Woman Summons Belgian King to Legal Equivalent of Maury Povich Show

Reuters reports that a Belgian woman by the name of Delphine Boel has summoned to court several members of the Belgian royal family in a suit to prove that King Albert II is her biological father.

Belgium is one of several European countries that adorably maintains a ceremonial monarchy alongside its democratic government, presumably for an easy answer to the question “Whose face should we put on the money?” But vestigial monarchies come with a price to pay: the inevitable random bastards and bastardettes emerging as pretenders to the throne, mopping up tabloid coverage in the dry spells between royal weddings (the second main justification for continued monarchies).

Reuters says the Belgian press first began covering Ms. Boel’s claim to royal heritage in the late 1990s, suspiciously around the time of the 1997 release of Don Bluth’s animated musical Anastasia. Some speculate the re-emergence of this case is meant to jump start flagging BluRay sales of the sub-Disney animated feature. This reporter certainly will have “Journey to the Past” stuck in her head for the next few days.

But unlike Anastasia, Ms. Boel is claiming to belong to a royal family of which there are many surviving members. Unfortunately for Ms. Boel, the King cannot be compelled to appear in court under Belgian law. Crown Prince Phillip and Princess Astrid also were summoned and may be forced to testify, but do not offer as much support to Ms. Boel’s case. She will have to more heavily rely on the argument that no commoner would have a name as ostentatious as “Delphine.”

Should Ms. Boel’s current legal efforts to prove her royal lineage fail, the obvious next step is for her to turn the paternity scandal on its ear by inviting Jean Claude Van Damme over for waffles, chocolate, and high-ABV Belgian ale.

(photo: “fashion little princess girl pink teddy bear crown and heart shape glasses” via Shutterstock)

Robin Hitchcock is an American writer living in Cape Town, South Africa. She is an inactive member of the bar which makes her much less bitter than working lawyers. Robin writes sketch comedy for the Pittsburgh-based all-female troupe Frankly Scarlett and performs improv comedy with Cape Town's The Long Shots. Robin is also a staff writer for the feminist media criticism site Bitch Flicks. You can find more of her writing at her blog, tumblr, and Twitter.

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