Queen Mathilde of Belgium has guided a young girl named Billie around at the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken. Billie Vandenberghe is a child reporter for the children’s television programme “Karrewiet”.
Tomorrow, the Royal Greenhouses, located in the private garden of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde’s home the Castle of Laeken, will open again for the public. The Royal Greenhouses are open only three weeks a year. Today, the press was invited to come and take a look, and that included child reporter Billie. She even got a personal tour from Queen Mathilde.
Queen Mathilde welcomed her little guest on Friday morning as she said: “Welcome I’m so glad you are here!” Queen Mathilde then talked about the building of the greenhouses by King Leopold II around 1875. She also showed Billie the atelier of Queen Elisabeth. Queen Mathilde said Queen Elisabeth spent a lot of time in her atelier working on new sculptures. The Queen also talked about the hard work the gardeners put into the greenhouses to be able to open them for three weeks a year. Because of the cold weather in March, they were afraid the greenhouses weren’t going to be ready for the opening in April.
Queen Mathilde also said that her husband and children spent a lot of time in the beautiful Royal Greenhouses. She even said: “My children like to work here. So sometimes they come here to help the gardeners.”
It is not a secret that Queen Mathilde is extremely good with children, and this was again the case with Billie. She explained a lot of things about the different flowers and plants in a child-friendly manner. Billie said afterwards: “Queen Mathilde is very very kind. She’s a great guide. I’ve learnt many new things about the greenhouses and the different plants. It’s so pretty there.”
At the end of the tour, the Queen said: “I very much enjoyed visiting the greenhouses with you. It was your first time, but hopefully not the last time. I’ll see you next time.” And then she gave the girl a big kiss.
The Royal Greenhouses are open for visitors from 21st of April until the 11th of May. The Royal Greenhouses are full of rare, valuable and exotic plants; some of them even belonged to Leopold II’s original collection. The opening of the Royal Greenhouses for the public is a tradition that has been carried on for over a century.
Our Europe Correspondent Laura Dekkers visited the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken last year. Read more about her report here.