King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians have begun a series of tributes to those killed during the First World War as the centenary of the end of the conflict approaches. The King and Queen attended a special concert held to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice and to honour all those who died during the four years of the war.
The musical tribute took place at the Royal Palace in Brussels on November 9th. King Philippe’s sister, Princess Astrid, also attended along with her husband, Prince Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este. Most of the guests were people who have contributed to commemorations across Belgium to mark the centenary of the Great War’s end. The concert itself featured music by Belgian and European composers.
Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette, was also present. On November 10th, she laid a wreath at the tomb of Canadian Private George Lawrence Price, the last soldier from a Commonwealth country to be killed in the war. On the same day, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz attended the official inauguration of the Price Memorial, dedicated to the soldier and his compatriots, which now stands on the exact spot where he was killed, just two minutes before the Armistice took effect on 11 November 1918.
On the actual centenary of the end of World War One, King Philippe will lead his country’s tributes to all those who lost their lives. The King, along with Queen Mathilde, will attend the commemoration ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Colonne du Congres where he will give a speech. Philippe and Mathilde will also travel to Ypres where they will attend a service marking the end of the war. The Last Post is played every night there, at the Menin Gate, but its rendition on the centenary of the Armistice will be particularly poignant.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, along with Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz, are also due to attend another concert marking the anniversary in Brussels on Sunday.