Belgium, a nation nestled in the heart of Europe, boasts a history steeped in tradition, culture, and a monarchy that has evolved. If you want to know about the king of Belgium and the monarchy, this article is for you!
Imagine a world where traditions from long ago blend smoothly with what’s happening now. This journey will show you all you need to know about the Belgian Monarchy and the King of Belgium – Philippe of Belgium.
1. The King of Belgium
The title of King of Belgium pertains to the sovereign who holds the position of King and serves as the leader of the Kingdom of Belgium.
This position is hereditary within the Belgian royal family, with the current monarch being King Philippe.
The king of Belgium is like the leader of the country, but mostly for important ceremonies and representing Belgium to the world. This has been a tradition since Belgium became its own country in the 1800s.
The king’s job is not to make laws or run the government. Instead, they do things like meeting other leaders, signing important papers, and being a symbol of unity for the country.
The rules that say what the King can and cannot do are written in a special book called the Constitution. This book also explains how the government works and what rights people have.
1.1 The Era of the Kings
Leopold I was the first King of Belgium, and he helped the new country get started. Later, other kings like Leopold II and Albert I faced challenges like World Wars, which changed how Belgium had to be run.
King Baudouin and King Albert II continued this tradition of being a leader symbol, especially during times when Belgium was changing a lot.
In 2013. King Albert II’s son Philippe became the new king after he stepped down. King Philippe’s job is to keep up with what’s happening in the country and show that he cares about the people.
Even though some people talk about whether a King’s job is needed, the Belgian monarchy is still important for many Belgians because it represents their history and brings them together as a country.
2. The Royal Family
Belgium’s first king wasn’t even from Belgium. Leopold I came from Germany as a prince from the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family.
He battled against Napoleon, declined the throne of Greece, and lived in England. In 1831, following the Belgian Revolution, he was selected as the King of the newly formed country.
Albert I, the third king, is highly regarded for his resistance against the Germans in World War One, even though he operated from Veurne.
His son Leopold III surrendered Belgium to the invading Germany in May 1940, leading him to be labeled the Traitor King. Leopold III stepped down from the throne and was succeeded by his son Baudouin, also known as Boudewijn.
He was deeply religious and loved the king, but he chose to step aside on April 4, 1990, to avoid granting royal approval to an abortion law.
Following his unexpected passing in July 1993, his younger brother, Albert II, took the throne.
3. KING ALBERT II: The Previous King of Belgium
Born in Brussels on June 6, 1934, Albert II’s full name is Albert Felix Humbert Theodore Christian Eugene Marie.
His father was King Leopold III, and his mother was Queen Astrid. He was the king of Belgium from 1993 to 2013.
Albert II entered the Belgian Navy in 1953. He had served as the Belgian Office of Foreign Trade’s honorary chairman.
Albert II has also served as the Belgian Red Cross’s president and International Olympic Committee member.
In 1959, he married the Italian princess Paola Ruffo Di Calabria. The couple had three children: Prince Philippe, born in 1960; Princess Astrid, born in 1962; and Prince Laurent, who was born in 1963.
In 1968, Princess Delphine was born from his affair with Belgian aristocrat Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, which began when he was the crown Prince, making her the half-sister of King Philippe of Belgium.
In July 1993, he succeeded his childless older brother Baudouin after his death.
4. KING PHILIPPE: The Current King of Belgium
Philippe of Belgium became the King of Belgium in 2013. He was the eldest among the three children of the sixth king of Belgium, who became the king in 1993.
Philippe‘s full name is Philippe Léopold Louis Marie. He was born on April 15, 1960, in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. His parents were King Albert II and Queen Paola. This makes him a member of the Belgian royal family.
When Philippe was growing up, he had a regular childhood, just like every other kid his age. He attended school and learned things like maths, history, and languages. He also learned about his country’s history and how Belgium works.
Philippe attended the Royal Military Academy. He studied abroad at Trinity College, Oxford, and Stanford University, earning a master’s degree in political science.
As he got older, Philippe started taking on more responsibilities related to being a part of the royal family.
He learned about the traditions and history that come with it. He also learned how to represent Belgium to the rest of the world.
In 1999, Philippe got married to a lady named Mathilde. She became Queen Mathilde when Philippe became King.
They have four children together: Princess Elisabeth, born in 2001; Prince Gabriel, born in 2003; Prince Emmanuel, born in 2005; and Princess Eleonore, born in 2008.
4.1 King Philippe and the Throne
In 2013, due to his failing health, King Albert II decided to step down, and on July 21, 2013, Philippe was crowned the King of Belgium.
Princess Elisabeth was designated the Duchess of Brabant as the next heir apparent to the throne.
Until 1991, only males were permitted to hold the throne, with women serving as queens only in a supportive role.
However, King Philippe’s oldest daughter, Princess Elisabeth, born in 2001, is potentially next in line to become Belgium’s first Queen.
Having undergone training as a pilot and a paratrooper, Philippe achieved the rank of Lieutenant general in the Belgian Army and Air Force and the Belgian Navy’s vice admiral.
Philippe was appointed as the honorary chairman of the Belgian Foreign Trade Board in 1993. He also served as the chairman of the National ( Federal ) Council for Sustainable Development.
He joined the ranks of the Belgian Senate as a member in June 1994.
5. The Royal Palace
The stunning Brussels palace stands as the city’s most exquisite structure. It serves as the venue where the King and Queen of Belgium welcome visiting leaders and perform royal ceremonies.
Situated in the historic Kunstberg area of Brussels, the palace was constructed from 1820 to 1934.
The neighboring Warandepark, established in 1776, is equally remarkable, with monuments, water fountains, ponds, and other attractions enhancing the palace’s splendor.
The palace is only open for a limited time each year, usually when the King and Queen are on vacation. This is because the palace is still being used for events. It’s usually open from late July to early September.
While not all rooms are available to the public, many beautiful and fascinating ones are, making it a worthwhile visit if you are in Brussels.
You can admire the palace’s beauty from the outside, too. Walk through the gardens and capture photos. The park holds public events and parties, with its website containing more pieces of information.
From King Leopold I to King Philippe today, the role has changed from having power to being a symbol of unity. The king represents Belgium to the world.
As Belgium moves forward, the monarchy adapts while keeping its traditions alive.
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