SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

BelgiumEuropean Royals

Queen Mathilde spreads Christmas cheer at Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital

Photo: Laura Dekkers

It might not have been Father Christmas, but another famous figure in a red suit made a visit to Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital this week when Queen Mathilde stopped by to lift the spirits of patients.

She shared smiles, high fives, and handshakes with young people, chatting with them about their time at the hospital. The Brussels-based facility is the only university hospital in Belgium exclusively for children, and The Queen was able to tour the building, meet with plenty of patients and staff members, and view some of their new technology.

During her tour, Queen Mathilde also was shown the hospital’s school where patients can continue their education whilst enduring treatments that would take them out of school for an extended period. She heard some carols by the children, and then, Father Christmas made a special appearance.

[getty src=”1192283967,1192285353,1192284219,1192284235″ width=”594″ height=”396″]

The Queen, who worked as a speech therapist at one time, showed a keen interest in the facilities and their technological advances for children’s healthcare. At one point she scrubbed up, covering her hair with a surgical cap and her red trouser suit with a tan scrub outfit, and stepped into treatment rooms to view their equipment.

Showing her maternal side, Queen Mathilde stopped to play with a toddler, holding up a ball and grinning as he reached out to pat her face. She flipped through a book with another young boy as he clutched a toy car, and also spoke with a teenage boy who told her more about his treatment at the hospital.

Chatting in English, he shared what he did during three-hour-long treatments, telling The Queen that he usually did homework.

“So what do you like to study?” she asked the boy, who shared that he liked learning French. “Good luck for you,” she said. “It’s such a challenge … to come here. To stay hours.”

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.