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What’s the correct title for Belgium’s monarch?

How do you correctly title the King of Belgium? Is it “of Belgium” or “of the Belgians”? We explain below:

With King Albert of Belgium hospitalised, some have questioned why he’s called “King Albert of Belgium” while his son is titled “King Philippe of the Belgians.”

The answer is actually quite simple.

The reigning monarch and their consort are the King and Queen of the Belgians. This title reflects that the monarch is the leader of the Belgian people.

When King Albert abdicated, he was allowed to retain his title of King but with a slight change. Since Albert renounced the throne in 2013, he can no longer use the title “of the Belgians” as he is no longer the monarch over the people. As such, he and his wife are the King and Queen of Belgium.

Instead of having a King Emeritus or Queen Emerita (as was the case for the Emperor in Japan when he abdicated), the “of” part of Albert’s title changed to reflect that he was no longer on the throne.

There was a precedent for this. After Albert’s brother, Baudoin, died, Baudoin’s widow, Fabiola was able to retain her title of Queen – but “of Belgium,” not “of the Belgians” as that title has passed to Queen Paola once Albert ascended the throne.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.