King Philippe of the Belgians has praised his fellow citizens for their ”courage and creativity” in confronting the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic in an emotional and hard hitting speech to mark his country’s National Day.
Speaking on July 20th 2020, on the eve of the celebrations, King Philippe had glowing words for all those who had worked to overcome the difficulties and he put the focus firmly on his country’s politicians, telling them that everyone in Belgium needed them to provide a stable future.
Standing in front of a striking portrait of his grandmother, Queen Astrid, King Philippe began by offering his heartfelt sympathies to all those who had lost loved ones to coronavirus and promised them that he, Queen Mathilde and everyone in Belgium shared their pain.
The Belgian king also reflected on the many difficulties that people across his country have experienced in recent months because of the ongoing pandemic. He offered words of consolation and support to those who had seen their jobs and livelihoods affected and he urged everyone to be aware of the tensions that lockdown had produced and the impact it had had on the most vulnerable in society, saying ”more than ever, we must listen for those who suffer in silence.”
The speech had begun with images of King Philippe during the pandemic, meeting medical and support staff as well as children and teachers. The Belgian monarch praised and thanked all those who had worked so hard during the past months, adding ”all of Belgium has shown courage and creativity.”
He emphasised the way the pandemic had brought about new ways of working collaboratively, saying ”these last months, we have shown that, confronted by urgency and necessity, we can act quickly together.”
The King of the Belgians ended by focusing on the future, saying ”now is the time to rebuild and relaunch our activities with a long term perspective…the crisis has opened our eyes…it has forced us to reflect on and relinquish our comforts….we now have a unique opportunity to rethink our economy and our society.”
And he said that was a responsibility shared across the country, before turning his attention to the role of politicians, saying ”to make the most of all our strengths, we need a clearly defined path ahead. The whole country now calls for a resolute and stable government, do not let us down.”
The Belgian Royal Family will mark National Day differently this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and their children will attend the Te Deum mass, as usual, in Brussels but the traditional military parade has been altered while there will be no public festivities. In the evening, the couple and their children will visit care homes to show their support for some of those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.