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European Royals

Birthday celebration for royal cousins ahead of important State Visit

Two of the heads of Europe’s ruling houses had a birthday get together just hours before one hosted the other on an important State Visit.

King Philippe of the Belgians and his cousin, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, were seen sharing a special birthday cake as final preparations for the visit continued.

The Belgian monarch turned 64 on April 15th 2024 and hosted an impromptu celebration for his cousin who had already arrived in Brussels ahead of the State Visit he was set to make with his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.

Bas Bogaerts/ Belgian Royal Palace

That important event, designed to cement ties between the two countries further, gets under way on April 16th 2024, the day that Grand Duke Henri celebrates his 69th birthday.

And so the family celebrations took place on Philippe’s birthday with the two men seen blowing out two candles on a cake decorated with raspberries which the Grand Duke seemed very keen to start eating.

King Philippe and Grand Duke Henri are first cousins. Philippe’s father, Albert II, and Henri’s mother, Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte, were siblings. The two men’s shared grandparents were King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of Belgium.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.