Baroness Sybille De Selys Longchamps kept her peace for as long as her former lover Albert was King of the Belgians. When she agreed to be filmed and interviewed for a documentary she stipulated that it could not be broadcast till Albert's death or abdication, whichever would come first. The King abdicated on July 21 and the documentary will be shown in two instalments early September.
Albert's marriage to the beautiful Italian Princess Paola was on the rocks in the early sixties. The King admitted as much in his Christimas message in 1999, shortly after a young journalist had mentioned the existence of a 'love child' from Albert's twenty year long relation with Baroness Sybille De Selys Longchamps.
By then Albert and Paola who had already agreed to a divorce, as Sybille shows with the relevant documents in the film, were back together again. 'We are stronger than ever', Queen Paola said when the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The last thing Paola needed was to be reminded of the illigimate daugther of her husband.
Sybille has said before that Albert sacrificed contact with his daugther Delphine Böel, 45, to save his marriage with Paola. He broke off relations and told her to never call or contact again. It left Delphine devestated and near suicide the baroness says in the programme to be aired September 3 and 10 on Flemish Channel 4.
Albert and Paola, because of their marriage problems, never took properly care of their three children Philip (now King), Astrid and Laurent. 'Philip shows signs of autism', Sybille says, due to his upbringing. Family relations in the royal family are strained, between siblings and between the royal parents and their children.
'Whatever his flaws, he is already a much better father than Albert' a commentator observed the day Philip succeeded King Albert one month ago.
© RoyalBlog NL Hans Jacobs; Photo's by © Dutch Photo Press & Royal Press Europe