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Belgian king meets denied half-sister for first time

FILE PHOTO: Belgian artist Delphine Boel poses ahead of a news conference after she has been recognised as the daughter of Belgium's former King Albert II, officially becoming a princess, in Brussels, Belgium October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s King Philippe has met his half-sister Delphine for the first time after she won a years-long legal battle to prove that they have the same father, earning recognition as a princess.

The two met last Friday at the palace in the Brussels suburb of Laeken, the royal household said on Thursday.

“It was a warm meeting. We had the chance to get to know each other during a long and rich exchange where we spoke about our respective lives and our common interests,” the king and Delphine said in a joint statement.

“This bond will develop further within the family.”

Delphine, a Belgian artist, fought a seven-year legal battle to prove that former King Albert II, who abdicated in 2013, is her father. After a DNA test showed that the 86-year-old is, a court granted her the title of princess earlier this month.

She has since changed her surname from Boel to Saxe-Cobourg, her father’s family name.

Until then, she said her father and siblings, including King Philippe, had refused to communicate with her and she was not expecting anything from them.

“However if suddenly they showed signs of life I would never turn my back to them,” she told a news conference last week.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Emelia Sithole-Matarise