After Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Belgium’s king also to abdicate throne
By FFE EU News Staff
It rarely happens that Kings or Queens abdicate their thrones, but it seems Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands started the ball rolling and now the King of Belgium is following suit.
King Albert II addressed the nation at 6pm on Wednesday. His speech was broadcast live by Belgium’s 4 big TV and radio channels. The king announced that he is to abdicate on 21 July, Belgium’s National Holiday. Prince Filip, his son will take the oath of allegiance to the Belgian Constitution on the same day as the abdication before a meeting of both houses of parliament.
79-year-old Albert has said on different occasions that he is tired. At the same time, his son Filip suggested that he is ready to take over. Next month, Albert will have been on the throne for 20 years. King Albert has already informed the Inner Cabinet of his intention.
King Albert is 79 and has made it clear that he is ‘tired’
It is understood that King Albert is abdicating for health reasons, though there are some speculations that the court case brought by Delphine Boël, King Albert’s illegitimate daughter who is seeking recognition and DNA evidence through the courts may have brought the decision forward.
Prince Filip will take the oath of allegiance to the Belgian Constitution on the same day as the abdication before a meeting of both houses of parliament.
King Albert is 79 and has made it clear that he is ‘tired’. Next month he will have been on the throne for two decades. The news of the abdication does not come entirely out of the blue, but will still be a surprise to many. The king follows the example of his father King Leopold III, who abdicated in favour of his son, King Boudewijn, in the aftermath of the Second World War.
King Albert ascended the Belgian throne on the death of his brother, King Boudewijn, 20 years ago next month, but the king has decided to abdicate before this anniversary, on the national holiday.
It was reported that the monarch spoke at length with Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (Francophone socialist) on Monday. On Wednesday the king attended a meeting of the inner cabinet held at the Royal Palace during which he announced his decision. The prime minister then informed all party leaders. The full cabinet is met at 5:30pm to endorse the abdication as all the king’s decisions need to be approved by the cabinet.
There have been rumours in the Danish capital, Copenhagen that Queen Margrethe II is also contemplating on passing the torch to his son Crown Prince Frederik, who has been very active in his royal duties since he married Princess Mary. There are also speculations that Norway and Sweden would follow suit.
All royal watchers can just wait and see if we would be seeing more and more younger royalty at the helm of the monarchs in Europe.
With contributions from Colin Clapson.