King Philippe celebrates his 5th Anniversary as monarch in Belgium on 21 July 2018.

Philippe, King of the Belgians. Photo: © Royal Palace

He was sworn in about one hour later following his father’s abdication for health reasons.

He took the constitutional oath before the combined chambers of parliament during his enthronement on 21 July 2013, as the 7th King of the Belgians.

The Belgian Monarchy has released four new photos to mark this special occasion.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde. Photo: © Royal Palace

About King Philippe

Prince Philippe Léopold Louis Marie was born on 15 April 1960 at Belvédère Castle, Laeken, north of Brussels, during his uncle King Boudoir’s reign.

He was christened one month later at Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg in Brussels on 17 May and named after his great-great-grandfather Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders.

His paternal grandfather King Leopold III and maternal grandmother, Donna Luisa Princess Ruffo di Calabria were chosen as godparents.

Prince Philippe is the eldest son of King Albert II and Queen Paola, with a younger sister Princess Astrid and brother Prince Laurent.

He was educated bilingually (Dutch and French) at Belgian state primary and secondary schools, before continuing his studies at the Belgian Royal Military Academy.

He chose the join the Air Force, following his passion for flying and space adventure, and qualified as a fighter pilot. He completed his military training with a para-commando course.

The King continued his studies abroad where he spent one term at Trinity College, Oxford, in Great Britain before spending two years at Stanford University in the USA. He graduated with a MA in Political Science.

King Philippe returned to Belgium in 1985 where he spent the next eight years learning about Belgium, including its history, literature and philosophy. He met his future subjects through numerous visits, meetings, conferences and missions, including leaders and ordinary citizens.

He became the heir apparent to the throne, following the death of King Baudouin in 1993, and his father’s accession.

Philippe married Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz, the daughter of a Belgian count, in a civil ceremony at the Brussels Town Hall on 4 December 1999, followed by a religious ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Michel and Saint Gueule in Brussels.

They have four children:

  • Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, who is expected to become Belgium’s first queen regnant
  • Prince Gabriel
  • Prince Emmanuel
  • Princess Eléonore

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde combine their family life with ceremonial and official duties, whilst supervising their children’s education. The children attend a Dutch school and enjoy a multilingual upbringing.

The Belgian Royal Family. From left to right: Princess Eléonore, Prince Gabriel, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, Princess Elisabeth Duchess of Brabant and Prince Emmanuel. Photo: © Royal Palace

He has worked hard to support dialogue between Belgium’s three language communities of French, Dutch and Germans. He set up the Prince Philippe Fund in 1998 to promote dialogue between these different communities to foster greater metal recognition and respect for their identities and cultures.

The King regularly meets with victims of many forms of marginalisation, whether it is due to illness, social exclusion, accidents or natural disasters.

He congratulated the Belgian Red Devils following their success at the recent FIFA World Cup in Russia, as they made the Semi-Finals.

King Philippe and the heir to the Belgian throne, Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant. Photo: © Royal Palace

King Philippe is descended from Queen Victoria’s uncle, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfed, who was invited to become King of the Belgians in 1831, so he is a distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Visiting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle. © Royal Palace

Official Visits

The Belgian Royal Couple met Queen Elizabeth for tea at Windsor Castle during an official visit to Great Britain on Saturday, 14 July 2018.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde also welcomed the Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne Cosgrove with pomp and pageantry during an official visit to Belgium on 27 June 2018.

With Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne during an official visit, 27 June 2018. Photo: © Royal Palace

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