By Marine Strauss
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian artist who has fought a seven-year legal battle to prove that Belgium's former King Albert II is her father secured a literally crowning success in court on Thursday when she officially became a princess.
Belgium's appeals court granted Delphine Boel the title "Princess of Belgium" after the former monarch's DNA test proved that he was her father, Boel's lawyers said in a statement, adding Boel was "fully satisfied" with the ruling.
The DNA test revealed in January that Albert II is the biological father of Boel, putting an end to Boel's long-running paternity claim.
Albert, who abdicated six years ago in favour of his son Philippe, had long contested Boel's claim.
As well as being recognised as a princess, Boel will change her surname to her father's, Saxe-Cobourg. Her two children Josephine and Oscar will also receive royal titles and the right to be referred to as his or her royal highness.
"A legal victory will never replace the love of a father, but does offer a sense of justice, further reinforced by the fact that many children who have gone through the same ordeal will find strength to face them there," Boel's lawyers said.
The court's sudden ruling came as a surprise. Its decision had been scheduled for Oct. 29.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; editing by Philip Blenkinsop, William Maclean)