Take or pay: Belgian ex-king faces paternity fines

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian court has ordered the country's former king to pay 5,000 euros ($5,600) a day until he takes a DNA paternity test to resolve a long-running case brought by a woman who says she is his daughter.

A judicial source said the 84-year-old King Albert II must pay the sum to Belgian artist Delphine Boel, 50, for every day he now fails to heed a court order made last year to provide a sample. Albert, who abdicated six years ago in favor of his son Philippe, is challenging the ruling that he submit to testing.

The retired monarch has been fighting Boel's claim for over a decade. Court-ordered DNA tests have already proved that she is not the offspring of her legal father, Jacques Boel, scion of one of Belgium's richest industrial dynasties.

Her identity became a topic of public debate after the publication in 1999 of a biography of Queen Paola, Albert's Italian wife, which alleged that he had a long extra-marital relationship from which a daughter was born in the 1960s.

Albert, who has no formal public role, has acknowledged that he and Paola had marital difficulties. Their three children are all older than Boel. Next in line to the throne is 17-year-old Princess Elisabeth, daughter of Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

(Editing by Hugh Lawson)