The Belgian royal family had a historic moment this week when former King Albert II and his wife, Queen Paola, met with his daughter, Princess Delphine, for the very first time.
The meeting took place at Belvédère Castle in Brussels on Oct. 25 and was socially distanced because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A photo of the engagement was released by the Belgian Royal Palace. It captured the former king seated in the centre, with his 83-year-old wife on his right and his 52-year-old artist daughter on his left on a green sofa. The trio all looked into the camera and smiled.
According to HELLO! UK, the palace released a statement to go along with the image.
"This Sunday, October 25, a new chapter opened, imbued with emotions, appeasement, understanding and, also, hope," it read.
"Our meeting took place at the Château du Belvédère, a meeting during which each of us was able to express, calmly and with empathy, our feelings and our experiences.
"After the turmoil, the hurt and the suffering, comes the time for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. It is the path, patient and sometimes difficult, that we have decided to take resolutely together.
"These first steps open the way that it is now up to us to pursue peacefully."
The statement was signed by Albert, Paola and Delphine.
The moment came after a court battle in which Delphine was granted the title of princess, and the name of Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg. Delphine's mother is Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.
Members of the Belgian royal family, including (L-R) Prince Gabriel, Princess Elisabeth, Queen Mathilde, Princess Eleonore, Prince Emmanuel, Queen Paola, King Albert II and King Philippe during a visit to the Giant’s Tomb on June 28, 2020 in Bouillon. Photo: © Julien Warnand /Royal Belgium/Pool/Getty Images
There had been rumours dating back to about 1999 that Albert fathered a child with another woman. His children with wife Paola include the current King of Belgium, King Philippe, 60, Princess Astrid, 58, and Prince Laurent, 57.
In January, the 86-year-old officially acknowledged fathering Delphine after undergoing a paternity test. His legal team revealed King Albert had learned "the results of the DNA test... [and] the scientific conclusions indicate that he is the biological father of Mrs. Delphine Boël." Additionally, they stated he "accepts Delphine Boël becomes his fourth child."
The meeting of Albert, Paola and Delphine followed another big family milestone when King Philippe met with his half-sister. The Belgian Royal Palace shared a photo of the meeting on social media on Oct. 15. The siblings also released a joint statement.
"On Friday 9 October, we met each other for the first time at the Castle of Laken," it read. "It was a warm encounter. This long and rich discussion gave us the opportunity to learn to know each other. We talked about our respective lives and areas of shared interest. This bond will further develop within the family setting."
It was signed, "Philippe & Delphine."
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