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Perth North Beach shark attack: Teen surfer Sav Marafioti ‘thought he was going to die’

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perth north beach shark attack teen surfer sav marafioti thought he was going to die

A teen surfer has urged people to ‘tell your family you love them’ after having a close brush with death when he was dragged underwater by a shark. 

Year 12 student Sav Marafioti, 17, was attacked by a 1.5 metre bronze whaler shark at Toms Surf Break at Perth‘s North Beach at 10:45am on Sunday. 

Mr Marafioti was paddling on his board 25 metres from shore when he felt a tug on his leg rope, which he initially thought was seaweed. 

But after moving his leg, he felt something grabbing his leg rope and pulling him underwater, which is when he realised it was a shark attack. 

Year 12 student Sav Marafioti (pictured), 17, was attacked by a 1.5 metre bronze whaler shark at Toms Surf Break in Perth's North Beach at 10:45am on Sunday

Year 12 student Sav Marafioti (pictured), 17, was attacked by a 1.5 metre bronze whaler shark at Toms Surf Break in Perth's North Beach at 10:45am on Sunday

Year 12 student Sav Marafioti (pictured), 17, was attacked by a 1.5 metre bronze whaler shark at Toms Surf Break in Perth’s North Beach at 10:45am on Sunday

Speaking to Nine News, Mr Marafioti said he had initially mistaken the shark brushing against his leg as a piece of seaweed.

‘It (the shark has) grabbed my leg rope and started pulling down and my leg rope’s just started to stretch. I thought I was just going to die,’ he said.

‘I didn’t know what to do, I was stressing and screaming at everyone and everyone was paddling away from me. In the moment, you just think – I’m not going to come out of it alive unless I do something.’     

Thinking quickly, Mr Marafioti managed to unstrap his leash and ditch his board before swimming to a friend who paddled him back to the shore. 

Mr Marafioti (pictured) waxes his surfboard. He was paddling on his board 25 metres from shore when a whaler shark dragged him underwater by yanking his leg rope

Mr Marafioti (pictured) waxes his surfboard. He was paddling on his board 25 metres from shore when a whaler shark dragged him underwater by yanking his leg rope

Mr Marafioti (pictured) waxes his surfboard. He was paddling on his board 25 metres from shore when a whaler shark dragged him underwater by yanking his leg rope

Mr Marafioti was not injured in the attack but his leg rope was damaged after being bitten and pulled by the bronze whaler shark.  

Shark monitoring program Sharksmart has closed North Beach and issued a warning for Toms Surf Break and Hamersley Pool.   

Bronze whaler sharks are ‘potentially dangerous due to their large size and occurrence very close to shore’, according to Sharksmart.  

After his brush with death, the 17-year-old urged people to tell family and friends they love them in case they die. 

Thinking quickly, Mr Marafioti (pictured) managed to unstrap his leash and ditch his board before swimming to a friend who paddled him back to the shore

Thinking quickly, Mr Marafioti (pictured) managed to unstrap his leash and ditch his board before swimming to a friend who paddled him back to the shore

Thinking quickly, Mr Marafioti (pictured) managed to unstrap his leash and ditch his board before swimming to a friend who paddled him back to the shore

Toms Reef Break at North Beach in Perth. North Beach is currently closed to the public under advice from shark monitoring program Sharksmart

Toms Reef Break at North Beach in Perth. North Beach is currently closed to the public under advice from shark monitoring program Sharksmart

Toms Reef Break at North Beach in Perth. North Beach is currently closed to the public under advice from shark monitoring program Sharksmart

‘Everyone needs to just message your loved ones, message your friends, your family, tell everyone you love them. Just to make sure everything is okay if something does happen,’ Mr Marafioti said.  

Mr Marafioti also urged people to report shark sightings, especially since the nearby Scarborough beach has a partial outage of its Shark Monitoring Network. 

Two out of three monitors at Scarborough beach have been offline since September 24, according to Sharksmart. 

Further south at Cottlesoe Beach, up to three different great white sharks have been detected in the last week. 

Mr Marafioti was attacked by a bronze whaler shark (one pictured). Sharksmart say they are 'potentially dangerous due to their large size and occurrence very close to shore'

Mr Marafioti was attacked by a bronze whaler shark (one pictured). Sharksmart say they are 'potentially dangerous due to their large size and occurrence very close to shore'

Mr Marafioti was attacked by a bronze whaler shark (one pictured). Sharksmart say they are ‘potentially dangerous due to their large size and occurrence very close to shore’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Are these Britain’s pushiest parents? Mother-of-two says daughters, 8 and 3, ‘get nothing for free

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are these britains pushiest parents mother of two says daughters 8 and 3 get nothing for free

A couple who are happy to label themselves Britain’s pushiest parents say they’ll stop at nothing to see their kids succeed.

Sophie and Phil McGennity, from Preston, are determined their daughters Crystal, eight, and Hallie, three, will grow up to know the value of hard work and success, and have already given them both part-time jobs at the family-run trampoline park. 

Meanwhile the youngsters are both expected to earn their own pocket money by performing chores around the house, and have a packed schedule of activities every night of the week.

The mother-of-two said it is essential for the girls to ‘learn that nothing in the world is free’, explaining: ‘My dream is to see my to children excelling at whatever they choose to do. 

‘Participation is important, but ultimately I want them to win at life so they don’t have to worry about money or stability.’ 

Sophie and Phil McGennity, from Preston, are determined their daughters Crystal, eight, and Hallie, three, will grow up to know the value of hard work and success (pictured)

Sophie and Phil McGennity, from Preston, are determined their daughters Crystal, eight, and Hallie, three, will grow up to know the value of hard work and success (pictured)

Sophie and Phil McGennity, from Preston, are determined their daughters Crystal, eight, and Hallie, three, will grow up to know the value of hard work and success (pictured)

The youngsters are both expected to earn their own pocket money by performing chores around the house, and have a packed schedule of activities every night of the week (pictured, at the riding school)

The youngsters are both expected to earn their own pocket money by performing chores around the house, and have a packed schedule of activities every night of the week (pictured, at the riding school)

The youngsters are both expected to earn their own pocket money by performing chores around the house, and have a packed schedule of activities every night of the week (pictured, at the riding school)

The girls both work two evenings a week at their parents’ trampoline park once they’re home from school or nursery – where Sophie and Phil say they get a wonderful work ethic by seeing their parents grafting hard. 

Weekly schedule 

Monday – school then help in play area until 6pm

Tuesday – school then help in play area utnil 6pm / nursery

Wednesday – swimming for both

Thursday – Pony club and private riding lessons for Crystal

Friday – Pony club

Saturday- dancing for both then pony lessons

Sunday- pony club and private riding lesson for both

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After Crystal comes home from school and Hallie leaves nursery, they join their mum and dad at work until 6pm, where Crystal refills stock and cashes up the tills before being allowed to play – as well as helping her sister wipe down surfaces and sweep floors.

Crystal earns £10 for a full day’s work at the trampoline park – which Sophie believes teaches her the value of hard work.

Sophie said: ‘It’s important to us to make sure our children are successful. They need to learn that nothing in the world is free and to be successful you have to work hard every day.’ 

She added: ‘I understand why people call us pushy and we are, but it’s for a good reason that our kids understand. They don’t get anything for free, unless it’s their birthday and Christmas of course.

‘If making sure that our children get every opportunity we can offer them makes us pushy, then pushy is what we are.’ 

On Wednesday evenings, both girls have swimming and on Thursday and Friday, they have riding lessons and go to Pony Club with their shared pony – which they also feed, clean and muck out every day of the week.

On Saturday, they take a dance class in the morning and compete against other schools, before having another riding lesson on Saturday afternoon – before another riding lesson and helping at the Trampoline park on a Sunday. 

But while other parents have been horrified with the girls’ strict schedules, the couple say they’ve worked hard to give their children a life filled with excitement – and they want their daughters to appreciate and work for the luxuries they have.   

Sophie explained: ‘I have always worked hard, I was in just as many clubs when I was younger and started working as soon as I was old enough, Phil was the same.

The mother-of-two said while she thinks 'participation is important' she also 'ultimately wants her daughters to win'

The mother-of-two said while she thinks 'participation is important' she also 'ultimately wants her daughters to win'

The mother-of-two said while she thinks ‘participation is important’ she also ‘ultimately wants her daughters to win’

The children juggle schooling with their chores at home, daily evening activities and competitions, as well as their part-time jobs at the family business

The children juggle schooling with their chores at home, daily evening activities and competitions, as well as their part-time jobs at the family business

The children juggle schooling with their chores at home, daily evening activities and competitions, as well as their part-time jobs at the family business 

‘We learnt early on that to have a good life you have to earn it, and we’ve proved this. We have a mixture of successful businesses, but we have worked hard for everything we own.

‘For us it’s about teaching them that to get the things you want in life you have to put the work in, and they understand this totally.

‘We don’t force them to do anything, all we ask is that they complete whatever the first commitment was and if after they have done that they want to quit then they can.’ 

She explained: ‘We have been called too pushy before, but I just can’t agree or take it personally. We get negative comments from parents who won’t put the work in like we do.

‘Then they complain that their children are not doing enough or are lazy millennials, but a strong work ethic has to be taught from the start and that’s why our kids are so successful at such a young age.

One of Crystal and Hallie's main hobbies is at a local riding school, where they have a shared pony and feed, clean and muck out the animal every day of the week

One of Crystal and Hallie's main hobbies is at a local riding school, where they have a shared pony and feed, clean and muck out the animal every day of the week

One of Crystal and Hallie's main hobbies is at a local riding school, where they have a shared pony and feed, clean and muck out the animal every day of the week

One of Crystal and Hallie's main hobbies is at a local riding school, where they have a shared pony and feed, clean and muck out the animal every day of the week

One of Crystal and Hallie’s main hobbies is at a local riding school, where they have a shared pony and feed, clean and muck out the animal every day of the week

Crystal enjoys riding lessons at the local school several times a week,and often competes in competitions at the weekend

Crystal enjoys riding lessons at the local school several times a week,and often competes in competitions at the weekend

Crystal enjoys riding lessons at the local school several times a week,and often competes in competitions at the weekend 

‘It annoys me when people say they don’t have time to do the same as us, because the thing is that if you wanted to do something you would do it.

‘I push both children to learn and be the best they can be at whatever it is they are facing. 

Alongside the clubs, both girls have chores lists to complete at home – as well as the extra homework set for them by Sophie.

Sophie said: ‘They both are expected to make their own beds and open their blinds and put any washing into the washing machine.

‘Both children are encouraged to help with the dishwasher and tidy the house to keep it nice.

The youngsters balance their Pony Club duties with other chores, including helping out around the house, and their own part-time jobs at their parent's trampoline park

The youngsters balance their Pony Club duties with other chores, including helping out around the house, and their own part-time jobs at their parent's trampoline park

The youngsters balance their Pony Club duties with other chores, including helping out around the house, and their own part-time jobs at their parent's trampoline park

The youngsters balance their Pony Club duties with other chores, including helping out around the house, and their own part-time jobs at their parent's trampoline park

The youngsters balance their Pony Club duties with other chores, including helping out around the house, and their own part-time jobs at their parent’s trampoline park (pictured left, Crystal riding, and right, the sisters mucking out their horse) 

While little Hallie is just three-years-old, she is also expected to help out with her shared horse with older sister Crystal (pictured, at the riding stables)

While little Hallie is just three-years-old, she is also expected to help out with her shared horse with older sister Crystal (pictured, at the riding stables)

While little Hallie is just three-years-old, she is also expected to help out with her shared horse with older sister Crystal (pictured, at the riding stables) 

‘I ensure Crystal completes all her homework before any free time to ensure she is fully up to date, I am lucky she loves to learn and is definitely a bookworm.

‘Hallie is definitely more practical than Crystal was, but Hallie is doing well in nursery and following Crystal’s footsteps.’

Sophie said: ‘Crystal gets her homework weekly and now gets extra because she completes it on the day she receives it and then I respond back to school with it, usually the same day. 

Sophie said she and husband Phil are keen to instill a good work ethic in their daughters so that they understand that 'nothing comes for free'

Sophie said she and husband Phil are keen to instill a good work ethic in their daughters so that they understand that 'nothing comes for free'

Sophie said she and husband Phil are keen to instill a good work ethic in their daughters so that they understand that ‘nothing comes for free’ 

The mother-of-two insisted that she and Phil 'don't force their children to do anything' and would support the girls if they wanted to quit something

The mother-of-two insisted that she and Phil 'don't force their children to do anything' and would support the girls if they wanted to quit something

The mother-of-two insisted that she and Phil ‘don’t force their children to do anything’ and would support the girls if they wanted to quit something 

Sophie revealed her children do their homework on the same day it is set, and that daughter Crystal now receives 'extra homework' to complete

Sophie revealed her children do their homework on the same day it is set, and that daughter Crystal now receives 'extra homework' to complete

Sophie revealed her children do their homework on the same day it is set, and that daughter Crystal now receives ‘extra homework’ to complete 

‘Crystal has always been a high achiever in school and excels in most activities she is faced with.’

She added: ‘They are usually tired by the evening, so we don’t have to pester them to go to bed because they go themselves.’

Sophie’s biggest pet peeve is children who sit on games consoles all evening and says parents who allow their kids to sit on Fortnite all day are the same parents that call her pushy.

Sophie insisted that 'bookworm' Crystal complete any homework before being allowed 'any freetime' and now receives extra work from school

Sophie insisted that 'bookworm' Crystal complete any homework before being allowed 'any freetime' and now receives extra work from school

Sophie insisted that 'bookworm' Crystal complete any homework before being allowed 'any freetime' and now receives extra work from school

Sophie insisted that 'bookworm' Crystal complete any homework before being allowed 'any freetime' and now receives extra work from school

Sophie insisted that  ‘bookworm’ Crystal complete any homework before being allowed ‘any freetime’ and now receives extra work from school 

The mother-of-two said she pushes both of her children to 'learn' and 'be the best they can be' in life

The mother-of-two said she pushes both of her children to 'learn' and 'be the best they can be' in life

The mother-of-two said she pushes both of her children to ‘learn’ and ‘be the best they can be’ in life 

She said: ‘Don’t get me wrong, the children play out with their friends but they enjoy planned activities so they don’t need to play video games.

‘Lockdown probably makes it worse, children are likely to be at home turning into vegetables in front of the television.

‘My children get one hour a day on the computer and that’s it.’

She added: ‘It sounds bad to say but I think it’s down to lazy parenting. They can’t be bothered to get involved with their children so it’s easier to let them live in a video game fantasy rather than focussing on reality.’

Meanwhile Sophie revealed her children are only permitted one hour of screen-time each day (pictured, driving to an activity)

Meanwhile Sophie revealed her children are only permitted one hour of screen-time each day (pictured, driving to an activity)

Meanwhile Sophie revealed her children are only permitted one hour of screen-time each day (pictured, driving to an activity) 

The mother-of-two said her pushy attitude has helped her children develop confidence in their lives

The mother-of-two said her pushy attitude has helped her children develop confidence in their lives

The mother-of-two said her pushy attitude has helped her children develop confidence in their lives 

‘They are allowed to watch TV and play games, but I limit it to one hour a day as long as their school work is up to date.’

Sophie puts her children’s confidence down to the training they have had in working hard to get nice things, and the amount of commitments they keep up with.

She said: ‘Hallie will walk into any one of the businesses and automatically find a child to go and play with, she’s been in and around our trampoline park from 6 months old so she hasn’t known much else.

‘She is part of the furniture and people come and play and ask if Hallie is there for their little ones to play with.

Sophie said her children are now 'very used to their routine' and are 'happy' to just get on wit their commitments and chores

Sophie said her children are now 'very used to their routine' and are 'happy' to just get on wit their commitments and chores

Sophie said her children are now ‘very used to their routine’ and are ‘happy’ to just get on wit their commitments and chores

The mother-of-two insisted her children are happy with their additional responsibilities in life, and are rewarded if they keep up their commitments

The mother-of-two insisted her children are happy with their additional responsibilities in life, and are rewarded if they keep up their commitments

The mother-of-two insisted her children are happy with their additional responsibilities in life, and are rewarded if they keep up their commitments 

‘Crystal will work with the staff teams and will genuinely complete all jobs and tasks as an employee would before she heads off to play.

‘I think she sees it as a real-life fantasy because what child doesn’t want to use a till and handle money and serve slush all day to their friends – Crystal’s friends think she’s the coolest.

‘They are very used to their routine and how things are so they just get on with it all now.

‘I would never push them to do anything they are not happy to be doing. A happy child is the key to success, because they excel themselves with little pushing.

Meanwhile the mother-of-two said her daughters are 'the most confident children' she knows and said she was 'so proud' of them

Meanwhile the mother-of-two said her daughters are 'the most confident children' she knows and said she was 'so proud' of them

Meanwhile the mother-of-two said her daughters are ‘the most confident children’ she knows and said she was ‘so proud’ of them 

‘They don’t get spoilt, bribed or convinced, if they keep up with their commitments they are allowed to be rewarded.

‘That’s how it was for me and it worked for us, so why can’t it work for my children.’

She continued: ‘When you understand the reasons behind being so called ‘pushy’ I don’t get why every parent wouldn’t want to be pushy too.

‘My kids are the most confident children I know and that makes me so proud because I know that’s a result of the hard work they put it. 

‘When they walk into a room, they own it.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Belgium’s hidden princess sits beside former King Albert for first time

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belgiums hidden princess sits beside former king albert for first time

The once secret princess of Belgium has met former king Albert for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter.

A photograph released by the palace today shows Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg sitting smiling alongside Albert II and his wife Queen Paola in their home, Castle Belvédère, in Laeken on Sunday.

The meeting was described by the palace as a time of ‘forgiveness, healing and reconciliation’ after the lengthy court battle.

Princess Delphine, 52, was officially recognised as the love child of Belgium’s former king on October 1.

Delphine had revealed earlier this month she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and said at the time she ‘expects nothing more’.

Belgian princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg has met her former king father Albert II and his wife Queen Paola for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter

Belgian princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg has met her former king father Albert II and his wife Queen Paola for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter

Belgian princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg has met her former king father Albert II and his wife Queen Paola for the first time since her legal battle to be accepted as his daughter

A joint statement said: ‘On Sunday 25 October a new chapter, rich of emotion, peace of mind, understanding and hope was begun. 

‘During our meeting in Castle Belvédère each of us, in serenity and empathy, managed to express their feelings and experiences. 

‘After the uproar, the suffering and the injuries, it is now time for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. 

‘Together we have decided on this new path. This will take patience and effort, but we are determined. 

‘These are the first step in a path that we will walk in peace. Delphine, Paola and Albert.’ 

King Philippe of Belgium (right) has met his half-sister Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg Gotha (left) for the first time - after she was finally recognised as former king Albert II's daughter following a lengthy legal battle

King Philippe of Belgium (right) has met his half-sister Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg Gotha (left) for the first time - after she was finally recognised as former king Albert II's daughter following a lengthy legal battle

King Philippe of Belgium (right) has met his half-sister Princess Delphine de Saxe-Cobourg Gotha (left) for the first time – after she was finally recognised as former king Albert II’s daughter following a lengthy legal battle

In a joint statement shared to the Belgian royal family's Facebook page, Philippe and Delphine said: 'This extensive and special conversation gave us the opportunity to get to know each other'

In a joint statement shared to the Belgian royal family's Facebook page, Philippe and Delphine said: 'This extensive and special conversation gave us the opportunity to get to know each other'

In a joint statement shared to the Belgian royal family’s Facebook page, Philippe and Delphine said: ‘This extensive and special conversation gave us the opportunity to get to know each other’

It comes after the princess met her half-brother King Philippe for the first time earlier this month.

The monarch said it was a ‘warm meeting’ which took place at the Castle of Laeken on Friday October 9.

Artist Princess Delphine, 52, formerly known as Delphine Boël, is thought to be the result of an 18-year affair between the former monarch, 86, and Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps, 79, that began in the 1960s. 

In a joint statement shared to the Belgian royal family‘s Facebook page, Philippe, 60, and Delphine – who shared a photograph of them socially distanced – said: ‘This extensive and special conversation gave us the opportunity to get to know each other. 

‘We have spoken about our own lives and our common interests. This bond will develop further in family context.’

Their union was met with delight from royal fans, with many Belgians praising King Philippe for his ‘moving’ gesture.

One commented: ‘Great respect for King Filip for this deep human gesture to his half sister!! Beautiful!!’

‘Congratulations on this warm, human gesture!’ another wrote. ‘It truly is a strong signal. This is the attitude of an committed and confident Prince who also turns his social message into actions. An example. Congrats!’

And one gushed: ‘Fantastic! How good of the King! And what’s wrong with a nice new (half) sister? Exactly: nothing! Compliments.’ 

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34436784 8844271 image a 120 1602779030149

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34436782 8844271 image a 123 1602779036385

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34436780 8844271 image a 122 1602779034251

Philippe and Delphine's union was met with delight from royal fans, with many praising King Philippe for his 'moving' gesture

Philippe and Delphine's union was met with delight from royal fans, with many praising King Philippe for his 'moving' gesture

Philippe and Delphine’s union was met with delight from royal fans, with many praising King Philippe for his ‘moving’ gesture

Speaking after a court officially recognised her as the love child of Belgium’s former king on October 1, Delphine said her battle to be recognised as a royal was not about money or status.

She explained that her mother’s husband, wealthy industrialist and aristocrat Jacques Boel, is ‘much richer than the royal family’. 

Delphine also revealed she will not be using the ‘Her Royal Highness’ prefix, adding: ‘I just wanted to be the same as my brother and my sister.’   

She told Belgian radio show Matin Premiere: ‘I feel like I have a right to exist. Not to exist in the royal family but as me.

Delphine, 52, formerly known as Delphine Boël, is thought to be the result of an 18-year affair between the former monarch (pictured in February last year) and Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps that began in the 1960s

Delphine, 52, formerly known as Delphine Boël, is thought to be the result of an 18-year affair between the former monarch (pictured in February last year) and Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps that began in the 1960s

Delphine, 52, formerly known as Delphine Boël, is thought to be the result of an 18-year affair between the former monarch (pictured in February last year) and Belgian aristocrat Sybille de Selys Longchamps that began in the 1960s

‘My decision to call for help through the law, I feel today that it was the right thing to do… The judicial system said that I was right and that I had the right to exist.’

Speaking earlier this month, Delphine revealed she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and ‘expects nothing more’.

‘I tried to solve the problem behind the walls, in secret, for years,’ she added, but said Albert’s repeated denials forced her to go public.

Describing her life before the judgement, she called herself ‘a black sheep’ adding that her existence was ‘unpleasant and unlivable’.

She added that she now wants to go back to focusing on her art, while moving on from the scandal of her birth.

‘It is not [the child’s] fault, they do not ask to be born,’ she said. ‘The child who comes from a love affair outside of marriage should not be treated any differently.’

Delphine, pictured at a press conference in Brussels on October 5, a week after she won the legal battle to be confirmed as a princess, said her battle to be recognised as a royal was not about money or status

Delphine, pictured at a press conference in Brussels on October 5, a week after she won the legal battle to be confirmed as a princess, said her battle to be recognised as a royal was not about money or status

Delphine, pictured at a press conference in Brussels on October 5, a week after she won the legal battle to be confirmed as a princess, said her battle to be recognised as a royal was not about money or status

Speaking earlier this month, Delphine revealed she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and 'expects nothing more'. Pictured on October 5

Speaking earlier this month, Delphine revealed she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and 'expects nothing more'. Pictured on October 5

Speaking earlier this month, Delphine revealed she last spoke to Albert in 2001 and ‘expects nothing more’. Pictured on October 5

The alleged affair between Albert II and Sybille de Selys Longchamps is believed to have begun in 1966 when Albert was not yet king but was married to Italian aristocrat and later queen Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, whom he wed in 1959.

The couple lived apart for a large part of their early marriage, amid rumours that she disliked living in Belgium, finding it too cold and rainy.

Delphine was born in 1968, and the affair is thought to have ended in 1984.

Albert’s other children – Philippe, who assumed the throne after Albert’s abdication, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent – were born in 1960, 1962 and 1963 respectively.

Albert ascended the throne in 1993, following the death of his elder brother, King Baudouin, from heart failure.

Albert's admission comes after a court ruled that he has to submit to a DNA test and would fine him 5,000 euros for every day he refused to comply

Albert's admission comes after a court ruled that he has to submit to a DNA test and would fine him 5,000 euros for every day he refused to comply

Albert II, former King of Belgium, has admitted for the first time that 51-year-old artist is his love-child from an affair he is thought to have had in the 1960s

Albert II, former King of Belgium, has admitted for the first time that 51-year-old artist is his love-child from an affair he is thought to have had in the 1960s

Albert (left) confirmed in January that he was no longer contesting Delphine’s claim of paternity, after taking a DNA test (pictured right, her mother Sybille de Selys Longchamps)

Delphine – an aristocrat in her own right and an artist – first said in 1999 that she believes she is Albert’s child.

Her statement was made shortly after the publication of an unofficial biography of Queen Paola which alluded to an affair the King had which produced a lovechild.

Albert acknowledged problems with his marriage in his Christmas speech the same year, referring to a ‘crisis’ which nearly ended his marriage 30 years before, but said he and his wife ‘surpassed those difficulties to find a deep understanding love’. 

But Albert never addressed the issue of a child, and for years the palace neither confirmed nor denied the reports, merely saying that it was a ‘private matter’.

Delphine (left, with her mother in 2000) first claimed to be Albert's lovechild in 1999, after an unofficial biography of the Queen claimed he had an affair and a child born out of wedlock

Delphine (left, with her mother in 2000) first claimed to be Albert's lovechild in 1999, after an unofficial biography of the Queen claimed he had an affair and a child born out of wedlock

Delphine (left, with her mother in 2000) first claimed to be Albert’s lovechild in 1999, after an unofficial biography of the Queen claimed he had an affair and a child born out of wedlock

Despite years of private lobbying, Ms Boel was unable to get Albert to recognise her true identity.

After years of questions over her identity, which Delphine claimed stopped her from opening bank accounts, she went to the courts in 2013 in an attempt to prove her biological father was Albert.

The same year the legal case began, Albert abdicated for ‘health reasons’, passing the throne to son Philippe – Delphine’s half-brother.

After several early setbacks, the breakthrough for Ms Boel came in November last year when a court ruled that Albert must provide a DNA sample for testing.

Failure to comply would result in a €5,000 fine for each day the sample was missing. 

Albert is thought to have undergone the DNA test shortly afterwards, which proved he is the father.

Delphine Boel, now 52 (pictured in Paris in 1999) has been recognised as the illegitimate lovechild of Albert II, former King of Beligum, after a seven-year legal battle

Delphine Boel, now 52 (pictured in Paris in 1999) has been recognised as the illegitimate lovechild of Albert II, former King of Beligum, after a seven-year legal battle

Delphine Boel, now 52 (pictured in Paris in 1999) has been recognised as the illegitimate lovechild of Albert II, former King of Beligum, after a seven-year legal battle

In January, he issued a statement confirming that he is no longer contesting paternity.

The court ruled that Delphine should be recognised as part of the royal family, putting her 15th in line to the throne and entitling her to a share of Albert’s estate when he dies.  

A statement released by Delphine’s lawyers last week said: ‘Delphine de Saxe Cobourg has taken note of the judgment… which gives her full satisfaction.

‘Her other requests for it to be dealt with on the same footing as her brothers and sister have also been satisfied.

‘She is delighted by this court 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.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Ministers launch charm offensive to win over Tory MP lockdown rebels

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ministers launch charm offensive to win over tory mp lockdown rebels

Boris Johnson is today facing the biggest Tory challenge to his leadership since the general election after a group of 50 MPs demanded a lockdown exit strategy and ministers launched a desperate charm offensive to quell the rebellion.   

The newly-formed Northern Research Group of Conservative backbenchers has written to Mr Johnson to warn the coronavirus crisis is threatening his pledge to ‘level-up’ the country and could ‘send the North into reverse’.

The group, led by former Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry, wants the Prime Minister to publish a ‘clear road map’ for Tier Three areas to leave lockdown as well as an economic recovery plan for the North of England. 

Mr Berry insisted this morning the letter does not represent a ‘revolt’ against the PM but it will have spooked Number 10 because many of the disillusioned MPs are from Red Wall seats which propelled Mr Johnson to victory last December.

Mr Berry said the Government needed to do a better job of providing the public with ‘easily digestible’ data to show how the fight against Covid-19 is progressing in order to better incentivise people to stick to the rules. 

The letter prompted an immediate charm offensive from Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi as he praised the group’s MPs for acting as ‘champions for their area’. 

It came as approximately eight million people in England face living under the toughest Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week after officials confirmed four separate parts of Nottinghamshire will be thrust into a Tier Three lockdown from midnight on Wednesday, following three days of crunch talks with the Government.   

Officials have agreed to adopt the draconian measures in Nottingham City, Gedling, Broxtowe and Rushcliffe in an attempt to drive down transmission. 

It will mean all pubs and bars have to close unless they serve meals, while people are banned from mixing with anyone they don’t live with indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens. 

Ministers finally confirmed yesterday that Warrington will also be subject to the strictest measures as of today.  

Former minister Jake Berry is leading a Northern Research Group of Tory MPs in demanding the Government set out a road map for exiting local lockdowns

Former minister Jake Berry is leading a Northern Research Group of Tory MPs in demanding the Government set out a road map for exiting local lockdowns

Former minister Jake Berry is leading a Northern Research Group of Tory MPs in demanding the Government set out a road map for exiting local lockdowns

A letter sent by the group to Number 10 has prompted an immediate charm offensive from ministers as Nadhim Zahawi said the MPs were 'champions for their area'

A letter sent by the group to Number 10 has prompted an immediate charm offensive from ministers as Nadhim Zahawi said the MPs were 'champions for their area'

A letter sent by the group to Number 10 has prompted an immediate charm offensive from ministers as Nadhim Zahawi said the MPs were ‘champions for their area’

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WHAT ARE THE TIER THREE RULES? AND WHEN DO THEY COME INTO FORCE?

Warrington was made subject to Tier Three lockdown rules as of midnight last night.

Nottingham City, Gedling, Broxtowe and Rushcliffe will be part of Tier Three from 00.01am Thursday.

NEW RULES

  • People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, in any private garden, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events;
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue;
  • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals, any alcohol must only be served alongside such a meal.

OTHER GUIDANCE 

  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey; 
  • Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the very high alert area.
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A North-South divide has emerged as a result of the Government’s coronavirus tier system, as all areas under the strictest restrictions are in the North and Midlands. 

As well as demanding a ‘road map’ out of lockdown, the Northern Research Group has also urged the Government to prioritise key infrastructure projects and to accelerate job creation in the region. 

Mr Berry this morning dismissed claims of a Tory rebellion, telling the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: ‘It’s not a revolt, I don’t know how it can be a revolt for northern MPs to write to the Prime Minister to ask to work with him on delivering him on his exciting manifesto that he has a mandate for from December 2019.

‘We are asking for the Government to reaffirm its commitment to stimulate the north by bringing forward a northern growth strategy.

‘The reason we really want to focus on that is, like at my own constituency in East Lancashire, we’re a manufacturing powerhouse in Rossendale and Darwen and probably against all expectations if you look at the purchase managers index PMI for last month the barometer of strength in manufacturing, all parts of the north, including East Lancashire, we’re growing faster than London, I think that really demonstrates to Government that by building this bespoke northern growth plan, the north can be the leaders in building back better and that’s what we’re seeking.’

Mr Berry said the Government needed to do a better job of spelling out to members of the public the data underpinning its coronavirus response. 

‘First of all it’s good that the Government has identified the metrics that are going to enable areas to leave Tier Three or Tier Two respectively,’ he said.

‘What I would like to see on a personal basis is that information provided in an easily digestible, consumer facing public friendly way that can show people a route out of these restrictions.

‘The reason we’ve written to the PM asking to work with him on his levelling up agenda as northern MPs is for many areas of the north we have been in restrictions similar to Tier Three, almost identical to Tier Two, since August and that’s why we want to revitalise the PM’s levelling up agenda by working with the Government to deliver for the community we as Northern MPs represent.’ 

Mr Berry, who represents the constituency of Rossendale and Darwen, said better public awareness could lead to higher levels of adherence to Covid-19 rules.   

‘Well I think we need consistent and clear data to be published that not just shows council leaders but the public and businesses how they are doing in tackling this pandemic,’ he said. 

‘If you visit any church hall or scout hut around the country you’ll see the thermometer on the wall telling them how they’re getting toward they’re new roof fund.

‘Incentivising people, providing them data, bringing them with you, letting them understand that they’re part of this great battle we’re fighting against Covid will, I think, increase compliance and also a route out of these restrictions is obviously part of a route to recovery which is what we have written to the Prime Minister seeking as a group of northern MPs.’

The full letter from the Northern Research Group, which was orchestrated by MP for Rossendale and Darwen Jake Berry

The full letter from the Northern Research Group, which was orchestrated by MP for Rossendale and Darwen Jake Berry

Page two of the letter

Page two of the letter

The full letter from the Northern Research Group, which was orchestrated by MP for Rossendale and Darwen Jake Berry 

The letter from the Northern Research Group represents a major headache for Boris Johnson, pictured on a visit to a hospital in Reading yesterday

The letter from the Northern Research Group represents a major headache for Boris Johnson, pictured on a visit to a hospital in Reading yesterday

The letter from the Northern Research Group represents a major headache for Boris Johnson, pictured on a visit to a hospital in Reading yesterday 

The letter from the Northern Research Group prompted an immediate charm offensive from ministers as Mr Zahawi told Sky News this morning: ‘I think they are rightly champions for their area. 

‘They want to make sure that their northern powerhouse strategy that Jake Berry and others have worked so hard on, with myself, I am the local growth minister as well as being the business and industry minister, is delivered and that is absolutely our focus.

‘You will see that coming through as I said in our refresh of the industrial strategy.

‘The industrial strategy was a great piece of work, delivered in 2017, in a world of near full employment.

‘We are entering a very different world today post-pandemic and that is the point they are trying to make I think. As I said to you, judge us by what we do.’ 

Mr Zahawi told LBC Radio that the Tier Three rules are subject to review every 28 days and that the way out of the top tier was to bring the spread of the virus under control. 

He said: ‘There is some good news. I have to be very cautious about this… but what I would say if you look at the the data, where we are working really well together, the rate of increase has slowed down.

‘It’s still too high, and we’ve got to continue to protect our hospitals, make sure that we save lives, protect the NHS and of course protect livelihoods and businesses, which is why this is a balancing act.’

He added: ‘It’s a choice between two harms – the harm of the virus and the harm to the economy and to livelihoods, which ultimately also leads to health harms as well.’

Mr Berry told Number 10 overnight that ‘our party’s return to Government in December was won on the back of hard-working people in constituencies like ours who backed the Conservatives for the first time in a generation, and who did so on the promise that they would not be forgotten’.

‘We cannot forget that we must deliver on our commitments made during that election, to level-up northern communities and create opportunity across our region,’ he added.  

Some 40 Conservative MPs have publicly signed Mr Berry’s letter, while a further 14 have had their names redacted.

Mr Johnson won a majority of 80 seats at last year’s general election, turning many traditional Labour constituencies – which formed the so-called Red Wall – blue.

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Some MPs have expressed concern that these newly won seats could be returned to Labour at the next election if the Government fails to deliver on its promise to ‘level up’ the country.

A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘We are absolutely committed to levelling up across the country and building back better after coronavirus.

‘We stood at the last election on a solemn promise that we would improve people’s lives, and although the pandemic has meant 2020 is not the year we all hoped it would be, our ambitions for the country are unchanged.’

Labour’s shadow Treasury minister Bridget Phillipson said: ‘Even Boris Johnson’s own MPs know that he cannot be trusted to deliver on his promises.

‘The Government has been treating local communities with contempt.

‘The decision not to extend free school meals is the clearest sign yet that the Conservatives have the wrong priorities and are not on the side of British families.’

The pressure on the PM from northern Tory MPs came as northern council leaders in areas moving into Tier Three expressed concerns about the amount of Government funding they have been given to keep local businesses afloat. 

Warrington’s Labour council leader Russ Bowden defended the deal done with the Government but suggested he would have liked more money as the authority entered the top tier. 

He admitted that ‘we went in with a larger ask than what we got from Government’ but denied it had been a ‘case of rolling over’.

Warrington council will receive a financial support package of £1.68 million to help contact-tracing and enforcement, as well as £4.2 million in business support from the Government.

Mr Bowden told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘Ultimately we had to make a call whether or not to accept that, that’s what a negotiation is about.’

Meanwhile, councillor David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said it is ‘difficult to tell’ whether the city has secured enough support because all areas have been given a ‘flat rate’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think we have additional responsibilities of running a big city, and the city centre in particular has additional needs.

‘I’m not sure that all of that will be covered in what we’ve been promised from the Government.’

He said costs and lost income from the first wave of Covid-19 ‘were not fully met as was promised’, meaning that budgets are ‘strained and stretched’. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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