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Princess Delphine, the love child of Belgium's ex-monarch, finally meets half-brother King Philippe

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Princess Delphine and King Philippe met for the first time last Friday
Princess Delphine and King Philippe met for the first time last Friday   -   Copyright  Belgian Monarchy
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The love child of Belgium's former king has met her half brother — the current King Philippe — for the first time, according to Belgian officials.

Princess Delphine, who was formally Delphine Boël before being given her royal title, is said to have had a "warm encounter" with her half-sibling last Friday at the Palace of Laeken, the official residence of the royal family.

In a joint statement, the pair said they engaged in a "long and rich discussion" that gave them "the opportunity to learn to know each other".

"We talked about our respective lives and areas of shared interest," the statement continued.

"This bond will further develop within the family setting."

Gezamenlijke boodschap van de Koning en Prinses Delphine: Op vrijdag 9 oktober hebben wij elkaar voor de eerste maal...

Publiée par Belgische Monarchie Monarchie belge Belgian Monarchy sur Jeudi 15 octobre 2020

Posing alongside each other in a photo, the meeting marked a historic moment for the Belgian royal family, and a possible thawing of icy relations after seven years of legal battles to force former king Albert II to take a DNA test.

The test resulted in the 86-year-old — who abdicated the throne in 2013 due to poor health — admitting he fathered a love child during an extramarital affair in the late 1960s.

Delphine, an artist and sculptor who has changed her name to Delphine of Saxe Coburg to be in line with her royal siblings, reacted to the news with "relief and emotion" but also with "great pain" that she said was from lacking her father in her life.

Virginia Mayo/AP
Albert II (right) has previously said he suffered a marriage "crisis" with wife Paola (left) in the late 1960sVirginia Mayo/AP

Rumours of the princess's biological parentage had circulated long before battles in court had commenced as a 1999 biography of Albert's wife, Queen Paola, was published with reference to her husband's affair with Delphine's mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

In his Christmas message to the nation that year, Albert alluded to past infidelity by saying he and Paola had lived through a "crisis" in the late 1960s that almost wrecked their marriage.

He went on to assure it was a "long time ago" and that the couple had overcome their marital problems.

Until recently, Delphine's father and her siblings had avoided communication with their newly-confirmed family member, while she, herself, had said there were low expectations.

She told reporters last week: "If suddenly they showed signs of life, I would never turn my back to them."