Belgian PM suffers hearing loss after standing too close to Princess Astrid firing starting pistol

The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, was perhaps hoping for a few trouble-free days after playing host to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, but it was not to be.

He appeared at the start of a 20km run in Brussels on Sunday, where the starting pistol was wielded by Princess Astrid, the younger sister of King Philippe of the Belgians. He was visibly startled by the firing of the starting gun but tried to laugh off the moment.

By Monday it became clear that the Prime Minister had sought medician advice for the ringing in his ears. Today, the Prime Minister’s schedule was cleared, and he was forced to cancel a committee hearing of the Belgian parliament where he had to give evidence.

“The Prime Minister must follow a number of treatments within 48 hours after the incident,” his spokesman, Barend Leyts, told reporters. Further medical treatment is expected through the week, the spokesman added. The Belgian Royal Family has not yet commented on the incident.

Princess Astrid took part in the 20km run and completed the marathon in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 52 seconds. She ran as an ambassador for the Belgian Paralympic Team, among a total of 40,000 runners. She was congratulated by her daughters, Princesses Maria Laura and Laetitia Maria after she crossed the finish line. Princess Astrid is the daughter of former King of the Belgians, Albert II and his wife, Queen Paola. She is married to Prince Lorenz of Belgium, and they have five children together. She is currently 5th in the line of succession to the Belgian throne, behind her brother’s four children.