King Albert responds to paternity allegations

The Belgian artist Delphine Boël has dropped her court action against King Filip, Princess Astrid and her father Jacques Boël. Ms Boël intends to start new court action next week in which she will press for King Albert and her father Jacques Boël to release DNA evidence. The artist is eager to establish that King Albert is her natural father and not Jacques Boël.

Last June Delphine Boël initiated court action against the then Prince Filip, Princess Astrid and King Albert with a view to obtaining DNA evidence to establish her true parentage. At the time King Albert was still Belgium's head of state and as such enjoyed immunity from court action. This is why a court official then received a subpoena in his stead. Now that Prince Filip has become King Filip and King Albert is no longer head of state the legal situation has changed.

Delphine Boël's lawyer Alain De Jonge: "The abdication has changed matters. We no longer need to subpoena King Filip or Princess Astrid. We can take King Albert and Jacques Boël to court. This will happen next week."

The royal family's lawyer Guy Hiernaux has welcomed the change of heart: "The new procedure enjoys the benefit of clarity as only two people are targeted. For Ms Boël it will remain hard to prove. She will have to show that Jacques Boël is not her father before she can prove that King Albert is."

King Albert has responded to the court action undertaken by Delphine Boël for a first time. Speaking via his lawyer Guy Hiernaux the king says that he refuses to be considered Delphine's father.

Delphine Boël's lawyer Alain De Jonge believes that there is sufficient evidence to prove the contrary.

The king's lawyer begs to differ: "When I see the reports and declarations of Ms Selys de Longchamps (Delphine Boël's mother), then I cannot see any evidence that Delphine is King Albert's daughter. We see photographs, but no proof that he is her father."