|Crown Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, will become Belgium's seventh King.|
But those who oppose the Monarchy will have to accept King Philippe in either spelling. The vast majority of the Belgians could care less about this beat-up controversy that isn't really one.
In His farewell speech King Albert had shown confidence in his heir:
"Je constate que le prince Philippe est bien préparé pour me succéder. Il jouit avec la Princesse Mathilde de toute ma confiance."
"Au fil des années, notamment dans le cadre des missions économiques menées à l'étranger, le Prince Philippe a montré combien ses engagements envers notre pays lui tiennent à cœur."
"I can state that Prince Philippe is well preprared to succeed me. He and Princess Mathilde enjoy my full confidence.
"Over the years especially in leading trade missions abroad, the Prince has shown how much these engagements for our country are dear to his heart."Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (PS = Socialist Party) remarked equally that as Crown Prince Philippe "has seriously and with a sense of responsibility prepared himself for his new functions."
The new king's wife, Princess Mathilde, a popular 40-year-old with an outgoing personality will be the country's first queen of Belgian origin. Their oldest child, 12-year-old Princess Elisabeth, will be in line to become Belgium's first reigning queen.
|Flemish newspapers on the King's abdication.|
21st July is the Belgian National Holiday celebrating the first swearing-in ceremony of King Leopold I of the Belgians in 1831. Philippe will become the second King of the Belgians to take the oath of office on 21st July.
At 9am a Roman Catholic Te Deum mass will be celebrated in Brussels' St Michael's Cathedral.
At 10:30am King Albert will sign the official documents marking his abdication. The ceremony will take place at the royal palace of Brussels. King Albert of the Belgians will retain the title 'king', but will lose the qualification 'of the Belgians'.
At noon his son will swear his oath of allegiance to the Belgian constitution and become the new King of the Belgians. To mark the accession a canon salute will be fired.
At 1pm the new King and Queen will appear on the balcony of the royal palace of Brussels. They will be joined by the other members of the Belgian Royal Family. No foreign monarchs will attend the ceremony.
At 2:10pm King Philippe will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Brussels.
At 4:05 King Philippe will inspect the troops. This will be followed at 5pm by a military march-past.
At 7pm the King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will attend festivities in the Park of Brussels.
At 11pm King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will join the people of Brussels in watching a fireworks display.
|The Duke and Duchess of Brabant, soon King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians.|