Delphine Boel and Belgian King Albert II (Reuters)
A renowned Belgian artist has taken members of the country's royal family to court, claiming she is a natural daughter of King Albert II.
Delphine Boel, a 45-year-old sculptor, has summoned 79-year-old King Albert, his heir Prince Philippe, 53, and daughter Princess Astrid, 51, to appear before a Brussels court, hoping to prove her blue blood through a DNA test.
"The situation would be much easier if my father and I [were able to] meet normally," Boel told RTBF television. "I am totally disgusted, but I think blood can make miracles."
The Palace of Brussels has confirmed the three royal family members received the summons but Albert's younger child, 50-year-old Prince Laurent, was left out of the legal quarrel.
Boel is the legal daughter of Jacques Boel, the descendant of a wealthy industrial family, and Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.
Her legal father reportedly disinherited her from the family's estimated €760m (£650m) fortune in January this year, while her mother has backed her bid to win official recognition.
"He [Albert] says the royal family should always set a good example. Is he setting it by disowning his daughter?" Baroness Sybille asked Le Soir newspaper earlier this year.
The first reports of Boel's blood relation to the King appeared in a 1999 book that claimed Baroness Sybille and Albert had an affair in the 1960s, before he was made king.
Albert reportedly acknowledged his marriage with Italian aristocrat Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria went through a period of crisis some decades ago but has never admitted having any extra-marital children.
In her 2008 memoire book entitled Couper le Cordon (Cut the Cord), Boel claims Albert once told her to stop bothering him.
"You must stop calling me, I don't want to hear about this story anymore and besides that you're not my daughter!" Albert was quoted as saying.
In his youth, Albert was famous for loving fast cars and living the high life.
Boel is not likely to get a DNA sample from Albert as, under the Belgian constitution, the King benefits from complete immunity and cannot be compelled either to appear in court or to do a blood test. However his children are not granted the same privileges.
A court hearing has been set for June 25.
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