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Princess Elisabeth starts military education at initiation camp

© Royal Palace, Brussels/Koninklijk Paleis, Brussel/Palais Royal, Bruxelles/Königlicher Palast, Brüssel Photographer: Michel Gronemberger

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium has started the new school year at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. The Duchess of Brabant and the other 169 first year students kicked off their training with an initiation camp in Elsenborn.

On Monday the 31st of August, the elder daughter of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians embarked on a new chapter in her life. The 18-year old Duchess of Brabant started her military education at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. The first day began at 9 am sharp and was intended as an introduction day.

the first morning, Princess Elisabeth and her 169 fellow first year students were asked to complete a medical questionnaire before they received their kit consisting of the army uniform, masks, a sleeping bag, black shoe polish, a pocket knife, a headlamp and a few other essentials. After they changed in their uniforms, a first individual photo was taken. Then the 170 students were welcomed by the director of the basic officer training, Colonel Thierry Pirenne, who also gave the students their first briefing.

The Royal Military Academy shared a video of the first day of this year’s first year students. At the end of the video, Princess Elisabeth of Belgium can be seen.

On Tuesday 2 September, the Duchess of Brabant and her fellow students left for their military initiation phase at Camp Elsenborn. There the students will learn “discipline and the military values, how to read maps, how to use weapons and shoot a gun”. The military initiation phase will last four weeks before the students start their classes in military and social sciences.

The basic officer training is organised slightly different this year due to COVID-19. Instead of the shared dormitories that are traditionally used, the students will all stay in an individual room. In classes the students will have permanent seats and between the different students plexi screens have been installed. During mealtime, the students will sit in small permanent groups. Nevertheless, the Royal Military Academy tries to organise as many classes as possible in real life.

Earlier this year, the Royal Palace announced that Princess Elisabeth would start her military training at the Royal Military Academy. Once she becomes Queen of the Belgians, she will also receive the title of Commander in Chief of the Belgian Army. It has been stressed that the Duchess of Brabant will follow the same programme as her fellow students.

About author

Laura is from Belgium and has a passion for all things royal. She is Europe Correspondent for Royal Central since October 2016 and has contributed to other news websites. In her daily life she is a fulltime student in EU-politics and political communication.