Princess Elisabeth of Belgium has paved the way for a new generation of heirs in Europe to embrace their roles in a continuously changing landscape.
Elisabeth Thérèse Marie Hélène was born at 9:58 pm on 25 October 2001, the first of four children born to the then-Duke and Duchess of Brabant.
As it happens for many firstborns, she shaped the education path for the rest of her siblings: all four attended more or less the same schools, at least until the first few years of high school.
But her “training” to be the future Queen of the Belgians made her a reference for other future royals in Europe.
In particular, it seems like Princess Leonor of Spain has found in Princess Elisabeth a role model: both of them attended UWC Atlantic in Wales, an international school that was clearly aimed at preparing both of them to deal with the international aspects of their future roles.
Princess Elisabeth opted to get her military training out of the way before enrolling in university, which will also apply to Princess Leonor; however, while the Belgian heir has undergone just one year of training, the future Spanish Queen will be a cadet for three.
Princess Elisabeth graduated from a military academy following one year of social and military sciences studies, a theme she has carried to her university.
Since October 2021, she has been enrolled at Lincoln College, University of Oxford, studying history and politics.
Since her first official engagement at age five, she has gradually taken more and more of the spotlight in the Belgian agenda. She recently accompanied her father at two of 2023’s biggest royal events: the Coronation of King Charles III (Princess Elisabeth was with her father for the reception) and Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein’s wedding to Princess Rajwa.
From what we have seen of her in public, she seems to have inherited many of the traits that make her parents so popular: King Philippe’s reservedness and Queen Mathilde’s sweetness, the King’s preparedness and the Queen’s empathy, her dad’s quiet determination and her mum’s care for others.
She has also put her own spin into her story and will undoubtedly continue to do so, supported by her parents and her family at large.
The only downside to her preparation, at least so far, is the lack of experience in Belgian higher education: she finished high school and is attending university in the UK. And while this is an excellent opportunity to refine her diplomatic skills, detractors might say that she didn’t shine enough of a spotlight on Belgian educational excellence.
However, we don’t know what her future holds. With every speech she gave, and every event she attended, Princess Elisabeth demonstrated that one day, she will make a phenomenal asset to her country, as well as an excellent mentor to any other royals she will meet on her path.