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Belgian artist becomes princess following seven-year court battle

A Belgian artist has officially become a princess after winning a seven-year legal battle proving her to be the illegitimate child of former King Albert II.

The Brussels Court of Appeals ruled Delphine Boël be granted the title "Princess of Belgium" and take on her father's surname, Saxe-Coburg, after a DNA test proved the former monarch was her father, The Guardian reports.

Albert, 86, abdicated in favour of his son, Philippe, in 2013. 

The 52-year-old will now be called Delphine of Saxen-Coburg-Gotha, princess of Belgium. Her two children will also receive royal titles.

Boël's lawyers said she was "delighted" with the court's decision which "ends a long process which is particularly painful for her and her family".

"A legal victory will never replace the love of a father but offers a feeling of justice, further reinforced by the fact that many children who have gone through the same ordeals will find the strength to face them."

The court's decision came early, after previously being scheduled for October 29.