The world knows him as King Philippe of the Belgians, but when this monarch wants to go incognito, he prefers to be known as Monsieur Legrand.
That’s the name on papers filed on the French Ile d’Yeu, off the coast of Brittany, where the king and his family have bought a holiday home. As Philippe Legrand, he applied for planning permission for an annex for his security staff at his new residence. However, a local row over the request has put his pseudonym in the spotlight.
The Belgian king’s request was for an annex measuring 40 metres squared. The island restricts such projects to 30 metres squared. However, last August, Philippe’s plans were given the go-ahead. And now some locals aren’t happy, asking why they can’t make such grand changes but the king of another country can.
Officials at the local prefecture decided that the building had to go ahead as planned so no rules have been broken. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, along with their four children, have spent many holidays on the Ile d’Yeu but, until recently, they always rented accommodation. Their new home was purchased in 2019.
However, the pandemic has meant travel there hasn’t been possible in recent months which is perhaps good news for Monsieur Legrand and his family who will surely hope the dust will settle soon on this planning row.