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Former Belgian king submits DNA sample in paternity case

Lawsuit launched in 2013

(CNN) - The former king of Belgium, Albert II, has submitted a DNA sample in an ongoing paternity suit from a woman who claims to be his daughter.

The retired monarch, 84, has been fighting the paternity claim of Belgian artist Delphine Boël, who launched a lawsuit in 2013 to see the king recognized as her father. Boël claims the king had an affair with her mother, Sibylle de Selys Longchamps, resulting in her birth in 1968.

In May, a Belgian court ordered that Albert II must undergo a DNA test or face a daily fine of €5,000 ($5,600).

Albert II's lawyer said the former monarch had agreed to submit a sample, though he would continue to challenge the court ruling.

"After becoming aware of the judgment given by the Brussels Courts on the 16th of May, with the respect that he has toward the judiciary, HM King Albert decided to undergo the examination ordered by the Court of Appeal," the lawyer, Alain Berenboom, said in a statement to CNN.

Albert married Paola Ruffo di Calabria, later Queen Paola of Belgium, in 1959. He became king in 1993.

In 2013, at the age of 79, he abdicated the throne in favor of his son Philippe, citing concerns over his age and health.

That same year, Boël launched a legal case to see the former king recognized as her father.

In October of 2018, the Brussels Court of Appeal ruled in her favor and ordered Albert to submit to a DNA test. The appeals court then ruled that Albert must submit to a test by a court-appointed forensic expert or face a fine after he failed to undergo tests.

If Albert is proven to be her father, Boël would be entitled to go by the name of Delphine Van België, and, by royal decree, might also take the title of princess, CNN affiliate VTM Belgium reported.

The result of the DNA test will be kept confidential until a new judicial decision is made, the former king's lawyer confirmed.

Marc Uyttendaele, Boël's lawyer, told CNN his client was "glad" and "relieved" to hear of the decision, which would avoid having to "initiate verifications that would be painful for everyone."

"She did not doubt that Albert II would respect the court ruling concerning him," Uyttendaele said.


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