Delphine Boël

Delphine Boël bigraphy, stories - sculptor

Delphine Boël : biography

22 February 1968 –

Delphine Michèle Anne Marie Ghislaine Boël (born on 22 February 1968) is a Belgian artist who makes multi-media artworks. She is alleged to be the illegitimate daughter of King Albert II. She belongs to the Belgian nobility as ‘Ecuyère’ (in Dutch: Jonkvrouw), of which the English equivalent could be ‘Esquire’.


She is the daughter of Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps (born in 1941), whose husband was Jacques Boël (born in 1929), scion of a family of industrialists. They divorced in 1978 and her mother married again in 1982 with the Honorable Michael-Anthony Rathmore Cayzer (of the Barons Rotherwick of Tylney) (1929–1990). Mother and daughter moved to London and to the large estate of the new husband, in Rotherwick. Jacques Boël remarried in 2001 with the divorcee Diane de Woot de Trixhe de Jannée (born in 1943).

Boël attended an international boarding school in Switzerland and studied at the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London, where she obtained a B.A. fine arts in 1990.

Boël and her Irish-American partner, James O’Hare, have a daughter, Joséphine (born on 17 October 2003),van de Pas, Leo and a son, Oscar (born on 28 April 2008).

Paternity allegations

On 19 October 1999, an 18-year-old Flemish schoolboy, , published his unauthorised biography of Queen Paola, Paola, van ‘la dolce vita’ tot koningin (Paola, from ‘la dolce vita’ to Queen). The book contained a statement referring to the existence of a daughter born out of wedlock to King Albert. The Belgian press seized upon this statement and made investigations into the identity of this daughter, tracing Delphine Boël. At first, both Boël and her mother refused to comment on the matter, and the Palace dismissed Danneels’ book as gossip and rumours.

The main element considered by the Belgian press as acknowledgment that Boël is the King’s daughter is a short extract from the King’s 1999 Christmas speech:

This Christmas feast is also the occasion for each of us to think to one’s own family, to one’s happy periods but also to one’s difficult moments. The Queen and I have remembered very happy periods but also the crisis that our couple have experienced more than 30 years ago. Together we could, very longtime ago already, surpass those difficulties and find back a deep understanding and love. This period have been recalled to us short ago. We don’t wish to dwell ("nous appesantir" in French) on that subject which belongs to our private lives. But, if certain people who meet today similar problems could get some reasons to hope from our lived experience, we would be so happy. The press interpret this to refer to the King’s affair with Sybille de Sélys Longchamps.

Boël gave an interview on 15 May 2005, to the France 3 presenter in the broadcast "On ne peut pas plaire à tout le monde" in which she said that she is indeed the daughter of the King. She said she made a telephone call to King Albert II in order to receive help for her mother who was being harassed by journalists. According to her statement, the King replied "Leave me alone with that story. You are not my daughter." which she said was hurtful. She said she felt the absence of contact from him, especially since she is a mother herself. In the same interview, she alleged that when she and her mother moved to England when she was 9, the then Prince Albert wished to divorce Princess Paola and join them. Her mother apparently opposed this because of the political consequences for Prince Albert. Boël added that her "parents" kept in touch by telephone for some years, but that this stopped some time before she was 16 (1984). She said her mother told her "the truth" about her parentage when she turned 18, in 1986.

In June 2013, Boël summoned the King and two of his children, the Duke of Brabant and the Archduchess of Austria-Este, to appear in court. She hopes to use DNA tests to prove that she is the King’s daughter. As the King enjoys complete immunity under the law, Boël decided to summon the Duke and Archduchess as well.