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  #101  
Old 04-03-2014, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Marchesina View Post
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this is a quite interesting article about the "news" Prince Laurent has found when he woke up.
Apperently King Philippe is "not pleased" by the way his own mother delivered her own statement about Laurent. Since the enthronement he had wished for his family to have a coordinated communication under the supervision of his own press office. And personally I find it a good idea since the family has always had problems with the press due to a mismanagement of the communication.
But they say the councellor of Albert and Paola thought to skip the royal guidelines and give the Belga Agency this bulletin himself. I recall a couple of years ago someone in Belgium complaining about these courtiers who used to be around Albert and Paola (old noblemen and officers) who had no idea how to manage a modern royal family and always put a spoke into Philippe's wheel

another interesting thing is that apparently the Palace (Philippe) is negotiating with the FAO to obtain an ambassador position for Laurent. This shows how great Philippe is and how supportive for his brother he is.
I agree with everything you have said, because I think it is very important that any institution such as a royal family or indeed a government have good co-ordination when issuing statements in public. Quite often, a government minister will make a declaration at odds with, say, the prime minister's views and so the result is confusion and annoyance with the general public.

In the case of the Belgian Royal Family, I think it is vital that King Philippe continues to take charge of communications and to stamp his own seal, so to speak, on how the family is perceived. He is the King and he should be in charge of everything now!

As for Prince Laurent, I am glad he seems to be recovering and it is heartening that he appears to have the support of his sister and brother and, of-course, his wife and children. He is quite a character and at times a maverick almost, but I am quite sure there is a valid and important role he can have in an official capacity.
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  #102  
Old 04-03-2014, 02:39 PM
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Seeing the recent happenings, maybe Paola&Albert's children didn't really mind that they remained abroad the past days... :-)
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  #103  
Old 04-03-2014, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
I am quite sure there is a valid and important role he can have in an official capacity.
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree.
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  #104  
Old 04-03-2014, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
... [snipped] In the case of the Belgian Royal Family, I think it is vital that King Philippe continues to take charge of communications and to stamp his own seal, so to speak, on how the family is perceived. He is the King and he should be in charge of everything now!
... [snipped]
You are right. Given the state of the relationships within the Belgian royal family, it would be deemed expedient for King Philippe to centralise communications, thereby managing the PR in a more coordinated way.
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  #105  
Old 04-03-2014, 03:38 PM
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I really honestly think IMO that the relationship between the royal children and King Albert and Queen Paola has broken down. It certainly seems the official working relationship between the current Royal Court & the staff of the former royal couple is non-existent.
As someone else said maybe Laurent and his siblings were quite happy their parents weren't there!
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  #106  
Old 04-03-2014, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
It is quite interesting that when Albert was king regnant, there was very little criticism on him, and a lot focussed on Filip. Now Filip is king, the newspapers seem to have swapped father and son in their search for an easy target within the RF (Laurent often obliged for this role too). Since 21 July Filip can do no wrong in the press while all of a sudden his father is critisized a lot. It is an interesting mechanism.

I do not know for what reasons Albert and Paola stayed abroad. But like almost any parent in the world I am quite sure that they hope for the best for all their children, dispite what mistakes they may have. They won't be the first people who have difficulties in seeing their child(ren) taking over their job. In many family businesses the same thing happens. In my own country prince Bernhard always found it very difficult to listen to his daughters commands from The Hague and at times he went his own way, making telephone calls to journalists etc. to give his side of a certain story.

And although I sympathize with Laurent's situation, not all can be blamed on his parents. He is 50 y/o man by now and is responsible for his own life. There are many people who had a difficult upbringing but who were able to find a way to deal with it and move on.
Albert was only respected by the press when he was the monarch tbh, everyone pointed his flaws and issues when he was prince and now, so it was more due to respect to the office than to respect to the man itself (and so far, he's earned all the backslash he's ever gotten tbh).

Talking to some belgian friends, people are surprised about Philippe, consider him a very good King, sensible, hardworking and committed (so the media goes with that, even the flemish one has been quite kind to him) and think that his family is just throwing him under the bus, most of them think badly of Albert and even Laurent's image is improving because he's seen as the product of bad upbringing (even if I do agree with your opinion of him being a grown man now).

This is a massive mess but tbh, Philippe's position is strenghtening, because he's seen as a person who has a bigger moral ground to stand on than his parents and it reflects in public opinion.
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  #107  
Old 04-03-2014, 03:47 PM
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This mess is getting worse:
"Royal observers in the Belgian press said Paola took the unusual step fearing Laurent was being ignored by Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde".
Hospitalised Prince Laurent of Belgium 'improving' says mother Business Standard
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  #108  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyFinn View Post
This mess is getting worse:
"Royal observers in the Belgian press said Paola took the unusual step fearing Laurent was being ignored by Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde".
Hospitalised Prince Laurent of Belgium 'improving' says mother Business Standard
You gotta be kidding me...
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  #109  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:29 PM
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Coordination is necessary. However, I'm more curious as to why 1.) why would Paola even feel the need to make a public statement I (sounds rather defensive, if you ask me); and 2.) why was it just from Paola and not from Paola and Albert (perhaps, it's true that Laurent is the product of another relationship??). All in all ... not good PR.
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  #110  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:32 PM
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Basically Paola seems to think being Queen means she can do what she wants. She doesn't seem to see a problem with issuing a statement to try and save her reputation even though it tries to shift blame away from her onto her other children and family.
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  #111  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:41 PM
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I feel sorry for Queen Paola. She is an Italian mamma and I am sure she wrote her heartfelt letter with the best intentions. The Flemish media are always eager to interpret everything in a doublehearted meaning.

The main problem seems to be that the Palais Royal (Philippe & Mathilde) kept the information very minimal: "Private matters of the Prince". In my opinion the information was too minimal, it led to wild speculations about the state of the Prince.

The Belvédère (Albert & Paola) suddenly issued a heartfelt and quite personal communiqué. This was a total breach with the policy from the Palais Royal. I understand the irritation but suggesting a new "rift" within the Belgian royal family goes too far.

I feel the Belgian media are blowing it up, out of all proportions. It is the old framework of the once nearly collapsed marriage of Albert & Paola, the alleged bad relationship with the three children and the almost traditional trenches between parts of the family (think of the family wars with Leopold III or Leopold II). It is kind of sad that a well-meant letter by Queen Paola has such an unintended effect.
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  #112  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:44 PM
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Apart from being a good brother in providing Laurent with something to do, the king also makes a good manager. Having Laurent around feeling depressed and behaving like a loose cannon is not good for the monarchy. He was never supposed to get his own job like f.. the Lux. and Dutch princes. So they should find somthing to keep him occupied and out of trouble.

The communication department in Brussels is getting more streamlined indeed. But it seems that some members still have difficulties in getting used to it. Princess Claire also has her own twitter account.

---
According to the VRT (Flemish public television - very reliable), the palace is not happy with Paola's action. They wanted to protect the privacy of Laurent but with this statement Paola actually fueled the rumours about Laurents health.
http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuw...land/1.1929393

The tv station also notes that there hasn't been much understanding about Paola's statement. People are puzzled why they didn't return earlier. Albert and Paola misjudged the public sentiment.
http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuw...land/1.1929087

They note that the press release has n use at all: it helps nobody, not Laurent, not Paola and not Filip.
http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuw...land/1.1929135

VTM reports about 'storm in the palace', Paola's disclosure of private matters leads to upheavel within the family:
http://nieuws.vtm.be/binnenland/8639...-met-de-vinger
The king and queen Mathilde visited Laurent again today.
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  #113  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:45 PM
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An Italian mamma who is quite happy to stay on her holidays while her such loved son is in hospital.
IMO this statement was damage control to try to minimize the damage done by not visiting sooner. To be its cold and calculated to gain sympathy from the media for her and Albert.
If Albert and Paola felt they had done the right thing and their family where content with them staying away then why the need to issue a statement? Any why go behind the back of Philippe and his staff? clearly there are strained relations all around.
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  #114  
Old 04-03-2014, 05:06 PM
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In first instance it did not look too serious at all. The Prince was admitted into hospital because of fatigue. Then it became a pneumonia. The Prince was brought into a coma but the expectation was only for a limited time. A sudden return of King Albert and Queen Paola could also have led to wild speculations about a detoriation or an acute emergency. All this while the Prince was (and is) in good hands and looked after by many. It is difficult to judge from the outside but I have no reason to disqualify King Albert and Queen Paola. They probably agreed with Claire to stay away, they probably were in daily contact with the medical team. Who knows.
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  #115  
Old 04-03-2014, 07:31 PM
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I really love Albert and Paola. BUT I think Paola shouldn"t have sent this letter/note to Belga. Qui s'excuse s'accuse !
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  #116  
Old 04-03-2014, 09:07 PM
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This ghastly situation highlights the problem of having 2 Kings and 3 Queens and each with their own communications people. Paola's latest salvo blaming King Phillipe is just incomprehensible. Trying to throw the new king under a bus to make yourself look good is nasty and futile. Their absence said it all.

I believe it is inappropriate for Albert, having Abdicated, to act like he is still the King and his wife Paola, the Queen. It's almost like nothing happened except that Phillipe and Mathilde picked up the extra work but his parents think they are still in charge.

This situation would almost be funny if it weren't so serious. The old adage of "too many chiefs and not enough indians" comes to mind. One Dowager Queen is OK but following abdication perhaps it would have been better if they had reverted to Prince and Princess like the Dutch model then everybody would know who was in charge.

As things stand poor Phillipe seems to spend as much time doing family fire fighting as carrying out the duties expected of him as King. His saving grace is that he has publicly supported his younger brother in this health crisis and appears to be taking a personal interest in his life in general.
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  #117  
Old 04-03-2014, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
In first instance it did not look too serious at all. The Prince was admitted into hospital because of fatigue. Then it became a pneumonia. The Prince was brought into a coma but the expectation was only for a limited time. A sudden return of King Albert and Queen Paola could also have led to wild speculations about a detoriation or an acute emergency. All this while the Prince was (and is) in good hands and looked after by many. It is difficult to judge from the outside but I have no reason to disqualify King Albert and Queen Paola. They probably agreed with Claire to stay away, they probably were in daily contact with the medical team. Who knows.
I think putting out this statement and referring to Laurent as her most "vulnerable" child is going to lead to even more speculation about his condition than if they simply returned to Belgium to visit a son in hospital.
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  #118  
Old 04-03-2014, 10:04 PM
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This situation would almost be funny if it weren't so serious. The old adage of "too many chiefs and not enough indians" comes to mind. One Dowager Queen is OK but following abdication perhaps it would have been better if they had reverted to Prince and Princess like the Dutch model then everybody would know who was in charge.
.
I agree with your post, MARG, but for me this situation is evidence that abdications do not really fit with the concept of monarchy. As much as we all like the spectacle of the big parties for the new monarchs and seeing the tiaras being worn by different heads, abdication is not as straightforwardly positive as some seem to think. Some countries can make it work reasonably well, but it clearly brings with it enormous difficulties, both personally and publicly.

Within any royal family, each member more less has their place; an understanding of their position and what their duties to The Firm are. With an abdication that all changes, which can't be easy for anyone.
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  #119  
Old 04-03-2014, 11:21 PM
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I think there are two components to any royal family, the official/business part and the private family part. As with any family business situations arrive where the two components will bleed over into each other; the real problem arises, IMO, when the organization doesn't have well established methods of dealing with trouble OR when trouble arises during times of major change.

It seems the Belgian royal family doesn't lack for difficult personalities. I feel bad for all of Albert's children, (including, if true, the child he had out of marriage). If even a small part of the information that has seeped out regarding the past is true then they must have all had very difficult and tumultuous upbringings. As others have said, though, Laurent is a grown man and has to accept responsibility for himself and his own life. I also hesitate to completely condemn Albert and Paola because I know that what can seem like heartlessness to outsiders can sometimes be family members being wary of a child or sibling who, because of personality or mental illness, has hurt them repeatedly in the past.

I know many are proponents of modern royal families and their open communication, (and I like hearing news as much as anyone), but I still think "when in doubt, say nothing" can be a good guideline in difficult times.
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  #120  
Old 04-04-2014, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by PetticoatLane View Post
I agree with your post, MARG, but for me this situation is evidence that abdications do not really fit with the concept of monarchy. As much as we all like the spectacle of the big parties for the new monarchs and seeing the tiaras being worn by different heads, abdication is not as straightforwardly positive as some seem to think. Some countries can make it work reasonably well, but it clearly brings with it enormous difficulties, both personally and publicly.

Within any royal family, each member more less has their place; an understanding of their position and what their duties to The Firm are. With an abdication that all changes, which can't be easy for anyone.
If Philip Ziegler, biographer of Edward VIII is to be believed (which is probably most of the time), after Edward abdicated, his successor George VI subsequently spent much of his energy on housekeeping matters relating to his predecessor, the newly created Duke of Windsor. Indeed, those issues did not seem to go away for years. (On the other hand, if Edward VIII had not abdicated, then those issues, in a slightly different guise, would presumably have been felt even more acutely.)

So I think that abdication in the cornucopia of Royal events is a fact of life, although when contemplated its consequences need to be anticipated clearly.

It's evident, though, that the abdication of King Albert in 2013 and that of Leopold III 1950/51, were for rather different reasons, with the dynamics of their respective compulsion being felt at rather different levels by the sovereigns involved and their people.

In neighbouring Luxembourg, when the French and local socialists forced Grand-Duchess Marie-Adelaïde to abdicate in 1919, they seem to have created a pattern for the mode of succession ever since.

The duties of Monaco's Rainier III were not often thought of in religious terms, but Rainier himself did confess that he thought of his rôle as reigning Prince as being akin to something between a duty and a priesthood. In other words, not something that can be turned on and off like a tap, at convenience.

I was not surprised when Prince Albert of Monaco, instead of taking over after an abdication, was called on to head a short Regency when Rainier III was in his final illness.

The rôles of minor Royals inevitably change - even if slightly - following the accession of a monarch. It is fair to say that Laurent, as a younger sibling, has never been at the forefront of attention, although he is undoubtedly in a very good position to fulfill useful and worthwhile missions and tasks.

Let's hope he will be well soon.
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