On 6 February 1951, Princess Marie-Christine Daphné Astrid Elisabeth Léopoldine of Belgium as born at Laeken as the second child and eldest daughter of King Léopold III of the Belgians (1901-1983) and his second wife Mary Lilian Baels (1916-2002; created Princess de Réthy). As such, Marie-Christine (who sometimes goes by her middle name: Daphné) is the half-sister of King Albert II of the Belgians (b.1934) and the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg (1928-2005; née Belgium) and King Baudouin of the Belgians (1930-1993); these three were the children of Léopold III and his first wife Queen Astrid (1905-1935; née Sweden).

Since 1980, Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium has lived in the United States of America. She now is a resident of Sequim, Washington; the town has a population of less than 7,000 people. The princess resides there with her second husband, Jean-Paul Gourgues; the couple celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary on 28 September of this year.


The only member of Marie-Christine’s family to remain in contact with her is Princess Marie-Esmeralda (b.1956), Marie-Christine’s only full sister. In regards to her sister, Esmeralda has stated: “Marie-Christine does not want any more contact. Not with the family, not with the friends of the past. It is her choice. She says she has a new life. This situation has been going on for three or four years now. It makes me sad, but I respect her decision. I tried, but she really does not want anything else. I cannot force her. “

Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium and her first husband Paul Druker (1981)
Photograph (c) UPC

Marie-Christine has been estranged from the Belgian royal family for most of her adult life; the princess did not attend the funerals of her parents or of her brother Prince Alexandre (1942-2009). She had a difficult relationship with her mother, the Princess de Réthy, who was a rather strong character. In 1981, Princess Marie-Christine was very briefly married to Canadian Paul Druker (1937-2008). In 1989, the princess married her second husband Jean-Paul, a native of Bordeaux.

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