Photographs of the young Marie-Christine (or " Daphné" as she was called, affectionately, in the family) reveal a beautiful, blonde girl, with the fair complexion and the fine, sensitive and noble features of her father, Leopold III. A night-and-day contrast with her younger sister, Esmeralda, a dark brunette strongly resembling Lilian. During Marie-Christine's childhood, magazines reported that she was musically talented and that her grandmother, the music loving Queen Elisabeth, encouraged her in this interest. Marie-Christine also had an overriding romantic streak which led her to dream continually of shining knights and ideal loves (See Patrick Weber, Amours royales et princières (2006) pp. 168-169).
Rash, headstrong, restless and unhappy, feeling imprisoned in a "golden cage," Marie-Christine frequently rebelled against the restraints of her royal position. Her love interests, in particular, gave rise to a long series of family quarrels (Weber, pp. 168-169). Lilian wanted her children to make prestigious matches, and forcefully pressed her views, but her passionate and willful daughter stubbornly refused all the marriages her parents suggested. Meanwhile, Marie-Christine's own choices, apt to be wildly inappropriate for her regal station, met with their disapproval and consternation. Tragically, Marie-Christine also, apparently, fell into quite a dissolute lifestyle, experimenting with drugs and debauchery. Her relations with her parents, especially her mother, became more and more tormented. In 1981, at the age of 30, she moved to Canada, bitterly turning her back on Belgium forever.
Ahead of her lay dreams, disappointments, dissipation, financial ruin, sorrow and bitterness. She mingled with the Hollywood set and longed to be a movie star, but her fairytale dreams have never come to fruition. She has married twice, but never had any children. In 1981, against her alarmed parents' advice, she defiantly married Paul Drucker, a Quebecois bar pianist, thirteen years her senior, a widower with two children, and, reportedly, a homosexual. With Marie-Christine's connivance, the press then published lurid photographs of the newlyweds, scantily clad in their hotel room. Leopold and Lilian were appalled. For the old, ailing King Leopold, this final family rupture, coming after the estrangements from his brother Charles, and son Baudouin, was the last in a long series of painful ordeals. The marriage, predictably, proved a fiasco; within weeks, Marie-Christine had abandoned her husband to live with another man (see Weber, pp. 169 -170) and Michel Verwilghen, Le mythe d'Argenteuil: demeure d'un couple royal (2006), pp. 349-350). In 1989, after divorcing Drucker, Marie-Christine married a French restaurateur living in the USA, Jean-Paul Gougues. Over the years, Marie-Christine has moved around quite a bit, living, at different times, in Toronto, Las Vegas and San Diego.
In recent years, in vitriolic interviews and memoirs, Marie-Christine has bitterly attacked the Belgian royal family. In an article published April 17, 2007 in Humo magazine, she even declared that "abolishing the monarchy might prove to be of benefit to Belgium." Claiming to have broken all contact with her family, she did not attend the funerals of her father, her mother, her half-brother, King Baudouin, or her brother, Prince Alexandre. She has consistently portrayed Princess Lilian, in particular, as a harsh, unloving, domineering, controlling, and even cruel mother.