King Albert II of Belgium announced today during a televised address that he would vacate the throne in favor of his son, Crown Prince Phillipe, and right on the heels of a royal scandal — Albert allegedly has an illegitimate daughter, 45-year-old Delphine Boel (right), and she's fighting for legal recognition of her lineage. Boel wrote a tell-all book in 2008 about how she "suffers" from her situation, which, yeah, living life as a commoner when you could be a princess does sound pretty rough.
Boel summoned King Albert as well as his two legitimate children, Prince Phillipe and Princess Astrid, to a Brussels court in June. The speculation across the country is that Boel wants to order a DNA test. She probably won't have much luck, though, as Albert has sovereign immunity — even after abdication — and can't be compelled to appear in court. The palace has yet to make a statement about the case or any of Boel's claims.
In his statement to the populace today, Albert noted that it was time to "pass on the torch to the next generation," insisting that the 53-year-old Phillipe is "well prepared." And Albert's not the only royal to abdicate of late — Queen Beatrix in the neighboring Netherlands abdicated in favor of her son at the end of April, without any notable scandal. In Qatar, not so much.