Mathilde, Queen of the Belgians, celebrates her 46th birthday on Sunday, 20 January 2019, with a new photo released to mark this special occasion.
Mathilde was born in Uccle in Belgium in 1973, the eldest daughter of Count Patrick d’Udekem d’coz and Countess Anna Maria Komorowka.
She has three younger sisters, Marie-Alix, Elisabeth, Hélène and brother Charles and spent her childhood years at her family estate, Losing Castle in Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, Bastogne, in the Ardennes region.
Mathilde attended primary school in Bastogne, high school at the Institut de la Vierge Fidèle before studying speech therapy at the Institut libra Marie Haps in Brussels from 1991 to 1994, graduating with a diploma with high honours.
She set up her own practice as a speech therapist in Brussels from 1995 to 1999, before completing a Master’s degree in psychology at the Université Catholique de Louvain in 2002, with honours.
Mathilde married the heir to the Belgian throne, Prince Philippe, on 4 December 1999 in Brussels, first in a civil ceremony at Brussels Town Hall, followed by a religious one at the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula.
She became the Duchess of Brabant and a Princess of Belgium on 8 November 1999, which came into effect on her wedding day.
Matilde and Philippe have four children: the heir Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (born 25 October 2001), Prince Gabriel (born 20 August 2003), Prince Emmanuel (born 4 October 2005) and Princess Eléonore (born 16 April 2008).
Queen of the Belgians
She became Queen when her father-in-law, King Albert II abdicated on 21 July 2013, for health reasons, in favour of her husband.
Queen Mathilde’s official duties mainly focus on social issues, including education, child poverty, intergenerational poverty, and women’s issues, especially literacy.
She has accompanied King Philippe on official visits including Great Britain and received Australia’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove in Brussels during World War I commemorations in 2018.
She is the Honorary President of UNICEF Belgium and Europe’s Special Representative for Immunisation for the World Health Organisation.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will be attending the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos from Tuesday, 22 January, to Thursday, 24 January 2019.
In 2014, Queen Mathilde became the patron of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, an international competition founded in 1937 by King Albert I’s wife, Elisabeth of Bavaria, and composer and violist Eugène Ysaÿe.
Queen Mathilde has a broad interest in art and dance, both modern and classical music, plays the piano and loves literature, as well as enjoying nature and outdoor activities such as cycling, tennis and swimming.
Matilde speaks French, Dutch, English, Italian, some Spanish but only a few words in Polish despite her mother’s heritage.