De Croo says Princess Delphine does not hold 'official function' in response to letter

Princess Delphine of Belgium is not invited to certain royal ceremonies because she does not hold "an official function", prime minister Alexander De Croo said on Saturday after receiving a letter from Delphine that was subsequently leaked to the press.

Following a court case in 2020 to prove King Albert II was her father, Delphine and her children were granted royal titles and the right to bear the surname Van Saksen-Coburg. She is the daughter of Albert and Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, and the half-sister of King Philippe.

De Croo confirmed on Saturday, during a visit to Houston, USA, that he received the letter from Delphine, who said the government does not treat her the same way as Princess Astrid or Prince Laurent, the children of King Albert and Queen Paola. He said Delphine did not have an official function and is therefore not invited to events such as King's Day or the New Year's reception.

"It is very clear," said De Croo. "Individuals invited to those events have an official function in our country. Part of the royal family has an official function, and Princess Delphine does not."

Astrid and Laurent have official roles and, in that capacity, must be accountable to the government and parliament, added De Croo. Delphine is not obliged to do so.

Leaked letter

Marc Uyttendaele, Delphine's lawyer, said the letter should have remained confidential. "She regrets that, because it was never her intention to provoke a polemic," he said. "With good intentions and the intention to be discreet, she felt it necessary to clarify a difficult situation.”

Delphine is said to have been told that the difference in treatment is "justified by the fact that she does not receive a grant from the treasury, which she never asked for," says Uyttendaele. However, she believes that should not be a reason to not consider her a full member of the royal family.

The letter appears to have come in response to King's Day, which takes place annually on 15 November. Laurent and Astrid were present at official celebrations, but Delphine did not receive an invitation.



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