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Belgium

A new princess marks Belgium’s royal year

delphine philippe
Photo: Belgian Royal Palace

January started with a focus on Delphine Boël, as King Albert II finally admitted that she was his child from an extramarital affair. What started as a hectic 2020 for the Belgian Royal Family ended pretty calm. Let’s take a look at the Belgian Royal Family’s 2020.

January:

Princess Astrid undertook a trip to Nepal, and a few days after she returned, her father, King Albert, admitted that Delphine was his daughter.

February:

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde made a trip to New York, and King Albert undertook his first engagement since admitting Delphine’s paternity. Queen Paola later took part in a treasure hunt at the Art and History Museum.

March:

The planned State Visit to Italy for Philippe and Mathilde was cancelled due to COVID fears, and the Duchess of Brabant was unable to return home to Belgium from the UK where she was in school due to the virus. While Belgium was in lockdown, Queen Mathilde took flowers and homemade cakes to senior residents; King Philippe also addressed Belgians and asked them to take responsibility during the pandemic.

April:

In April, Queen Mathilde gave advice to young people regarding the virus in an open letter. King Philippe had to celebrate his 60th birthday while his country was still dealing with the pandemic. He released a simple message on his birthday telling the people: “Together, we will overcome this!”

May:

Prince Laurent, the brother of King Philippe, revealed that his family had been hit by the coronavirus, and his wife, Princess Claire, was said to be quite ill with a lingering illness later in the month.

Prince Joachim, the son of Princess Astrid and nephew of King Philippe, was criticised for attending a party in Spain against COVID restrictions and later was diagnosed with the virus. He later apologised for not obeying COVID regulations.

June:

A statue of King Leopold II was removed in Belgium after being vandalised. Calls for its removal had been heard for years due to the King’s exploitation of Congolese slave labour which left millions of people dead. King Philippe later offered his deepest regrets for his ancestor’s actions in the Congo.

Prince Joachim was given a fine of €10,400 for breaking quarantine measures, and the King and his family went on a bike tour through the country to promote tourism.

July:

National Day was held in a very scaled-down form. The King praised the Belgians’ courage in a speech during the day and led a three minute moment of silence for the victims of the virus.

August:

The King and Queen’s youngest child, Princess Eléonore was forced to move to new secondary school due to a rule change on districting.

September:

Princess Elisabeth began her military training at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels while her mother spoke about mental health. The Belgian Royal Palace released several pictures of Elisabeth in training ahead of her completion of the one-month training camp.

©️Royal Palace, Belgium. Photographer: Bas Bogaerts

The biggest surprise of the month came with Delphine Boël asking the Belgian courts to make her royal so that she is on equal footing with her siblings.

October:

By October, Belgium had a new princess as Delphine was given royal status, as were her two children. King Philippe met his half-sister for the first time later in the month, and the Royal Palace released a photo from the meeting. Prince Laurent vowed that Delphine could depend on him, as well. At the end of the month, King Albert and Queen Paola met with Princess Delphine and again a photo was released.

A week later, Princess Delphine’s niece, Elisabeth took centre stage as the Royal Family celebrated the military. Since tours of the Royal Palace were cancelled due to the virus, the monarchy launched a virtual tour of the Royal Palace in Brussels.

November:

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have been praised for their work during the pandemic and how in touch they’ve been with the people. They gained even more support in November when they visited a COVID ward in a hospital to learn more about treatments and the conditions.

Embed from Getty Images

December:

The Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg Fund was created. King Philippe’s Christmas speech saw him send a message to the young people in Belgium.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.