DNA tests show Belgian ex-king is father of artist, lawyer says

BRUSSELS, Jan 27 (Reuters) - DNA tests have revealed that Belgium's former King Albert II is the biological father of Belgian artist Delphine Boel, a lawyer for the retired monarch said on Monday, putting an end to a decade-long paternity claim.

Albert, who abdicated six years ago in favour of his son Philippe, had long contested Boel's claim. He gave a DNA sample in May after a Belgian court order.

The tests showed that he is Boel's biological father, a statement from Albert's lawyer said.

Boel has said that she just wants recognition that the former king is her father rather than any money. She is younger than Albert's three children with Queen Paola, his Italian wife.

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Next in line to the throne is 17-year-old Princess Elisabeth, daughter of Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

Boel's identity became a topic of public debate after publication in 1999 of a biography of Paola which alleged that Albert had a long extramarital relationship from which a daughter was born in the 1960s. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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