Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Belgian ex-monarch agrees to DNA test in paternity scandal


A decades-old royal paternity scandal is setting Belgium abuzz again.

Lawyers on Tuesday said that former Belgian king Albert II, 84, has finally agreed to a DNA test demanded by a woman who claims to be his daughter in what could be a decisive breakthrough in the long-running case.

By the evening, news of the former king’s acquiescence had already pushed Sunday’s Belgium election results with their extreme-right gains into second place on the local news.

Albert, who abdicated in 2013 for health reasons, had been facing a daily fine of 5,000 euros (US$5,600) for failing to provide his DNA in the case brought by 51-year-old Delphine Boel.

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 that after the former monarch had taken note of the judgement 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 that the move did not imply any admission of guilt.

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

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

In his Christmas message to the nation that year, Albert indirectly confessed to a past infidelity, and said he and 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 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, 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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