Wednesday July 21st marked the celebration of National Day for Belgium. A holiday that was meant to symbolise hope and a slow return to some semblance of normalcy and that instead has been sobered by the death of 31 people due to intense floods that have hit central Europe.
One of the reasons for joy is that the Royal Family has a new member. No, it’s not a baby – it’s Princess Délphine, King Albert’s daughter who became recognised as such in October of 2020 after a lengthy legal battle and has subsequently been given the titles she is owed as a Monarch’s child.
This National Day parade was the first time she attended an event in the public eye as a Royal Highness, even though she has been invited to private functions before, like the traditional hommage to deceased members of the Royal Family that takes place every February in the Royal Crypt.
Dressed in a geometric-patterned coat dress and matching fascinator, Princess Délphine arrived in the Royal Tribune in front of Brussels’s Royal Palace to watch the parade with her half-sibling Princess Astrid, as well as both of their husbands, Prince Lorenz and Jim O’Hare.
Her Royal Highness watched her step-niece take part in the military parade with the rest of her unit from Belgium Military Academy, another reason this National Day was a celebration.
However, between health safety restrictions and withdraws of personnel and equipment from ceremonial duties to be diverted to search and rescue operations, this parade was significantly smaller compared to what is traditionally displayed in this occasion.
In fact, only a few minutes before the beginning of the event, the Ministry of Defense announced that, while the parade of A400 Airbuses would go on, helicopters had been redeployed in the areas most affected by the floods to help with the search and rescue operations that are still taking place following the devastating floods that have hit central Europe.