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  #41  
Old 03-23-2006, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leanne
Can I ask about the lady who alway accompanies Princess Mathilde? Is she a lady in waiting, an advisor?? What is her background?
Thanks Leanne
Her name is Machteld Fostier, she's Mathilde's advisor. Mathilde doesn't have a lady in waiting.

Mrs Fostier was a diplomate, she's Flemish. I think that , apart from her skills, she was also chosen by Mathilde as a way to be able to speak Dutch each day and that way learn the language quiker.
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  #42  
Old 03-23-2006, 02:14 PM
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Two more of them skiing, the quality is not great, from E-Billedbladet
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  #43  
Old 03-25-2006, 04:00 PM
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Somebody can explain to me how to post photos on the forum because I do not arrive there.
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  #44  
Old 03-26-2006, 06:49 AM
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This is the interview with Prince Philippe from La Libre Belgique of 25 and 26 March 2006. An interview of Christian Laporte.

PHILIPPE'S REPLY

PORTRAIT: A SUPER AMBASSADOR

Since the 9th of August 1993, the day his father acceded to the throne, Philippe has clearly followed in his father's footsteps. In the division of the tasks between Albert II's children, he took over the honorary presidence of the Belgian Office of Foreign Trade, for wich prince Albert had accomplished 105 official missions between 1962 and 1993. A role that the prince likes a lot, because he appreciates the way in which our companies export our national colors. Undoubtedly, just like our king, the division of the foreign trade between the regions must have sometimes surprised him but he didn't hesitate to continue presiding them, no matter the linguistical background of the companies. This concern for bringing the communities together is also very present in the Fund that carries his name and that tries to strenghten the ties between the French-, Dutch- and Germanspeaking poulation.

NUMBER: 47

Since his first economic mission (24-27 October 1993 to Spain), prince Philippe has presided 47 missions in the framework of the foreign trade. This comes down to 13 per year, nearly half of what his father accomplished in...31 years!
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  #45  
Old 03-26-2006, 08:05 AM
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AT THE SERVICE OF OTHERS

Ø Following new attaques, Prince Philippe steps into the limelight
Ø In an exclusive interview he explains his actions
Ø “Our role isn’t in the first place to dominate the media, but to work for the Belgians, every day”

CHRISTIAN LAPORTE

Monseigneur, according to the majority of the participants, the mission to South Africa was a success. How must we explain certain press comments that claim the opposite?
As you say, the most important partcipants were very pleased with the mission: the 3 regions, the diamond sector, enterprises and companies that work with sports infrastructure, our harbours. Also on the diplomatic level, the contacts were more than warm. You see we had well prepared this mission with briefings, but all this happened far away from the cameras. And in South Africa we had many contacts that allowed us to really dig deeper into things – but this happened in a discreet way. That’s often the only way to make serious progress.

Of all Belgian public figures, the members of the royal family have a duty of reserve that doesn’t allow them to react to attaques. Isn’t it frustrating when the attaques are directed against a person in stead of an institution?
In the case of the monarchy, there are constitutional rules, it’s the government that reacts and you have been able to tell for yourself the system worked perfectly with secretary of state Vincent Van Quickenborne, who represented the federal government. Of course, I’m not insensitive to criticism, but luckily we receive a lot of tokens of sympathy, that strenghten us in performing a mission that’s to everybody’s benefit.

Of all the tasks that you perform, the one of super-ambassador for the foreign trade is especially close to your heart. Belgium exporting itself as a country is a wonderfull theme of action and reflection. Is that still your credo?
Yes, more than ever. When my father asked me 12 years ago to take over this role, I was thrilled because I knew how important export and economy are to our country, to our prosperity. And what’s more, there’s so much talent in our country, so much innovation and technology that we can present to the world. And I must add that the missions have evolved: they have adapted themselves to our institutional situation, operations to boost our country’s image have been added, there are a great many more enterprises that participate in the missions, we intensify our missions to the markets that are rapidly growing, like China, India, Brasil our South Africa.

Negative publicity was given to you when it was said that you were opposed to the regionalisation of the forein trade...
Those who participate in the missions know to what extent the regions play a leading role in them. All preparations are made in their full consent. I am present at seminaries, receptions, visits to companies, contacts organized by the regions. Take a close look at the mission to South Africa and you will see that each region, Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels, and the federal state have specific activities. And the companies are directly surrounded by the regions.

The various media are a vital part of the royal function, but isn’t the accessory, the futile empasized?
I don’t judge the world of the media. What’s important for us, is that we try to achieve, every day, and most often discreetly, what’s expected from us: to be there for our people, to listen to them, to participate in their joys and grieves and to respect their identity. The media that wish to show an interest for this will certainly be able to report about this.

The monarchy can’t get involved in politics but woudn’t it be to her benefit to show a certain openness to cut short gossip?
I think we are open, but within the limits of our function and our role in the country. That role isn’t in the first place a mediatic one, but to work for the country and for all Belgians, every day. It’s on the long term that people will be able to judge how well we have or have not perfomed our task.

Wich message would you give young Belgians about the future?
I have a lot of contact with young people and I’m very interested in them and their future. My message is: have confidence in your own talents, be open towards others, involve yourselves in society, surpass your own limits and discover the world. Above all: don’t fall back on yourselves but open yourselves towards others and towards the world.

Do your many contacts with young people make you feel optimistic about our country’s future?
Yes, very much. I love my country, we have so much talent and our young people have all the chances to succeed in the world of tomorrow.
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  #46  
Old 03-26-2006, 08:06 AM
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You frequent certain big philosophers. This must help you to put things into place but it will never be intresting to the media. Doesn’t this dispair you?
I find great pleasure in reading the works of great thinkers, those from Antiquity or from the 17th century, but also those of the 20th century. And yes, I have contacts with certain Belgian and international thinkers and philosophers. This allowes me reflect upon the sources of our civilisation and it feeds my reflection on the big tendancies of our world. But I consider this to be a private activity that doesn’t belong to the public life.

It seems that sometimes there’s no interest whatsoever for the concrete support you give, and the things you have to say, unless it’s to turn it into a polemic issue?
That’s why I’m happy you allow me this occasion to express myself about matters that I’m concerned about. You should also know that we’re very often on the field in our country, more than 200 days a year, to support all sorts of activities that allow us each time to have personal contacts with the population. These converstaions can be very profound, sometimes in front of the cameras, but mostly far away from them.

Should the palace and the prince show more openness about their activities?
We will never be open enough, and we mustn’t hesitate in taking certain precise initiatives towards the media. There are also other ways of communicating, not only through the media, but also by adressing ourselves directly to the people. We have a very warm tie with the people and we want to strenghten this even further in the future.

So which attitude shoud be adopted towards the media in the 21st century?
For me, the most important is that there exists a close bond between the royal house and the population. That will always be essential. The palace will always do its utmost best to respect the value of each human being, to say “you” to the people before thinking about the “me”, about ourselves, like it’s so often the case today.

Should the members of the royal family be stars of the media?
Most people that are stars have wanted it themselves. That’s not our role. We have to be at the service of society. And it’s for that goal we have to communicate, in the best possible way.

Which role do you give yourself to oppose the break-up of our country?
When we founded the Prince Philippe Foundation, we chose the strenghtening of the ties between the communities of our country to be the principal aim. I want to get further involved in this aim. Already hundreds of initiatives have been taken to support people who would like to accomplish something to achieve this.

Can the prince agree with an analysis like the one made recently by senator Patrick Vankrunkelsven (VLD), that comes down to a mere protocole function for the king?
That's a matter for the political world.
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  #47  
Old 03-26-2006, 10:15 AM
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Mathilde's vists to KIDS, a special school in Hasselt for deaf children and deaf children with speech problems.

Photos: kids.be
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  #48  
Old 03-26-2006, 10:17 AM
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photos from kids.be
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  #49  
Old 03-26-2006, 10:22 AM
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and more.........
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  #50  
Old 03-26-2006, 10:23 AM
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and more from kids.be
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  #51  
Old 03-26-2006, 10:26 AM
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apart from the little ones, she also visited the bigger children, who were having French lessons.
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  #52  
Old 03-26-2006, 10:29 AM
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more photos of the visit to the school
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  #53  
Old 03-26-2006, 10:30 AM
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Mathilde leaving...
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  #54  
Old 03-26-2006, 11:32 AM
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wow catherine.. many thanks for these many many pics...
she is absolutely great with the kids... young & old...
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:01 PM
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Thanks Catherine for the translation of the interview with Philippe (it was an interesting read...) and the pictures of Mathilde. I think the press should get off their backs. They're doing a wonderful job! :)
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:13 PM
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much and nice pics of a duty-ful princes.
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:15 PM
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Catherine, Thank you so much for the translation and for the pictures...both are just wonderful! I am curious as to whether PM was doing sign language in the 7th picture of post #51? I wonder if she learned this for her profession as a speech therapist?
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxie
Thanks Catherine for the translation of the interview with Philippe (it was an interesting read...) and the pictures of Mathilde. I think the press should get off their backs. They're doing a wonderful job! :)
Yeah, go Phillippe!
He managed to dismiss the bad press in such an elegant way
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Emily
Catherine, Thank you so much for the translation and for the pictures...both are just wonderful! I am curious as to whether PM was doing sign language in the 7th picture of post #51? I wonder if she learned this for her profession as a speech therapist?
My sister is a speech therapist too and as far as I know she just learned some very basic things about sign language. Here in the Netherlands you can study sign language on it self (it's a whole study of four years, which sounds logical to me, because it's like learning a new language with a very complex grammar and stuff) on several levels. Most speech therapists who want to do more with sign language start studying it after their graduation as a speech therapist. But that's in the Netherlands. I don't know how it works in Belgium. :)
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Old 03-26-2006, 02:36 PM
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Thanks, Maxie -- very interesting. It would make alot of sense for a speech therapist to study it.
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