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Belgium

The childhood photo album of King Philippe of the Belgians

King Philippe of the Belgians is marking ten years of rule this July. However, when he was born, in 1960, there was little expectation that he would ever become monarch. The first child of Albert and Paola, then Prince and Princess of Liege, he was third in line to a throne held by his uncle, Baudouin, who fully expected to have a family of his own. However, King Baudouin and his wife, Queen Fabiola, never enjoyed the family they so longed for and as the years went by, it became clear that Philippe could well inherit. All that seemed very distant on April 15th 1960 when Philippe Leopold Louis Marie was born at Belvedere Castle.

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Prince Philippe was christened a month later at the Church of Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg in Brussels in the presence of his parents and grandparents, ex-King Leopold III (paternal grandfather) and Donna Luisa, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (maternal grandmother), who were also his godparents.

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Prince Albert, Princess Paola and Prince Philippe in 1961.

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Prince Philippe celebrating his first birthday with balloons, 15 April 1961.

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Opening his birthday presents, 1961.

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Prince Philippe joined his mother in distributing Christmas presents to schoolchildren on 17 December 1962.

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Prince Philippe and his younger sister, Princess Astrid (born in 1962), in 1963.

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The Liège Family enjoying a day at the beach in Forte de Marmi, Italy, in August 1964.

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The Liège Family posing for a photocall in April 1965. Prince Laurent, who was born in 1963, is pictured with the family.

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Prince Philippe, Prince Laurent, and Princess Astrid in 1965.

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Prince Philippe and Princess Astrid playing on a slide at Belvedere Palace, 1966.

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Princess Paola and her children on a farm in 1967.

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The Liège Family on vacation in the Caps d’Antibes, France, on 5 July 1968.

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The Liège Family in June 1969.

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Prince Philippe, with his uncle King Baudouin, visiting Coxyde, at the Dune Abbaye, in 1971.

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Prince Albert and Prince Philippe at the Fine Arts Centre in Brussels, 1972.

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When Prince Philippe turned 18 in 1978, he began studying at the Belgian Royal Military Academy.

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.