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Half century later, Belgian King Philippe meets half sister

BRUSSELS — It took more than half a century, but Belgian King Philippe has finally met his half sister.

BRUSSELS — It took more than half a century, but Belgian King Philippe has finally met his half sister.

After a few momentous weeks, during which a two-decade royal paternity scandal finally came to an end, the monarch finally met the newly-named Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg — until recently known as Delphine Boel.

“We met each other for the first time at the Castle of Laken. It was a warm encounter," the king and princess said of the meeting last Friday.

Last month, a Belgian court ruled in Princess Delphine's favour and officially recognized her as the daughter of former King Albert II, something the aging monarch had fought tooth and nail to avoid ever since the paternity allegations became public.

Rumours about Albert and Princess Delphine's mother, the aristocratic wife of a well-heeled industrialist, had been around for years but Albert's two children never met each other.

Despite the acrimonious legal battle with Philippe's father, the two seemed to get on well during a three-hour lunch.

“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," the two said in a joint statement, clearly showing how, as family, they felt each other's equals.

Princess Delphine, 52, is an artist known for her quirky, sometimes outrageous, statues. The king, 60, has painting as a hobby.

“This bond will further develop within the family setting," they said, signing off as “Philippe & Delphine" without any royal titles attached.

Princess Delphine had to go through a seven-year court battle to get family recognition, if not the love of a father who had always coldshouldered her.

King Albert decided in January to no longer fight a claim that he is Princess Delphine's father, after he finally agreed to have a DNA test and received the results.

Raf Casert, The Associated Press

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