In his annual Christmas Eve address (delivered in Dutch, French and German), King Philippe of Belgium talks of looking “where we are in life.”
Saying that the Christmas and New Year holidays are “a perfect time to look back”, he says that we must also remember “that life is a path that we do not follow alone, but with fellow travellers, who, like us, need companionship, someone to listen, and give advice.”
“For most of us, the Christmas holidays are a time to come together and share. Moments in which we take time for each other. For those who endure severe trials, are lonely or who have lost a dear one, the loving presence of another is invaluable.
“Let us especially remember the most fragile in our society during the holidays. And also remember those who surround them, with their care and attention to ensure that they can live dignified,” he continued.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde’s eldest child, Princess Elisabeth, has been studying away in Wales. She has returned home for the holidays, but the King mentions missing his children in a nod to Elisabeth’s studies away from home.
The King remarked, “With those who have children, the Queen and I share the desire to live with them in the moment, in the true and real presence of each other. We know how important these moments are, but also how easily you miss them. These are the moments when we can experience our children as they are and rejoice in rediscovering them.
“Moments in which our children can understand that we, their parents, and everyone else who cares for their upbringing are equally vulnerable. That we do not retreat from our problems or flee from them, but try to overcome them – and draw from our inner strength. With this inner strength, we can really open ourselves up to the others and assume our responsibility.”
Other points of his speech focused on democracy and the recent issues in the Belgian government. He also quotes Archimedes before bringing his remarks to a conclusion.
His Majesty concluded saying, “The Queen and I, and all our family, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Texts of His Majesty’s speech are on the Belgian Monarchy’s website: www.monarchie.be