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King Philippe thanks Belgium for its support during his first 10 years as king

King Philippe officially marks 10 years on the Belgian throne this week and used his National Day speech to thank his countrymen for their “great sense of solidarity” through the tragedies and triumphs of his first decade as king.

The Belgian king succeeded his father, Albert II, on 21 July 2013. King Albert II decided to abdicate owing to poor health, and said in a speech at the time that “Prince Philippe is well prepared to succeed me.”

In his National Day speech, King Philippe said: “Exactly 10 years ago I took the oath as the seventh King of the Belgians. I thus succeeded my father, King Albert II, to whom I would like to pay homage today.

“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.”

Of Belgium, the King said that along with the great sense of solidarity, there is also “generosity, caring for those in need, openness to opinions that differ from ours, compromise. We are spontaneous and pragmatic. And we have a sense of humor.”

Both King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have spent the past 10 years working tirelessly to support the country both nationally and internationally. For her 50th birthday celebrations earlier this year, the Queen held a series of walks throughout the Belgian provinces to promote the outdoors and mental health.

The King added: “I am convinced that together we can be more creative and innovative than anywhere else in the world if we focus more on our diversity, build more bridges between our institutions and learn from each other’s strengths. That is the asset with which we can face the challenges we face: climate change, the preservation of biodiversity, the energy transition, the appropriate use of artificial intelligence, social justice, the proper reception of migrants, the aging population or the loss of confidence in our institutions and democracy.”

Looking ahead to Belgium’s future, King Philippe noted that the country will celebrate its bicentennial in seven years’ time, and mentioned all the ways that Belgians can support growth and change in the coming years.

“Let us therefore cherish our model of society and the human qualities that characterize it. And they develop much more in Europe and the world. In any case, we should not assume that they are self-evident. To face the future with confidence, we must maintain and strengthen all those achievements.”

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.