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King Philippe and Queen Mathilde see double at celebration of important anniversary

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have visited the Belgian Senate to unveil a tribute for His Majesty’s 10th anniversary as Monarch: a set of two new busts. 

Their Majesties arrived in the Senate’s Palace on the afternoon of 5th July 2023, and were welcomed by local authorities, before being escorted to the Green Hall. 

There, they were presented with two new busts made of them by Belgian sculptor Hans Op de Beeck, who was also present for the ceremony. 

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The statues depict the King wearing his military uniform, while the Queen is leaning on a half-column and wearing an off-the-shoulder dress. The statues were left in their original colour, a medium gray, so their resemblance to King Philippe and Queen Mathilde pops out even more. 

The King and Queen had chosen the artist themselves, and he revealed that both of them told him what they wanted to wear in the sculptures. Mr Op de Beeck later told journalists: “They told me that they felt awkward seeing themselves in 3D. Understandable because of the resemblance. You see a copy of yourself and can walk around yourself”. 

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The two statues are set to remain in the Senate’s Green Hall, where they will stand alongside busts that have been made of previous kings and queens, in an exhibition that tells the story of the Belgian Monarchy. 

This new tribute is part of the celebrations for King Philippe’s 10th anniversary on the throne, which will be on National Day, on the 21st of July. 

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On that day in 2013, King Albert’s abdication in favour of his son went into effect, and Philippe officially became King of the Belgians. 

More recently, King Albert was hospitalised for dehydration and a blood infection was also discovered; despite this, he and Queen Paola have announced that they will be taking part in the National Day celebrations, for the first time since the King abdicated.