Several Belgian royals cast their vote today for the regional, federal and European elections. Only King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, who need to remain neutral and above politics, will not go vote today. They are exempt from Belgium’s compulsory voting system. Legal sanctions still exist for those failing to present themselves at the polling stations, but prosecutions are rare. Their four children are still all minors and are not eligible to vote.
The King’s sister, Princess Astrid, was spotted in Laeken when she went to vote with her husband, Prince Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este. She was joined by her children, Prince Joachim and Princess Luisa Maria who also voted. The 16-year-old Princess Laetitia Maria was also there but was too young to vote. The abdicated King Albert and his wife, Queen Paola are no longer exempt and will also need to head to the polling station today as will the rest of the Belgian royals.
King Albert abdicated in favour of his eldest son Philippe in 2013. King Philippe has been married to Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz since 1999, and the couple has four children: Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (born 2001), Prince Gabriel (born 2003), Prince Emmanuel (born 2005) and Princess Eléonore (born 2008).
Their eldest daughter is nearly 18-years-old, and she is currently attending the Atlantic College in Wales, where she will remain until at least the summer of 2020. Afterwards, she will attend university and possibly also have a military education. It was announced that she would not receive an allowance upon her 18th birthday, and it is instead delayed until she is ready to take up royal duties. Her Dutch counterpart, Princess Catharina-Amalia, the Princess of Orange, will receive her official allowance of 1,4 million euro upon her 18th birthday in 2021, but this decision was heavily criticised by politicians.