Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium will undertake a state visit to Canada next month from 11th through the 17th of March. They have been invited by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, who made the announcement yesterday.
Their visit will see them travel to Canada’s capital of Ottawa and the city of Toronto, both in Ontario. They will also visit the French-speaking Montreal, Quebec.
The King and Queen will be accompanied by “Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders and the Prime Presidents of the Communities and Regions,” according to the Royal Palace of Brussels.
More information regarding the state visit, the first of 2018 for the King and Queen, will be released in due course.
The last state visit from a Belgian monarch was in 1977. On that occasion, Philippe’s uncle, King Baudouin was on the throne. It was then that King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola travelled to Canada to undertake their state visit. At the time, Baudouin had been on the throne since 1951. He reigned until his death in July 1993. As he and Fabiola had no issue, the crown passed to his younger brother, Albert.
King Philippe ascended to the throne after the abdication of his father, King Albert II, on Belgium’s National Day, 21 July 2013. Albert announced his intent to abdicate earlier that month on 3 July 2013 when he was 79-years-old. He announced his abdication intentions that evening on television. He retained the title of King after his abdication.
Philippe will one day be succeeded by his eldest child, Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant. Elisabeth, who is just 16, will be Belgium’s first queen regnant if she, as expected, one day ascends the throne.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde married in 1999. Together, they have four children: The Duchess of Brabant (b. 2001), Prince Gabriel (b. 2003), Prince Emmanuel (b. 2005) and Princess Eléonore (b. 2008).