Following a DNA test proving paternity, the secret daughter of former King Albert II was given a royal title

By Stephanie Petit
July 22, 2021 01:45 PM
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Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg
Princess Delphine
| Credit: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty

Princess Delphine of Belgium has attended her first event as royalty.

The one-time secret daughter of former King Albert II attended a military parade in front of the Royal Palace on Wednesday as part of Belgium's National Day celebrations. Princess Delphine, 53, sported a funky outfit — a dress featuring geometric shapes with a matching hat and face mask, complete with green heels — as she took in the festivities alongside her husband, James O'Hare, and other family members.

Although Delphine has attended private functions before, the parade marks her first time attending a public event as a princess.

Following a seven-year legal battle, a DNA test taken in January 2020 confirmed that Delphine is the daughter of King Albert II. Although Delphine's mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, was not married to the former king, a court in Brussels ruled that Delphine has the same legal rights as his other children, including a royal title.

Belgium Royal Family
Princess Delphine
| Credit: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Princess Delphine — known previously as Delphine Boël — met with her father for the first time in October 2020, meeting with the king and his wife at their home in Laeken, Belgium.

In a joint release from the Belgian palace, the trio described the meeting as "a new chapter, rich in emotions, peace of mind, understanding and hope," reported De Standaard.

"During our meeting at Belvédère Castle, each of us was able to express our feelings and experiences in serenity and empathy," Albert, Paola and Delphine added.

"After the turmoil, suffering, and injury, it is time for forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation. Together we have decided to take this new path. This will take patience and effort, but we are determined. These are the first steps on a path that we will walk in peace."

Belgium Royal Family
Princess Delphine
| Credit: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty

Stories concerning a Belgian royal love child circulated for decades before becoming public with the release of a 1999 biography of Prince Albert's Italian-born wife, Queen Paola.

The couple married in 1956 and had three children, including current King Phillipe, while Delphine, a Belgian artist and noblewoman, was born in 1968.

She first came forward with her claim in 2005, adding that Albert had privately acknowledged her when she was a young child and been very supportive.

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
Princess Elisabeth
| Credit: Laurie Dieffembacq - Royal Belgium Pool/Getty

Wednesday's celebrations also included a sweet moment for future queen Princess Elisabeth. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde watched proudly as their eldest daughter took part in her first military parade on Belgium's National Day.

The 19-year-old heir, who is about to complete her first year of military training at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, marched in uniform alongside other cadets.

Belgium Royal Family
Queen Mathilde and King Phillippe
| Credit: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty

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"These 18 years have been filled with many rewarding moments that have made me the person I am today," Princess Elisabeth said in a speech to mark her 18th birthday in October 2019. "[It is] a step that I take with great optimism. I realize that I still have a lot to learn. I will also focus on that in the coming years: trying to understand the world better — and helping to improve it, by giving the best of myself."

She continued, "The country can count on me."