Brussels - Money, sex and violence: Belgium's royal family loses much of its blue-blooded lustre in a tell-all book mainly based on anonymous sources that hit bookshelves in French- and Dutch-speaking Belgium on Tuesday.
Titled “Royal Question”, the 304-page book penned by Frederic Deborsu, a journalist at the RTBF state TV and radio network, is the talk of the town with its tale of often sordid tidbits while it has infuriated the royal palace.
On the eve of its release, the palace denounced the book's “many totally erroneous and slanderous details.”
The RTBF appeared to distance itself from the writer, saying the book was written while he was on leave.
Deborsu dwells at length on the fate of the Belgian throne, describing 78-year-old King Albert II as “weary and tired” and his 52-year-old son Prince Philippe as “frustrated”.
The journalist says the king had hoped to abdicate next year but that the rise of the separatist movement in northern Flanders has forced him to stay on until 2014 elections.
But aside from political considerations it also harps on more domestic issues.
“Why did King Albert and Queen Paoloa fail their childrens' education?” and “Why is Crown Prince Philippe a frustrated prince?” it asks.
The failings of each and every member of the royal family are scrutinised, the king's - well-known - infidelities as a young man listed along with rumours over the queen. - Sapa-AFP