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Princess Elisabeth follows in great-great-grandmother’s footsteps on visit to Egypt

A century after her ancestor walked the same routes and stayed in the same hotels, Princess Elisabeth, The Duchess of Brabant, has carried out a working visit to Egypt with her mother.

Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth undertook a three-day visit to Egypt to recreate the trip undertaken by Queen Elisabeth in 1923. The Belgian queen consort had a passion for Egypt and helped form the basis of Egyptology in Belgium. One hundred years ago, her travels to Egypt coincided with the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

In her first official working interview, Princess Elisabeth shared her admiration for her great-great-grandmother, telling Flemish media, “She was adventurous, had a passion for Egypt, but also for music. She was also socially engaged. I would like to be like her in the future.”

The Belgian Royal Court shared on its website that Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth’s visit “will mark the historic interest of the royal family for ancient Egypt.” Speaking with Flemish reporters on the last day of their trip, Queen Mathilde said, “My husband and I introduced the trip to Elisabeth last year and she was immediately enthusiastic. It was very special to travel with her.”

The royal mother and daughter’s visit also aimed to “highlight Belgian expertise in the field of Egyptology” and included visits to important archeological sites that work with Belgian teams.

On their first day in Egypt, the royals landed in Cairo and visited an exhibition on Queen Elisabeth at the Empain Palace. On social media, the Belgian Royal Palace called it “the perfect introduction to the rest of their journey that will highlight the passion of Queen Elisabeth for Egypt and the Belgian archeological excavations in the country.”

Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth visited the archeological sites El Kab and Shaykh Abd-al-Qurna on the second day of their trip, learning how Belgian students and researchers have helped further the study of ancient Egypt.

The royals visited the tomb of Tutankhamun, They also spent time at the ‘Lost Golden City of Luxor’, a place that was only discovered in 2020. On the final day of their visit, they visited the archaeological site at Dayr al-Barsha.

Several anniversaries were at the heart of their visit, including “the 200th anniversary of the decipherment of hieroglyphs by Jean-François Champollion, the centenaries of the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb and his visit by Queen Elisabeth, the 125th anniversary of the emergence of Belgian Egyptology and the 75th anniversary of the death of Belgian Egyptologist Jean Capart,” all of which were celebrated in either 2022 or 2023.

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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.