It’s a very different birthday from the one that was planned, reflecting how life has changed for millions in the coronavirus pandemic. King Philippe of the Belgians turned sixty with a simple message of thanks to his country.
The king released a short statement on the morning of his birthday, April 15th. In it he expressed his gratitude to all those who had wished him well on his special day, adding that his focus was on supporting those affected by the pandemic and working to get through it.
The message, accompanied by a portrait photo of the king, said ”Thank you very much for your messages of good will and affection on the occasion of my 60th birthday. Today, my heart goes out to those who are suffering and who have lost someone dear. I am overwhelmed by the innumerable acts of solidarity in our country. Together, we will overcome this test!”
The words, released on the official royal social media accounts, was signed ‘Philippe’.
It’s expected that the king will spend the day quietly with his wife, Queen Mathilde, and their four children, Elisabeth, Gabriel, Emmanuel and Eleonore, at their home in Laeken where they have been isolating since restrictions were introduced in Belgium.
Philippe Leopold Louis Marie was born on April 15th 1960, during the reign of his uncle, King Baudouin. His parents, Albert and Paola, were Prince and Princess of Liege at the time of his birth. Philippe became heir to the Belgian throne in 1991 when his father succeeded Baudouin. Philippe was proclaimed King of the Belgians on July 21st 2013 on the abdication of Albert II.