Sculptor seeks recognition as Belgian king's daughter

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Belgian sculptor Delphine Boel has gone to court to win official recognition as the natural daughter of Belgium's King Albert II, reports said Monday.

Boel, 45, has filed a suit requiring King Albert, his heir Prince Philippe and daughter Princesse Astrid to appear in a Brussels court, palace spokesman Bruno Neve de Mevergnies told AFP.

Another son, Laurent, was not mentioned in the suit.

The RTBF television station said Boel, who has a distinct likeness to Albert, was hoping to get the court to order a DNA test so as to establish her relationship with the king.

A court hearing has been set for June 25, according to the Belga news agency.

Boel carries the name of her legal father, Jacques Boel, who comes from a wealthy industrial family.

Her mother is Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps who, according to a 1999 book, had an affair with Albert in the 1960s before he became king.

After the book came out, King Albert appeared to acknowledge the facts when he remarked that his marriage had gone through "a crisis" some 30 years earlier.

The king went no further, however, and has since made no mention again of the crisis nor of Boel.

Albert, 79, was known to like the high life and be a lover of fast cars in his youth. In 1958, he married a noted beauty of the day, Italian aristocrat Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria.

The monarchy holds a key position in Belgium, a country sharply divided between its French- and Flemish-speaking halves and it regularly features in gossip magazines, not always in the most favourable light.

After a scandal over its finances, the government agreed earlier this month that the royal family would now have to pay taxes on its state allowances for the first time since Belgium declared independence in 1830.

© 2013 AFP

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