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King Philippe of the Belgians speaks of the power of hope in his Christmas address

The King of the Belgians has spoken of the power of hope in a moving Christmas message that emphasised unity over division.

In an address from the Royal Palace in Brussels, King Philippe outlined many of the difficulties facing his country as well as international issues, but said that hope could overcome all.

The Belgian monarch noted the conflicts around the world which have gone on in 2023, saying ”this year, again, we live in difficult times. The international scene is dominated by armed conflict and wars – in Ukraine, in Congo and in Sudan. And these last months, we have witnessed violence in the Middle East which affects us all.”

King Philippe also put a particular focus on the divisions in society, noting that ”exclusion, discrimination and racism remain present” and he raised concerns over ”verbal violence which often happens in anonymity on the internet”.

He praised integration across Belgium and said ”the queen and I regularly visit great initiatives created by Belgians who were immigrants. Their work to build a better integrated world deserves credit.”

The king continued ”we have to face reality head on. But fear and anxiety which discourage and paralyse…we can overcome with a vital force: the force of hope. This isn’t a naive or passive optimism. The opposite – hope is an energy that we draw from the depths of ourselves…it grows even more when you commit yourself.”

King Philippe concluded ”the power of hope leads us to move forward, with confidence, on a path enlightened by those who believe in the power of democracy.”

And in a year when his own relations have raised questions about whether they are all treated equally, the message ended with royal inclusivity as the King of the Belgians said ”the queen, our children and our entire family join me in wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and 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 who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. 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.