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Belgium

Grandchildren of Monarchs: Belgium’s King Albert II


The grandchildren of monarchs share family links but their futures can open up in many different directions. While some are born to inherit thrones, others slowly move away from the shadow of the crown. One of Europe’s former monarchs has seen many changes to the royal destinies of his descendants before a much talked about court case saw him admit family links to two new grandchildren, years after his reign ended.

King Albert II of Belgium has fourteen grandchildren and he shares twelve of those with his wife, Queen Paola.

The children of King Philippe of the Belgians

Albert II has four grandchildren through the son who succeeded him to the Belgian throne, King Philippe, including a granddaughter who will one day follow them both as their country’s monarch.

Philippe’s eldest child with his wife, Queen Mathilde, is Princess Elisabeth Therese Marie Helene, who was born on October 25th 2001 in Anderlecht. She became heir to the Belgian throne on the accession of her father on July 21st 2013 and took the traditional title of the first in line, Duchess of Brabant.

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Philippe and Mathilde have two sons. Prince Gabriel Baudouin Charles Marie was born on August 20th 2003 in Anderlecht and is now second in line to the throne. His brother, Prince Emmanuel Leopold Guillaume Francois Marie, was born on October 4th 2005 and is third in line.

The last of Albert and Paola’s grandchildren through Philippe is Princess Eleonore Fabiola Victoria Anne Marie who was born on April 16th 2008 and is now fourth in line to the throne of Belgium.

The children of Princess Astrid of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este

Albert and Paola became grandparents for the first time with the arrival of the children of their only daughter, Princess Astrid, who married Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este in 1984. Their first child, Prince Amadeo Marie Joseph Carl Pierre Philippe Paola Marcus d’Aviano was born on February 21st 1986 in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. Amadeo is the only one of Albert and Paola’s grandchildren to have married so far. His two children with wife, Lili, are the former monarch’s only great grandchildren so far.

Astrid and Lorenz welcomed a daughter, Princess Maria Laura Zita Beatrix Gerhard, on August 26th 1988. Along with her mother and brother, Maria Laura had no succession rights at the time of her birth as Belgium only allowed men to take the throne at the time. A law change in 1991 put Astrid, Amadeo and Maria Laura into the line of succession.

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Astrid and Lorenz’s third child, Prince Joachim Karl-Maria Nikolaus Isabelle Marcus d’Aviano, was born on December 9th 1991, after the change to the rules and was the first of Astrid’s children and Albert’s grandchildren to have the title of Prince of Belgium from birth.

On October 11th 1995, Astrid and Lorenz welcomed a second daughter. Princcess Luisa Maria Anna Martine Pilar was the first of his grandchildren to be born in the reign of King Albert II – he took his country’s throne in 1993 on the sudden and unexpected death of his older brother, King Baudouin.

The youngest of Astrid and Lorenz’s children is Princess Laetitia Maria Nora Anna Joachim Zita who was born on April 23rd 2003. She is currently twelfth in line to the throne of Belgium.

The children of Prince Laurent of Belgium

Albert and Paola’s youngest child, Prince Laurent, married Claire Coombs in 2004. Through them, the former Belgian monarch has three more grandchildren.

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The eldest of them is Princess Louise Sophie Mary who arrived on February 6th 2004. She was joined by twin brothers just under two years later. Prince Nicolas Casmir Marie and Prince Aymeric Auguste Marie were born, prematurely, on December 13th 2005.

The children of Princess Delphine of Belgium

In 2020, King Albert confirmed he was also the father of Delphine Boel who had taken legal action to prove her paternity. In the same year, a court confirmed that Belgian law meant Delphine, who was born in 1968 to Sybille de Selys Longchamps, could take a royal title, as could her two children from her marriage to James O’Hare. However, none of them has succession rights to the Belgian throne.

Albert’s grandchildren through Delphine are Princess Josephine (born October 17th 2003) and Prince Oscar (born April 28th 2008).

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.