King Albert II of Belgium is to undergo testing to determine treatment for the narrowing of a heart valve, the Belgian Royal Palace announced this morning.
The Palace said in a press release, “His Majesty King Albert II is suffering from an aortic stenosis that requires treatment that will be adapted to his situation.”
He was admitted to Saint-Luc University Hospital in Brussels today for testing; it is possible that he will return home this evening. The King has been hospitalised for heart problems in the past.
Belgium’s former monarch was born on 6 June 1934 as the son of King Leopold III and Queen Astrid. He came to the throne after the death of his older brother, King Baudouin in 1993. He reigned until his abdication, due to ill health, on 21 July 2013.
In a televised speech at the time, the King said he was relinquishing the throne due to “my age and health no longer allow me to carry out my duties as I would like to.”
His Majesty also said, “Prince Philippe is well prepared. He and Princess Mathilde have my entire confidence. The future is in good hands. So it is with serenity and confidence that I announce I intend to abdicate.” His eldest child, Philippe, ascended to the throne upon his abdication.
The 83-year-old married Italian Paola Ruffo di Calabria on 2 July 1959 after their initial meeting at the Vatican’s Belgian Embassy in 1958. Together they have three children: King Philippe, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent. King Albert and Queen Paola also have 12 grandchildren: Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eleonor (through King Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde); Prince Amedeo, Princess Maria Laura, Prince Joachim, Princess Luisa Maria and Princess Laetitia Maria (through Princess Astrid and her husband, Prince Lorenz); and Princess Louise, Prince Nicholas and Prince Aymeric (through Prince Laurent and his wife, Princess Claire).
Albert and Paola also have one great-grandchild: Archduchess Anna Astrid from Prince Amedeo’s marriage to Princess Elisabetta.