viernes, 5 de febrero de 2016

MercatorNet: Belgian artist fights to be recognised as king’s daughter

MercatorNet: Belgian artist fights to be recognised as king’s daughter

Belgian artist fights to be recognised as king’s daughter

Truth is more important than legal status.
Michael Cook | Feb 5 2016 | comment 

Delphine Boël  
Even when they are centuries old, royal paternity disputes are amongst the most absorbing of mysteries. DNA studies of the recently discovered bones of Richard III suggest that the entire Plantagenet dynasty may have been illegitimate.

During the 19th century hundreds of imposters claimed to be the Dauphin of  France, a son of Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette, who had allegedly escaped from his Republican captors. A DNA test in 2000 proved that this was false.

Similar rumours circulated about Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, the 17-year-old daughter of Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. She was said to have survived after her family was murdered by the Bolsheviks. At least ten women claimed her identity; Anna Anderson’s claim became the longest-running court case of 20th century Germany. It was finally disproved by a DNA test long after she died. The former Spanish king, Juan Carlos, recently fought off two paternity cases.

But the latest paternity suit might be more significant than any of these, as it could alter long-standing legal doctrines and change the line of succession to the throne of the Kingdom of Belgium.

This week a court in Brussels granted a London-based Belgian artist the right to seek legal recognition of her persistent claim that the former King, Albert II, is her real father.

Delphine Boël is the 47-year-old daughter of Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, who gave birth to her when she was married to Jacques Boël, a billionaire Belgian industrialist. It is alleged that the Baroness had an affair with Albert before he became king and that Delphine was their offspring. The rumours broke long after the couple had divorced.

This battle for recognition has been a running sore on the Belgian royal family’s image for years. In 2008 Delphine published a book, “Couper le cordon” (Cutting the umbilical cord) about her case with scathing allegations. She is intelligent, imaginative and determined. With two children of her own, she is even more determined to seek justice.

In Belgium, men cannot be forced to take a paternity test and Albert has declined. However, Jacques Boël did have one, which has proved that Delphine is not his daughter. Under Belgian law, his legal status as the father has to be revoked before another man’s can be proven. But this is not legally possible under current legislation. Such a request needs to be initiated before a child turns 22 or within a year of learning that a parent is not a biological parent.

All these deadlines lapsed long ago for Delphine Boël.

This week, however, Belgium’s constitutional court upended the privileges of paternity. It ruled that a child’s right to know his or her origins is more important than respecting existing family ties. This ruling could have far-reaching implications and -- not just for paternity disputes. It could have an impact upon fertility clinics. At the moment, the identity of their sperm donors is kept secret and children have no right to access information about their biological fathers.

The court acknowledged that children have a right to know their genetic heritage and that the heartache of not knowing one’s father can be psychologically damaging. Truth is more important than a settled legal status. The key sentences read:

“Even if a person were able to develop his personality without having certainty about the identity of his biological father, it must be admitted that the interest an individual can having to know his ancestry does not decrease with age, on the contrary…

“In legal proceedings to establish parentage, the right of everyone to the establishment of parentage must therefore prevail in principle over the interest of family harmony and the legal security of family ties.”
The lawyers are far from finished. With this decision, Delphine Boël has won the right to formally contest the paternity of Jacques Boël and to ask to have the paternity of Albert II recognised. Royal watchers say that King Philippe, Albert’s son, is in favour of his father acknowledging Delphine so that justice is done and so that the scandal will not cast a shadow over his own reign. The former king is said to be adamantly opposed.

Why is Delphine so insistent? Not for money, she says. She is independently wealthy. Not for the royal connection – she would become 15th in line to the throne, with as much chance of wearing a crown as you and I.

"Delphine LOVE CHILD"  
Perhaps the answer lies in her quirky sculptures. The works in her portfolio are obsessively, scarily, concerned with finding a true self, with titles like “I, Question”, “XOXO”, “You Can't Change the Truth...But the Truth Can Change You”, “Delphine LOVE CHILD”, “Identity is Golden”, and “F*** You I Exist”.

Why? To know who she is, that’s why. Without an answer, no question is more painful than that.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. 
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By default, I am largely ignorant of the world of Star Wars, but the enthusiasm of people with good taste leads me to think that I may one day set myself to watch the series. Meanwhile, I am happy to prepare myself (being something of a dunce at interpreting sci-fi) by reading articles like the one we have published today by Dr Jordan Ballor, a research fellow at the Acton Institute. It begins:

“You cannot deny the truth that is your family.” Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) speaks these prophetic lines to Kylo Ren, the master of the Knights of Ren and the main villain in the latest installment of the Star Wars film franchise, The Force Awakens. Ren’s violent response to Tekka’s words underscores the fundamental dynamic that appears throughout the films.
Interesting, don't you think?
Enjoy your weekend. It's a long one here in NZ with a holiday on Monday commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. It's our national day, but never without a bit of controversy -- this time our government's signing (and hosting of same) of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Maori in particular see it as undermining Treaty rights and there have been very noisy protests here this week. Perhaps they are correct, but then it is hard for a nation of less than 5 million people at the bottom of the world to live in the style to which we aspire without doing trade deals with more populous countries. Of course the TPP has to be ratified by 12 countries yet, so we won't hold our breath.

Carolyn Moynihan 

Deputy Editor, 


The Family and the Force

Jordan J. Ballor | FEATURES | 5 February 2016
The Star Wars narrative invokes dynamics of familial love.

Belgian artist fights to be recognised as king’s daughter

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Truth is more important than legal status.

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