Belgian ex-king Albert concedes claimant is his daughter

BRUSSELS (AP) — After years of court battles, Belgium’s former King Albert II is no longer fighting a claim that he is the father of artist and sculptor Delphine Boel, bringing a major breakthrough in the decades-old royal paternity scandal.

A statement delivered by his lawyers to Belgian media on Monday said that “scientific conclusions indicate that he is the biological father of Mrs. Delphine Boël.” It came after Albert II last year finally agreed to a DNA test.

The royal acknowledgement immediately dominated the evening newscasts across the nation. Boel had been trying to establish paternity for years, and Albert never publicly denied being her father but had long refused to provide DNA.

King Albert II, who abdicated in 2013 for health reasons, said Monday that even if there were judicial arguments left to pursue, legal paternity is not necessarily equal to biological fatherhood. He added that even if the case could be continued on procedural ground s, he decided not to do so “to end with dignity this painful procedure.”

Boel’s lawyer, Marc Uyttendaele, said on RTBF network that “her reaction was one of relief, emotion but also shows a wound that will not heal.”

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

In his Christmas message to the nation that year, King Albert alluded 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, Boel, who bears a striking resemblance to some members of the royal family, opened court proceedings to prove that Albert is her father.

Boel has always said that she brought the paternity case due to anger since she was being cold-shouldered by the royal family.

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