HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Duchess of Brabant, was born on 20 January 1973 in Uccle or Ukkel in Flemish, one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region. She is the daughter of the Count and Countess Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz.
Princess Mathilde went to primary school in Bastogne, followed by secondary school at the Institut de la Vierge Fidèle in Brussels. From 1991 to 1994, she studied to be a speech therapist at the Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels, graduating magna cum laude.
She set up her own professional speech therapy practice in Brussels, where she worked from 1995 until the end of 1999, when she married the heir to the Belgian throne, HRH Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant. At the same time, she began studying for a master’s degree in psychology at the Catholic University of Louvain. She graduated cum laude in 2002.
Fund Princess Mathilde was created in December 2000. Each year, the Fund identifies projects that aim to make a difference in helping vulnerable people. It bestows an annual Prize on the most valuable project. In addition, Princess Mathilde has given her patronage to several associations dealing with issues of concern to vulnerable people.
She also attaches prime importance to educational subjects, the empowerment of women and supports projects to fight illiteracy.
In May 2002, she was a member of the Belgian delegation at the UN Conference on Children in New York.
Princess Mathilde accompanies Prince Philippe on missions abroad that aim to enhance the image of Belgium and promote Belgian commercial and economic interests. Missions cover all continents and led them to Australia in November 2002.
Princess Mathilde was granted the title of Princess of Belgium upon her marriage to Prince Philippe of Belgium on 4th December 1999. The wedding at the Saint-Michel et Gudule Cathedrale was the biggest media event in Belgium since the death and succeeding funeral of HM King Baudouin of the Belgians in 1993.
Opinion polls show that Princess Mathilde figures among the ten most popular Belgians with no. 1 position taken by her father-in-law, HM King Albert II of the Belgians.