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Who is Prince Emmanuel of Belgium?

October is a month of royal birthdays, and two of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium’s children celebrate their arrival into the world this month. 

Prince Emmanuel of Belgium is the first birthday of the month. His Royal Highness was born on the 4th of October 2005 in Érasme d’Anderlecht Hospital in Brussels, the third child and second son of the then-Duke and Duchess of Brabant, now King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

He was christened on the 10th of December of the same year. According to Roman Catholic tradition, he had one godfather, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, and one godmother, his maternal aunt, Countess Elisabeth d’Udekem d’Acoz. 

His education was on the path of looking more or less the same as his siblings, with Prince Emmanuel attending St John Berchman’s College in Brussels like his sister Elisabeth and brother Gabriel had done before him. However, a diagnosis of dyslexia in 2012 prompted his parents to send him to Eureka Special School in Kessel-Lo, a small town outside of Brussels. The school caters to children of normal intelligence and gifted children that have dyslexia. 

This early dyslexia diagnosis represented a first in the royal world, with many other royals suffering from it but only getting diagnosed with it at a much older age. This could have something to do with Queen Mathilde being a licensed speech therapist who had her own activity before becoming a member of the Royal Family and therefore being somewhat trained to recognise speech impediments even in young children. Of course, this has never been confirmed, as the Royal Household only revealed that Prince Emmanuel had changed schools because of a dyslexia diagnosis. 

Prince Emmanuel with his family. © Koninklijk Paleis, Brussel/Palais Royal, Bruxelles/Königlicher Palast, Brüssel/Royal Palace, Brussels Photographer: Bas Bogaerts

His Royal Highness speaks fluent Dutch, French and English, which is why in 2020, he was able to make the decision of changing schools and following in the footsteps of his older brother by finishing his high school with two years at The International School of Brussels, an English language private school in Watermael-Boisfort, a small town near Brussels. 

Prince Emmanuel, like his siblings, cultivates both a sporty side, with his love of cycling, skiing, tennis, sailing and judo, and a musical side; the Royal Household’s website states that he loves to play the saxophone. 

Like the rest of his siblings, Prince Emmanuel also places a lot of attention to his more charitable side, which was even more evident during the global shutdown, when the whole family took time out of their agendas to make phone and video calls to nursing homes and care centres to chat with residents and keep up with the real-time effects the isolation was having on the Belgian population. 

It is not yet known to the public what the future will hold from Prince Emmanuel – if he will continue his education past high school and what field of study he will end up choosing, but, whatever his choices will be, His Royal Highness can count on the support of his parents and siblings, with whom he enjoys a very close relationship, displayed in the many events the family attended together.