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Belgium

King Philippe leads Belgium’s commemorations on anniversary of terror attack

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have led tributes to all victims of terrorism on the fifth anniversary of the deadliest attack on Belgian soil.

The Belgian monarch took part in an act of commemoration at Brussels Airport on March 22nd 2021, five years after two bombs exploded there. Another bomb went off on the same morning at Maalbeek metro station in the centre of the Belgian capital. Thirty two people were killed and over 300 others were injured. Three attackers also died in the blasts.

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King Philippe and Queen Mathilde took part in a minute’s silence at the airport in the presence of some of those who lost relatives in the attack as well as some of those who survived the bombing. They were accompanied by the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander de Croo, and his wife. All four, wearing masks and observing social distancing, then spoke to many of those gathered to remember.

The royal couple also left flowers at a memorial plaque bearing the names of those killed at the airport that day.

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The King and Queen of the Belgians then travelled to Maalbeek metro station where Philippe placed a wreath in front of a memorial wall and another silence was held.

Survivors of that attacks as well as relatives of those killed joined them in the tribute and the royals spent time hearing their stories and experiences afterwards.

A ceremony of commemoration took place a few hours later at the Monument to Victims of Terrorism in Brussels where the royals placed another floral tribute and led a minute of silence to remember all those killed in attacks in Belgium and Belgian victims of terrorism around the world.

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Philippe and Mathilde held hands as the commemoration took place and listened as Alexander de Croo spoke of the impact of the attacks, saying ”we are here today to say that there is nothing more important than a human life.”

The King and Queen also heard the moving testimony of Edmond Pinczowski whose children, Alexander and Sascha, were killed at Brussels Airport and listened to a special performance by Ozark Henry who sang ”This One’s For You” in front of a giant screen bearing the names of the thirty two people who died in the attacks.

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.