Belgium’s Prince Laurent is stirring trouble again, and this is time its over a very sensitive issue. The Prince recently did a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRCongo), a central African country once colonized by Belgium. Tensions between the two countries have been around for decades, and for Laurent to go DRCongo on his own initiative is creating a major controversy.
Prime Minister Yves Leterme sent a not to Prince Laurent, telling him not to go. When asked to comment, Leterme said “Despite the demands of the federal government and the palace, the prince decided not to adjourn his impending departure.”
It is believed Laurent went to the country to explore its deforestation issue. It is also not known if the DRCongo welcomed him.
But what is clear is that some Belgian politicians are calling for a review of his dotation, or payment from the state, and maybe removing the Prince as an official member of the royal family
“If he wants to be rid of the official side of his life, then we should still look at that. The debate is in any case on the table,” said vice Prime Minister Steven Vanackere, a Christian Democrat, during a morning radio talk show.
Relations between Belgium and DRCongo are very sensitive. During colonization, millions of Congolese died or were mutilated by the Belgians.
Last year, when DRCongo celebrated its 50th year of independence, King Albert II and Queen Paola were present, but only after careful planning and consideration of the DRCongo.
Prince Laurent, the youngest of the King and Queen’s three children, has long been a troublemaker in the family. He stirred controversy recently for sending his daughter to a French school despite linguistic tensions in Belgium, and also lost his driver’s license this year for speeding.
Source: De Morgen