Belgium’s former king Albert finally meets daughter Delphine

The ex-monarch fathered his daughter out of wedlock more than 50 years ago.

Belgium’s former king Albert finally meets daughter Delphine

A long-running royal scandal which riveted Belgians as much as it damaged those involved reached a new milestone when former King Albert II reunited with the daughter he fathered out of wedlock more than half a century ago.

Capping a momentous few weeks, Albert II was pictured sitting in between his wife Queen Paola and the former Delphine Boel, who is now recognised as Her Royal Highness Princess Delphine following a bitter two-decade paternity fight.

“After the tumult, the suffering and the hurt, it is time for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation,” the three said in a joint statement issued by the Royal Palace on Tuesday, two days after the meeting.

“Together, we decided to take this new path. It will require patience and effort, but we are determined,” they said.

Princess Delphine
Delphine Boel now has an official royal title (AP)

Princess Delphine, 52, is an artist known for her quirky, sometimes outrageous, statues.

Eighty-six-year-old Albert II was king until 2013.

The gathering on Sunday was soon followed by a reportedly warm meeting with her half-brother, the reigning King Phillipe, at the palace.

Rumours about Albert and Princess Delphine’s mother, the aristocratic wife of a wealthy industrialist, had been circulating for years, but Albert long refused to recognise his daughter.

Paola and Albert II
Albert II and his wife Queen Paola (AP)

Sunday’s photo of the encounter showed the three sat in front of a fireplace with cookies, untouched, on the table.

All three sat apart, and while their smiles were not exuberant, it was a watershed moment for Belgium’s royal house.

“During our encounter at the Belvedere Castle, each of us, with empathy and in serenity, was able to express their feelings and experiences,” the statement said.

“A new chapter had opened, rich in emotions, peace of mind, understanding and hope.”

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