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Belgian king's secret daughter settles scores

world Updated: Apr 09, 2008 20:35 IST

AFP
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The long-secret daughter of Belgian King Albert II released a book on Wednesday entitled "

Cutting the Cord

", in which she settles scores with her father while promoting her career as an artist.

"What sort of father is it who does not live up to his responsibilities and who does not come to the aid of his daughter when she is harassed," wrote Delphine Boel, whose birth in 1968 was only revealed some three decades later.

Boel, who was born of a relationship between Albert when he was prince of Liege and Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, was thrown into the media spotlight in October 1999 after the release of a biography on Queen Paola.

She said in her book that the prince "often came to our house" but that she did not know at the time that the man she called "Papillon" - or Butterfly - was in fact her father.

Today, though, she holds no grudges. "You can't hate your own father," she told reporters.

But she said: "I would be lying if I said that I had not hoped for a situation like the one in Monaco," where the principality's own Prince Albert acknowledged his children born out of wedlock.

Under pressure from his older brother King Baudouin, Albert decided to keep his relationship a secret and it stayed that way until he was reconciled with Paola in the early 1980s and the affair ended.But her existence finally became known in Queen Paola's biography.

At the time, the palace "suggested that it would be desirable that I disappear, that I leave England," Boel - now 40 and pregnant with her second child - wrote of the home away from Belgium where she lived for many years.But while the king did suggest his marriage had gone through a troubled patch in the 1960s and seventies, he has never officially recognised her as his fourth child and has never appeared publicly at her side.

Boel's "illustrated autobiography", from the Luc Pire publishing house, was released to coincide with an exhibition of her art work, which consists mainly of papier mache sculptures, but also colourful paintings and collages.

It runs from April 13 to May 12 in Lathem-Saint-Martin, near Ghent, northwest Belgium.