Jane Benzaquen says her mother had an affair with the-then crown prince in 1950s; now she wants to be recognized as part of the royal family
An Israeli-Belgium woman is seeking to be recognized as the daughter of former Moroccan king Hassan II, claiming that she is the result of a romantic dalliance between the royal and her mother seven decades ago.
Jane Benzaquen, 70, told the Sunday Times that she was “doing it for my children and grandchildren. They have a right to know where they’re from.”
Benzaquen, a former hotel receptionist, is now demanding through a lawyer a DNA test that she hopes will show that she is Hassan’s daughter.
According to Benzaquen, during the early 1950s Hassan, at the time a prince, had a romantic relationship with her mother Freha, who was a 17-year-old shop assistant in Casablanca.
She claims her maternal grandmother, who later moved to Belgium, told her how a royal Mercedes car would visit the family home to bring food and money, while her mother was whisked away for trysts with Hassan.
Benzaquen was taken to Belgium when she was 10 months old and raised by a foster family, according to the report. Her mother was forced out of Morocco and later worked in Belgium as an actress under the name Anita Benzaquen.
Jane Benzaquen, who is Jewish, moved to Israel when she was 18 to serve in the IDF.
Hassan reigned from 1961 to 1999. Freha Benzaquen died in 1996, aged 65.
According to the report, when Jane Benzaquen saw a photo of Hassan on television during reports of his death, she told one of her three children that he was their father.
Until the king’s death, she said to the Times, “I was filled with anger, the past was a Pandora’s box and I didn’t want to open it.”
Previous DNA tests have shown Raoul Jossart, a Belgian national who is listed as her father on her birth certificate, is not related to her. She has North African and Middle Eastern ancestors, the tests showed.
Her attorney, Belgian constitutional expert Marc Uyttendaele, told the Sunday Times that Jossart may have been hired by King Hassan to pose as her father as part of a coverup. Jossart died in 2001.
Attorney Stanislas Eskenazi, representing the Moroccan royal family, told The Sunday Times that they have immunity from prosecution and would not respond to the paternity claim.
While king, Hassan supported interfaith dialogue and met with several Israeli leaders.
He also hosted a delegation from Britain’s Jewish community umbrella organization, the Board of Deputies, in 1997, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
He died in 1999. His son Mohammed VI, ostensibly Benzaquen’s half-brother, is currently king.