10 years ago, the world witnessed the last royal wedding of the 20th century. It was between Philippe, the heir to the Belgian throne, and Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz, and today they mark a decade of marriage.
When it was announced that the Crown Prince was to marry Mathilde, a member of Belgium’s untitled nobility and a speech therapist, there was some accusations of an arranged marriage. Philippe was never seriously linked to any other woman, and the courtship between him and Mathilde was done very secretly. The accusations were so rampant, the palace had to release a statement denying an arranged union.
On December 4th, the wedding took place at the Cathedral of Saint Michel. Mathilde was escorted down the aisle by her father, who was made a Count as a result of his daughter becoming Belgium’s future Queen. Royals from all over Europe and the world witnessed the event.
Since the wedding, Philippe and Mathilde are proud parents to four children: Elisabeth born in 2001, Gabriel who came two years later, Emmanuel who was born in 2005, and Eleonore who arrived last year.
The couple officially celebrated their wedding anniversary over the summer to coincide with King Albert II and Queen Paola’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Despite rumors of their marriage being fixed, Philippe and Mathilde’s union has clearly flourished, and royal watchers can agree that the two are quite happy together.
May they have many more years of wedded bliss!
On Friday, the Belgian royal family gathered for a private funeral of Prince Alexandre at Our Lady of Laeken. The half brother of King Albert II, the Prince died on Sunday due to pulmonary embolism at age 67.
In attendance were Alexandre’s wife, Princess Lea, and two stepchildren. The immediate royal family there included the King and Queen Paola, Queen Fabiola, the Crown Princely couple, and Prince Laurent and Princess Claire. Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz were unable to go since they are currently in Colombia.
Also attendance was Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri. His mother, the late Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte, was the sister of King Albert II, and therefore the half-sister of Prince Alexandre.
Born in 1942, Prince Alexandre was the son of King Leopold III and his second wife, Princess Lillian. He has two full blooded younger sisters, Esmeralda and Marie-Christine. The other children of Leopold III – Josephine-Charlotte, King Albert II and the late King Baudouin – were from the King’s first wife, Queen Astrid.
Although he was the Prince of Belgium, Alexandre lived a private life. He studied medicine and worked a bit in the field. He secretly married the twice divorced Lea Wolman in 1991, who had a son and daughter from her previous marriages. The Prince did not reveal his marriage to Lea until 1998, out of concern of his mother finding out.
Prince Alexandre lost whatever rights he had to the Belgian throne. This is because of Belgium’s constitution which forbids royal family members from marrying without permission from the King.
Alexandre suffered from heart problems throughout his life, like his father and the late King Baudouin.
After today’s funeral, he was laid to rest in a chapel beside the royal crypt.