Prince Philippe 'ready to reign'

10th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 April 2006 BRUSSELS - When Prince Philippe was strongly criticised in a Flemish newspaper interview a few years ago- by renowned historian Herman Liebaers who said: "He's not capable of ruling", the outrage that followed eventually forced Liebaers to issue an apology. Unfortunately, the rumour stuck; that the crown prince was not up to the job of ascending the Belgian throne. And to make matters worse, the royal palace adhered to its duty of reserve and refused to comment on the situation. Some royal

10 April 2006
 
BRUSSELS - When Prince Philippe was strongly criticised in a Flemish newspaper interview a few years ago- by renowned historian Herman Liebaers who said: "He's not capable of ruling", the outrage that followed eventually forced Liebaers to issue an apology.
 
Unfortunately, the rumour stuck; that the crown prince was not up to the job of ascending the Belgian throne. And to make matters worse, the royal palace adhered to its duty of reserve and refused to comment on the situation.
 
Some royal watchers now say that the prince is ready to become king, but Philippe seems to be more intent on raising his children first.
 
Prince Philippe was groomed from childhood to succeed his childless uncle, King Baudouin. But upon Baudouin's untimely death in 1993, the 33-year-old prince was deemed insufficiently experienced and the role went to his father instead.
 
He studied at the College Saint-Michel in Brussels and the Abdijschool van Zevenkerken in Bruges. This was followed by a four-year stint, from 1978 to 1981, at the Royal Military Academy and training in the Belgian Armed Forces as both a pilot and paratrooper.
 
Upon the death of King Baudouin four decades into his rule, the 59-year-old Prince Albert, who had been expected to step aside, became Belgium's new King. Philippe, meanwhile, took over his father's post as Honorary President of the Belgian Foreign Trade Office.
 
Philippe met 23-year-old aristocrat Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz in 1996. After a three-year courtship, the couple married - and it was not long before Mathilde won over the hearts of the Belgian people.
 
She also bridged the country's difficult linguistic divisions having been raised in the French part of the country, but coming from a noble Flemish family.
 
Crown Prince Philippe enjoyed a boost in popularity following the couple's wedding and enthusiasm for the pair further increased with the arrival of their first child, Elisabeth, in 2001. Elisabeth was followed by Gabriel in 2003 and then Emmanuel in 2005.
 
When she eventually ascends the throne, Princess Elisabeth will become the only female Belgian monarch in 171 years, thanks to a 1991 law which ended exclusively male succession.
 
Before that time can come, the much-criticised Prince Philippe will need to first serve (and prove himself) as the nation's monarch. But his rigorous upbringing has also placed him in no hurry, preferring instead to simply enjoy his children's upbringing.
 
"I am ready for the challenge of ruling, but only when the time is right," he said.
 
Of his daughter Elisabeth, who is second in line to the throne, Prince Philippe said shortly after her birth: "I hope that my daughter will be a great queen, and, first of all, a great woman".
 
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
 
Subject: Belgian news

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