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Belgium’s future queen visits hospital named in her honour

Princess Elisabeth returned to the site of her first-ever royal engagement for a Christmas reception this week.

The future queen of the Belgians attended a holiday reception at the Princess Elisabeth Hospital in Ghent, which she officially opened on her first solo royal engagement in September 2011, at the age of nine years old.

During her visit, Princess Elisabeth was given a tour of the hospital to see the work they do, and met with patients, including a 15-year-old named Jade Borny, who had a personal meeting with the royal.

In an interview with Nieuws Blad, she said that meeting Princess Elisabeth “gave me a warm feeling” and said that “She was very interested in what we said. She looked into our eyes. She had a smile all the time, and showed a lot of respect. Not everyone can experience this. This was a special moment.”

Jade also commented on Princess Elisabeth’s outfit—a pale green pant suit—complimenting her fashion sense and noting that she looked great because she’s going to be the future Queen of the Belgians.

Princess Elisabeth also joined in a craft session with younger patients and met with the nursing staff to learn more about the care they provide their young patients. Most of the patients receive treatment until the age of 15, but if they live with a chronic condition, they receive treatment until the age of 18.

According to reports in Belgian newspapers, Princess Elisabeth continues to visit the hospital every two or three years in a private capacity, accompanied by Queen Mathilde. This is her first public appearance since opening the hospital 12 years ago.

It is also Princess Elisabeth’s third solo royal engagement, as the princess is currently studying at Oxford in the United Kingdom and splitting her time in the Belgian military.

The hospital shared an Instagram Reel of Princess Elisabeth’s visit, captioning it: “A visit we won’t soon forget.”

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.