King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians held a reception today for the athletes who competed in and represented Belgium at the Olympic games this summer. The sovereign couple were also joined at the event by the King’s sister, Princess Astrid, Archduchess of Austria-Este.
The distinguished group (a mix of Olympic and Paralympic competitors) were welcomed at the Royal Palace of Laeken in the Belgian capital where they posed for a photograph with the proud Royals.
Their Majesties travelled to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for a brief, two-day visit on 5th August in order to support in person the Belgian athletes participating in the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. The summer games, which ran from 5th to 21st August saw Belgium take home a total of six medals, of which there were two gold, two silver and two bronze. The medals were notably won for the Belgian team’s participation in cycling, athletics, swimming, judo and field hockey.
The Paralympics, which were held from 7th to 18th September were particularly successful for the country with a total of eleven medals; five gold, three silver and three bronze being awarded to the Belgian team. These were won across a variety of sports such as athletics, tennis, table tennis, equestrianism and hand bike. This was the most successful Paralympic games for Belgium in the last sixteen years.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have had a long relationship with the Olympic games, attending the games in Athens in 2004 as well as in London in 2012 with their four children, Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore. The Olympic games are also an event close to Princess Astrid’s heart. In late June 2009 Her Imperial and Royal Highness was appointed a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Honorary Board.