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Belgium

King Philippe pays moving tributes to his two predecessors, King Albert and King Baudouin, as jubilee approaches

King Philippe has paid a moving tribute to his father and predecessor in a National Day speech ahead of his 10th anniversary on the Belgian throne.

The Belgian monarch succeeded his father, Albert II, on 21 July 2013, after the aging king decided to abdicate due to poor health. After 10 years on the throne, King Philippe began his speech by paying homage to his father.

“You gave the Queen and me a very warm welcome. July 21st of 2013 is therefore forever etched in our memory. It remains an inexhaustible source of motivation and inspiration for both of us today,” the King said.

His tributes to family continued throughout his speech, with Queen Mathilde getting special mention for her “continuous effort and the attention she gives to all the people she meets.” The King said that he is always filled with admiration for his wife and consort.

King Philippe also paid tribute to King Baudouin, who passed away in 1993 after complications from heart surgery. At the time, many expected that King Philippe might succeed his uncle.

King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola were unable to have children of their own, but had a successful and long-lasting marriage. King Albert, his younger brother, succeeded instead and reigned until 2013.

“This summer we also commemorate the death, 30 years ago, of King Baudouin,” King Philippe said. “Those who knew him will forever remember his smile, the look in his eyes, his confidence-inspiring handshake.

“I know how much good he has done wherever he has gone, through his faith in man, through his deep concern for everyone and for the country. He was and remains an example for many, at home and abroad.”

And it might be said that in looking towards Belgium’s future that King Philippe referenced his children: Princess Elisabeth, his heir; Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore.

“A new generation is coming,” the King said, about Belgium’s upcoming bicentenary. “You, the generation 2030, are already here – with your sensitivity and insight, critical mind and talent. Let’s prepare for the future together now.”

King Philippe’s full National Day speech can be viewed here.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.