Brussels Times. Archived from the original on 16 May 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ News; World (9 February 2019). "Retired Belgian king refuses court-ordered paternity test, faces $7,500 daily fine | National Post". Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ mtm (27 January 2020). "Koning Albert II geeft toe dat hij biologische vader is van Delphine Boël". Het Laatste Nieuws (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ Boffey, Daniel (27 January 2020). "Belgium's King Albert II admits he fathered child in 1960s affair". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ See Art. 85 of the Belgian Constitution.
  21. ^ "Belgian King Philippe meets half-sister Princess Delphine for the first time". BBC. 16 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ "'Warm encounter': Belgium's King Philippe meets Princess Delphine". The Brussels Times. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ "Message commun de Sa Majesté le Roi et de Son Altesse Royale la Princesse Delphine". La Monarchie belge (in French). 15 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ Le Soir and La Libre Belgique"", 16th octobre 2020.
  25. ^ "Message de Sa Majesté le Roi Albert II". La Monarchie belge (in French). 16 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ "Message de Leurs Majestés le Roi Albert II et la Reine Paola et de Son Altesse Royale la Princesse Delphine". La Monarchie belge (in French). 27 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  27. ^ "Belgium - In Royal Circles". CBS News. Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ François, Anne (9 August 2020). "Delphine Boël s'exprime pour la première fois après le procès : "J'étais la honte, le linge sale du Roi"". (in French). Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  29. ^ "Delphine Boël s'exprime pour la première fois après le procès : "J'étais la honte, le linge sale du Roi"". 9 August 2019. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  30. ^ Riou, Par Thilda (28 January 2020). "Belgique : l'ex-roi Albert II reconnaît sa fille Delphine Boël, née hors-mariage". Marie Claire (in French). Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ Boffey, Daniel (1 October 2020). Written at Brussels. "Delphine Boël, Belgian king's daughter wins right to call herself princess". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  32. ^ Philippe, Koning der Belgen (12 July 2019). "Koninklijk besluit houdende vaststelling van het wapen van het Koninklijk Huis en van zijn leden" (PDF). Moniteur Belge/ Belgisch Staatsblad. Retrieved 2019.

External links

Media related to Princess Delphine of Belgium at Wikimedia Commons

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