Yesterday was National day here in Belgium. But it was a National day with a difference. At roughly 12:00 yesterday, Philippe was sworn in as our 7th king.
His father, Albert II decided, 3 weeks ago, that after 20 years on the throne, at the age of 79 it was the right time to step down and hand over to the next generation.
Our new king, Phlippe is 53 years old. He did active military service and is a qualified fighter pilot and a paratrooper- and commando officer, (in 2004 he got his civilian helicopter lisence). He also attended Trinity College, University of Oxford (UK) and the Graduate School of Stanford University (USA) where he took a “Master of Arts Degree” in political science.
Philippe married to Mathilde on 4 December 1999. She is not just a pretty face; she speaks 4 languages and is a qualified speech therapist and also has a master’s degree in psychology. She set up her own professional speech therapy practice in Brussels, where she worked from 1995 until the end of 1999.
Together they have 4 kids. Princess Elisabeth (the 11 year old crown princess), Prince Gabriel (10), Prince Emmanuel (8) and Princess Eléonore (5).
Yesterday’s inauguration was a pretty relaxed afire. Because of the short notice, other than the abdication and inauguration the ‘normal’ national day events took place. There was the usual military parade and fireworks to end it all.
Our royal family is pretty laid back. I’ve even had lunch, at the Pizza Hut across from my office at the same time as the ‘black sheep’ of the family Prince Laurent.
|Signing of the charters during the abdication of his father King Albert II of Belgium|
|Swearing in of King Philippe|
|a kiss for his queen|
|Front row: Queen Fabiola (wife of king Baudouin (brother of king Albert II), princess Eléonore, prince Gabriel, crown princess Elisabeth, prince Emmanuel, Queen Paola Back row: Queen Mathilde, King Philippe and King Albert II|
(all images via google images)