King Philippe has made some changes to the Coat of Arms of the Belgian Royal Family. His Majesty also introduced a Coat of Arms for his father King Albert II, and Princess Elisabeth has now her own Coat of Arms.
For the first time in over 100 years, a Belgian monarch has changed the Coat of Arms of the Royal House. King Philippe has signed a new Royal Decree in which the changes to the Coat of Arms of the King and Queen of the Belgians are confirmed. The new law also introduces a Coat of Arms that will be used by the former ruling King and Queen and a Coat of Arms for the first in line to the throne, the Duke or Duchess of Brabant.
Ever since his ascension to the throne, King Philippe has been careful to involve all Belgian citizens, no matter whether they speak French, Dutch or German – the three official languages of Belgium. King Philippe is the first ruling Belgian monarch that records his Christmas speech and other official addresses, not only in French and Dutch but also in German. In the changes His Majesty made to the Coat of Arms, the King has also included the German-speaking part of Belgium. The motto of the Coat of Arms of the Royal House is now “L’union fait la forçe. Eendracht maakt macht. Einigkeit macht stark.” which translates as “Strength lies in unity”.
Another change to the Coat of Arms is the reintroduction of the shield of the German state Saksen, where the roots of the Belgian Royal House lie. After World War I, King Albert I of the Belgians removed the shield from the official Coat of Arms and changed the family’s name from “Von Saksen-Coburg und Gotha” to “de Belgique” (of Belgium). Now over 100 years later, King Philippe has decided to use the shield that reflects the origins of the Belgian dynasty. A last important change is that every Coat of Arms of the Royal House now has its own female version. This will prove to be important as his daughter, Princess Elisabeth will become the first ruling Queen of the Belgians.
The last time the Coat of Arms of the Royal House underwent significant changes was in 1910. His Majesty the King stated in the Royal Decree that now was the time to make the changes. He stated: “Following our ascension to the throne, it is appropriate to adjust the rules to the historical and legal evolutions that have occurred since the Royal Decree of 17 June 1910.”
The Royal Decree of the 19th of July also introduces a Coat of Arms for the former ruling King and Queen. In this case, King Philippe’s father and mother, King Albert and Queen Paola will be able to use the new Coat of Arms. Before this Royal Decree, they used the same as their son.
Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant has also received her own Coat of Arms. The version of the Coat of Arms for the Duke or Duchess of Brabant, the first in line to the throne has a few significant differences than the Coat of Arms of the ruling monarch. The Coat of Arms of Princess Elisabeth has no Order of Leopold around it, doesn’t have a golden helmet and features a different lion.