Belgian ex-king backs secret daughter’s royal welcome

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Belgian’s former king Albert II on Friday gave his blessing to his once-secret illegitimate daughter being welcomed into the royal family, saying he hoped for “better days” ahead.

The current King Philippe met his half-sister Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg for the first time last week, after a court ruled she was entitled to take her father’s family name and the title princess.

Philippe and Delphine said in a joint statement that the meeting was “warm” and Delphine would build a relationship with them “in a family framework”.

In a statement signed simply “Albert”, the current monarch’s father on Friday backed the move.

“I unreservedly endorse the communique that the King and Princess Delphine have published and I join in the spirit of this message,” he said.

“My wife and I are very happy with what has been achieved on the King’s initiative, the first steps towards better days for everyone and especially for Delphine.”