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  #41  
Old 03-24-2007, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Henri M.
I think Prince Philippe was more visible in his country than Prince Willem-Alexander. And Princess Mathilde was quite busy the last weeks.

But for some reasons they hardly get attention, except for another faux-pas or so.
I know that Mathilde has done some things in recent weeks but I don't really remember much about what Philippe has done. Although this week was busy for them b/c of the Luxembourg visit. So this week finally generated some good press. Bottomline is that the Belgium RF operates differently than other monarchies and that's okay. I really wouldn't want them to all do exactly the same things all the time it would get boring.
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  #42  
Old 03-24-2007, 02:58 PM
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While not an expert and I would agree the concerns go beyond Philippe's personality if he did have a more dynamic personality it might go a long way to overcome doubts about him.Mathilde and Philippe do seem too shy and reserved for the life they are headed for or even for the life they have now.This is were the choice of a life partner is tricky on a personal level I'm sure they are a great match and it the could led a quite life with their kids it would be more to their liking I'm sure it seems for public life he needs a Maxima or Mary or a Queen Mother type as we have all heard The Queen Mum was the main reason the King made it through his reign.
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  #43  
Old 03-24-2007, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Henri M.
The person of Philippe himself is not so important. A temporarily dip in popularity can develop in a temporarily high. Try to look further than Philippe or his beautiful spouse.

It is about the constitution. Since 1977 (Egmont Pact) so much has happened in Belgium, which -as a national state- has seen an astonishing erosion. Any erosion of what 'Belgium' stands for, automatically affects the position of its King.
Very true and yet I disagree on some level: especially where royalty is concerned, there's nothing like incredibly well-handled personal charisma to increase the popularity of the concept of monarchy. As evidenced in the Netherlands when Alexander brought home a girl who single handedly upped the chances of her shy, staid fiancee who up to that point only inspired indifference if I may be so blunt (whether that was fair on the person is another story, as he's in recent years shown he's a worthy leader in his own right!)

This is why I'm still so mystified that Mathilde's winning personality and unique, albeit modest, karma, hasn't won more hearts and minds! She seems to fit so well with her typically Belgian understated calm sophistication, non?

But I also see what you're saying. For one thing, she could learn to handle the Dutch language better, I mean, seriously. Her Dutch is a joke, and your stats below show that that may be seriously detrimental with the majority of the nation being native Dutch/Flemish speakers!



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Originally Posted by Henri M.
Flanders has 58% of all Belgians
Wallonia has 33% of all Belgians
Brussels has 9 % of all Belgians
This means that the people of Flanders do clearly outnumber Wallonia and Brussels together. Keep that in your thoughts when you compare the statistics: the Flemings always outnumber the rest.
Didn't know the Flemish outnumbered the Wallonians so amazingly, wow!
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  #44  
Old 03-24-2007, 06:57 PM
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Not that this is important at all but I was just noticing how all of us, myself included are putting so much emphasis on the spouse of these crown princes: Mathilde, Maxima, and Mary. And I couldn't help but wonder if it was like that when Beatrix married Claus or Elizabeth married Philip. Do you see what I'm saying? Not sure I'm explaining this well. But was there ever a huge emphasis on Philip? Did anyone ever think that Claus or Philip needed to help bring their wives to the forefront? Yet, of these current princes we expect that there wives participate more and balance out their hubby's. I just noticed that for what it's worth. And I guess it's the same here in the U.S. if you think back to the days of Jackie Kennedy. Also there have been times when Laura Bush has helped increase Pres. Bush's popularity. I guess that's one of the unique things about us women We can help attract some extra attention.

When it really comes down to it I don't think Maxima did everything in making W-A more popular. Yes, she helped. But I think he came into his own and grew-up some as well. Yes, Maxima is quite the asset but W-A gets some credit to for working hard. Mathilde can only help Philippe so much at some point he's got to look and feel more comfortable in his role.
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  #45  
Old 03-30-2007, 07:37 PM
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I have been participating in The Great Royal Quiz thread. Since I'm not that knowledgeable about royalty(I'm still learning). I decided to read up on the Belgium RF before the Belgium part of the quiz was posted. While I was doing that I came across this article that was dated in October of 1999, weeks before Philippe and Mathilde got married. I thought it was very interesting to read and see that the problems that are currently going on have been going on for quite some time. Some of the current challenges and issues that Belgium faces today are not new as basically the same issues are discussed in the article. Here is the link if anyone is interested in reading it.

FOR BELGIUM, CROWN PRINCE'S WEDDING COMES AT OPPORTUNE TIME By Barry James
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  #46  
Old 03-30-2007, 09:28 PM
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The question still stands from 8 years ago...Will Phillipe have a throne to look forward to?
What would have happened if Albert rejected the throne all those years ago, would things be a lot diffrent in regards to the problems with Phillipe now? Were people [seriously, literally] warming to the idea that Astrid's son, Amedeo might be thier next king? I read somewhere online [dated from 1995-1996 around the time King Albert declared that Lorenz would be a prince of belgium as well as his kids [prince/princess]] that some people really wanted Phillipe to settledown and have kids with a belgian woman, have a future monarch [that's purely] belgium, some really hated the idea of having a [possible] austrian Hasburg [Amedeo] on the Belgium throne.

The article does highlight the fact that the BRF weren't that close to the belgium people all those years ago...that they were a very "secretive" family and that Mathilde [was a sign that she would] "bring a breath of fresh air into the stuffy royal household".

By the way, thanks Aurora 810 for the article.
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  #47  
Old 04-04-2007, 04:57 PM
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May I as a fellow Belgian step in?

Don't believe all that is said in the newspapers. They like to reheat old issues again and they are definitly good in bringing up all incidents in one go. If for instance Prince Philippe steps out of line, you know for sure that the newpapers will bring up every single thing he ever said wrong or when he handled a bid strange... Same goes for Prince Laurent by the way, but also Princess Astrid has drawn some attention lately. Too bad it wasn't mentioned in newspapers abroad... but it did cause quite a stirr in Belgium...

Anyway, there are a number of problems that can be handled.
They should try to find another subject of specialisation for Crown Prince Philippe. I'm thinking science, as Belgium has a good amount of researchers, with a very high quality and very good results. He likes science so why not?

Also, they need to work on his social skils and image and yes there is room for improvement there. Although he will never lighten up completly: he is shy by nature. We did have some better periods: for instance after his wedding and the birth of his children.

Then we have the advisors thing... The Vaessens incident (the advisor of Prince Laurent) proved to me that advisors to the Princes (or anyone else for that matter) are not controled in any way. Why not make it a short term job? Change them regulary so they don't get to much influence. But that includes the Royals being able to take on the critics and the determination to work and make things better.

Freedom of speech is important, but you can go to far as well. I can understand it demotivates Crown Prince Philippe. It would certainly demotivate me! I know he does a lot of things wrong, but he also does a number of things right, but that certainly doesn't get as much attention in the media! For instance his visit to Romania and Hungary received no attention in the Belgian media. And I don't think it's fair.

Also a survay made it clear that Flanders and Wallonia really don't know each other so a lot of prejudices excists on both sides. Two Belgian newspapers have now decided to change that. I believe it's "Het Nieuwsblad" (Flemish) and "Le Soir" (Wallon) that decided to make a series of articles were one part of the country visists the other and vice versa. And so the prejudices disappear.

The next step will be the elections, but I'm sure the politicians will do somethng wrong before that themselves. Perhaps the newspapers should point out all the things that the politicians who run this country have done wrong. And maybe the public would change their views.

Edit: As for the throne thing, as long as there is a monarchy in Belgium there will be a throne for Philippe, but unless something happens to him or he abdicates he will be king. He was right about that...
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  #48  
Old 04-04-2007, 05:15 PM
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Thanks for your insights Fie, they are interesting! I agree with you that
some other fields of interests might be nice, and some work on his social skills to.

But I think one of the most necesairy things for the Belgian monarchy is to profesionalise their court. I have read several times that most of it is made up by incompetent nobles who owe their position more to tradition, network etc then their capabilities (very much like Dutch Queen Juliana's chaotic but cosy court). I believe that the Duke of Brabant has been to The Hague to see how things are done at the Dutch court and how the Belgian might change, so let's hope that these insights still have to be implemented.

Another thing that I think would be good for the Belgian monarchy is for the future to focus more on the king & queen and the heir, not as much on the siblings. This would mean that Emmanuel, Gabriel and eventual other siblings would have to find a job, receive no dotation from the state etc. This is already the case in most other countries and it will give the princes a way to develop themselves and live fullfilling lives.

BTW: it isn' t all as black as things are portrayed. A recent survey of le Soir shows that most Belgians want the country to remain united. Only 6% of the flemish and 2% of the walloons want Begium to break up. So in that light the attention this topic gets in the press seem a bit to much and esp. to negative.
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  #49  
Old 04-04-2007, 05:42 PM
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Thank you very much Fie and Marengo for your insight and opinions.

I know from personal experience here in America one must be careful on what to listen to. For example back in 2004 if one was watching CNN(known to be more favorable to democrats then the republicans) But anyways, if a person was watching CNN in the days leading up to the 2004 election you never would have believed that Bush would win. I know I thought we would have a new president based on their coverage and other networks coverage. But low and behold the Americans go to the polls and well we still have Bush. And it wasn't even that close afterall. CNN and other news organizations just had a way of showing only certain things that made their audiences believe only a certain way. And yes, that is the result of free speech. It's great to have free speach but it does mean that the news organizations can present a more personal view that is represented by the heads of the organizations and not by the vast majority of the people.
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  #50  
Old 04-05-2007, 06:10 AM
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It isn' t only the press that has to be blamed, it is only to be expected that the press will create a hype in order to sell more papers, it happens everywhere so also in belgium (and CNN ) . IMHO it is the Belgian politicians who are primary responsible for creating the present atmosphere. They seem to lack vision and I think (but I am an outsider) that this obsession they have in seperating anything into a flemish and a walloon part (even the Red Cross!) is rather harmfull for the Belgian state, though some politicians might have something to gain from it in the short run.

Anyway, to cheer us up, the Belgian National Anthem as it was played for the Royal Family (lovely melody).
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  #51  
Old 04-05-2007, 01:31 PM
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Great video, i've never heard the anthem in German.

Little correction about the newspapers, it's 'De Standaard' and 'Le Soir'. Known to be serious newspapers. De Standaard used to be a very Flemisch minded journal. I think their cooperation is the golden link in this project. That makes the whole thing more objective. Great initiative.

It's true what you all say, Gabriel and Emmanuel shouldn't have dotations. The focus must be narrowed to the king, queen and hereditary. Everything was okay when Laurent was 'el sympatico' of the family. But now I also think he should calm down a bit and know his place (11th in line!). A bit of modesty would be good.

I used to be being a fan of Philippe, I thought he had a lot in him that hadn't come out jet. With his marriage we saw a glimpse of a happy, funny, relaxed prince. I gave him a lot of credit, but after all these years, we all must admit he never will be a charismatic person even with new advisors.

He should participate the program 'fake it' or 'witte raven' on flemish television. "Philippe who is nothing, wil become a prince in one month." That's really what he needs it think, the total make-over if he want to become really popular.
It's not by visiting a school and smiling a bit more to the camera that he will have more credit, he has to act, doing something that reaches the national news and everybody says "wow, we did'nt expect the prince was able to do that".
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  #52  
Old 04-06-2007, 09:24 AM
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I stumbled onto a similar topic on the European Royal Message Board. Their disscussion was about Prince Lorenz and his title[s]. Apparantly, a long way back, late 80's early 90's the belgians was expecting Albert and Phillipe to renounce thier rights for Astrid [as she "didn't put a foot wrong" in everything she did. Astrid had a growing family [it was doing wonders for her PR and for the belgian royal family, admist Phillipe and Laurents issues]. But Boudouin would have nothing of it and was hell bent on having Phillipe as his successor. Is it true that in Flanders people are trying to find a way for Elisabeth to succeed Albert when he dies, not Phillipe?
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  #53  
Old 04-06-2007, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flctylu
I stumbled onto a similar topic on the European Royal Message Board. Their disscussion was about Prince Lorenz and his title[s]. Apparantly, a long way back, late 80's early 90's the belgians was expecting Albert and Phillipe to renounce thier rights for Astrid [as she "didn't put a foot wrong" in everything she did. Astrid had a growing family [it was doing wonders for her PR and for the belgian royal family, admist Phillipe and Laurents issues]. But Boudouin would have nothing of it and was hell bent on having Phillipe as his successor. Is it true that in Flanders people are trying to find a way for Elisabeth to succeed Albert when he dies, not Phillipe?
When King Baudouin I. was stuill alive it was thought that Albert would rennounce his succession rights in favour of Philippe after the death of Baudouin. But nobody thought that the Kind would die in such a young age (remember he was only 62 when he died). So after the death of Baudouin Albert became King. And there was a certain fear that Philippe would not marry as he was in his 30s and still not married and no sign of marriage in sight. King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola looked very much after Philippe abnd his education after it became clear that the would not have own children.
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  #54  
Old 04-06-2007, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
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Is it true that in Flanders people are trying to find a way for Elisabeth to succeed Albert when he dies, not Phillipe?

Maybe others will also weigh in on this but this makes no sense to me. Very ridiculous, if you ask me. I mean Elisabeth is just a little girl and she is likely to still be somewhat young to be in that type of position even if her grandfather lives for many more years. I believe Albert is 72 right now and she is 5. So lets say he lives to 92 she will only be 25 years old. And I know other princesses have become queens at such young ages but I really can't see why anyone would want to put the responsibility on a 25 year old when her father is standing right there. See what I'm saying! That doesn't make sense to me.
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:41 AM
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well, I don't think those plans are to serious. But fact is that for over a decade there are articles written that question Phillipe's suitability and that wonder if he should be replaced by his siter Astrid or now by his daughter. This is partly because the media wants to have something to write about ansd they keep repeating each other. But sadly the Belgian court and the Duke of Brabant have been unable to adress the underlying concern: the (un)suitability of Phillipe.

Note that Albert was also deemed unsuitable and peop[le had questions about him when Baudouin died but he settled very quickly in his position and became popular and respected.
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  #56  
Old 04-10-2007, 11:36 PM
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I heard about that fake news story about Flanders 'seceding' from Belgium late last year.I can guess that really stirred a lot of anger in Belgium late last year.

Did anyone else hear about that story?

Aidan.
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:55 AM
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Yes, it was a fake story by the Walloon public news. They also stated that the King left the country out of protest.
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:56 AM
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And with the federal elections coming up (to say national elections isn't done in Belgium) again some articles in the pres about the state of Belgium and about the role of the monarchy. In 'De Telegraaf' it was said that especially political parties in Flanders wanted to chandge the role of the next king into a strictly ceremonial one like in Sweden.

That makes me wonder, what unceremonial duties does the Belgian King actually have?
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  #59  
Old 06-04-2007, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Marengo
And with the federal elections coming up (to say national elections isn't done in Belgium) again some articles in the pres about the state of Belgium and about the role of the monarchy. In 'De Telegraaf' it was said that especially political parties in Flanders wanted to chandge the role of the next king into a strictly ceremonial one like in Sweden.

That makes me wonder, what unceremonial duties does the Belgian King actually have?
Audiences with ministers, appointments and dismissals of federal ministers, military, ambassadors, the signing of Acts and Decrees, etc.

Pretty much the same as in the Netherlands, be it that much of the federal state has been eroded in favour of the regions and the King plays no role in the regional legislative and administrative procedures. So any ongoing federalization means an ongoing eroding of the central state and its institutions, the King included.
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Old 06-04-2007, 08:04 AM
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What the king in Belgian does is 'de facto' ceremonial. The king has appointments with ministers. But most of the meetings are to inform the king about what's going on. That's the big difference with Baudouin, when he didn't agree, he would urge the politicians to overthink their decisions. Now all politicians say that the king is very likable (= always agree with the politicians and never force them to act like he wants to)
In reality not much would change, but on paper and in the minds and hearts of people things do change of course.
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