Belgium has a new King! Yesterday trained airforce pilot Prince Philippe was sworn in as King Philippe I, following the abdication of his father King Albert II.
If you are a Tintin fan you will remember, in King Ottokar’s Sceptre, when the young reporter saves King Muskar XII from a plot to force his abdication, a plot which threatens the entire Syldavian system of monarchy. But in this case the abdication of Albert II was for more benign reasons, the outgoing king stating that at his age he could not carry out his royal duties as he should be able to.
Illustration from page 57 of “King Ottokar’s Sceptre”.
King Albert will be remembered with fondness by the people of Belgium, as a popular monarch who worked to keep his country ticking over during a political crisis between 2007 and 2011, during which Belgium did not have a government for a world-record period of 541 days.
On 1 July 2009, King Albert paid a visit to the Hergé Museum! During a tour of the Museum, Albert proved himself to be a connoisseur of Tintin’s adventures, but also a big fan of Hergé‘s other series about a couple of Brussels street urchins named Quick and Flupke.
King Albert II visits the Hergé Museum, accompanied in this photo by Fanny and Nick Rodwell.
Yesterday marks a new chapter in the history of Belgium. King Philippe is the seventh king of the country, and his inauguration coincided with Belgian National Day. Thousands of people took to the streets to witness military parades, ceremonies and parties… and of course to show their support for the new king and his wife, Queen Mathilde.
Crowds gather to watch military parades in front of the Royal Palace.
And a new queen means that Belgium is now the only country in the world with three queens: Queen Mathilde of course but also Albert’s wife Queen Paola and Queen Fabiola, the elderly widow of previous King Baudouin (King Albert’s uncle), both of whom retain their titles.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Sunday 21 July 2013, www.people.com.