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  #21  
Old 07-16-2007, 05:13 AM
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My opinion about the couple is a bit ambiguous, I don't really know how to think of them. Personally Mathilde is indeed the reserved, discrete 'old-fashioned' royal that I prefer. The noble background doesn't hurt either; I don't want my neighbours daughter as my crowprincess for example. Sadly I think that in this day and age the old-fashioned style that I like isn't sufficient enough. Her Dutch was a problem but I think that was exploited by the flemmish press too negatively, as others said it wasn't that bad and she made a lot of progress.

Anyway, I have all these reservations with the duchess but when I see her on television and she gives a smile one just can not help but melt, her smile is so warm, genuine and sweet that the saint-mathilde aura that some are ironically referring to at times, becomes almost visible.
I agree. It is Mathilde, and Mathilde alone, who keeps her clumsy spouse up. She has to do it alone because her brother-in-law Prince Laurent is even more clumsy and is no any help to the monarchy. Princess Claire is a nobody in the royal family and Princess Astrid seems to be on a distance, so is my impression.
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  #22  
Old 07-16-2007, 05:19 AM
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I agree Henri, at the moment Mathilde and Albert II are the two most important members of the family that generate some warm feelings under the public, though I feel (I am not sure if I am right) that the general enthausiasm for Mathilde in belgium is fading a bit.
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  #23  
Old 07-16-2007, 01:36 PM
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Well, at least in the Flemish press Mathilde undergoes a revival these days (especially after her performance during the economic trip to China). She is praised for being extremely charming, light hearted, for being very professional and concerned, for being communicative, easy to approach, for speaking very good Dutch etc. pp. And all these positive attributes are coming from the ever critical Flemish press (Het Laatste Nieuws, Gazet van Antwerpen, Het Belang van Limburg, etc.). This sure does mean a lot – as it´s well-known they are willing to exploit every single mistake.
But I don´t think Mathilde and Elisabeth are the ones who have to rescue the monarchy. They are very important, that´s for sure (and having a professional spouse sure does help every Crown Prince) – but the fundament of a monarchy is the constitution and not capricious popularity polls. Otherwise the Belgians could do it with Queen Kim Clijsters the one day and King Tom Boonen the next day. Somehow this aspect gets lost in all these popularity, nice gowns, grand diadems and bling bling talk.
And - I´m very sorry to say this - unfortunately nagging and co. are very much en vogue amongst many Belgians (not only when it comes to the royal family). Somehow a great deal of the old Flemish/Burgundian frankness (live and let live) got lost in all these differences between Flanders and Wallonia. And I agree with Marengo, Philippe´s mistakes are not exceptional and his colleagues also have their history of blunders. It´s a question of approach: If one wants to see a clumsy Prince Philippe greeting the Queen and no chemistry between them and whatnot, he/she sure will get it. I saw something else: a confident Prince Philippe and pleased guests. That´s life. And as a sidenote: A look back in time proofs how alike Philippe and his father are. Albert was not the most confident person – he got the time to grow into kingship and I think Philippe deserves the same.
But what really has to be changed ASAP is the press policy round Philippe. IMO it would help to search for advice/staff somewhere else than only in diplomatic/military circles. If it was a smart move to opt for continuity and reappoint Pierre-Emmanuel De Bauw as spokesman? Time will tell.
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  #24  
Old 07-17-2007, 02:12 AM
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I agree with you Johann, a different press approach is needed asap. Perhaps he could take a hint for his Dutch collegue, as our press seems to be screaming in choir how ready the prince is for the throne, while less then a decade ago he was 'Prince Pils'. Though I am not too fond of former Charles PR-man, Mark Bolland, he was quite competent and IMHO the Belgian CP could do with such a specialist too.

Perhaps he should give a tv-interview where he can show his more unknown side?

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I am glad to hear that the Flemmish press is more positive about Mathilde again at least.
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  #25  
Old 07-17-2007, 02:19 AM
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Il like a lot the princess, she seems to be a very warm person, and I like also her way to be in public
I don't know a lot of things abort the crown prince, but he seems to be a serious man
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  #26  
Old 07-18-2007, 12:36 PM
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In my opinion Prince Phillipe and Princess Mathilde are a worthy representant of Belgium. They are a even couple with three very beautiful children. Their ease is natural. They aren't boring. I like them all. And the others of the Belgium royal family, too. Its a very special family, but that is making them nice.
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  #27  
Old 07-18-2007, 03:08 PM
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In my opinion Prince Phillipe and Princess Mathilde are a worthy representant of Belgium. They are a even couple with three very beautiful children. Their ease is natural. They aren't boring. I like them all. And the others of the Belgium royal family, too. Its a very special family, but that is making them nice.
I'm sorry. I really can walk a long way aside with you but never ever words were só misplaced as saying "their ease is natural".

There is nothing natural with the couple. Everybody is pressing his or her own bottom together out of fear for them saying or doing something stupid. The Prince is nervous, shy, does not know how to handle in public, looks like a steered puppet in the hands of courtiers.

No. They are definitely not a couple from which you can state "their ease is natural".... definitely not.

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  #28  
Old 07-18-2007, 06:42 PM
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I'm sorry. I really can walk a long way aside with you but never ever words were só misplaced as saying "their ease is natural".

There is nothing natural with the couple. Everybody is pressing his or her own bottom together out of fear for them saying or doing something stupid. The Prince is nervous, shy, does not know how to handle in public, looks like a steered puppet in the hands of courtiers.

No. They are definitely not a couple from which you can state "their ease is natural".... definitely not.


I would believe that the couple is more at ease when they are alone and not in front of the press. Poor Prince Phillipe, this is not the role he most likely would have chosen for himself if given the chance. Does anyone know what career path he might have taken if there was an alternative for him?
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  #29  
Old 07-18-2007, 07:15 PM
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I would believe that the couple is more at ease when they are alone and not in front of the press. Poor Prince Phillipe, this is not the role he most likely would have chosen for himself if given the chance. Does anyone know what career path he might have taken if there was an alternative for him?
That is an interesting but impossible question for each Heir(ess). They simply have no any choice and any alternative is not even considered.

In Prince Philippe's case it is a little bit different as he was no Heir Apparent from the beginning, but son of the Heir Presumptive, which was his father, The Prince of Liège.

Had his uncle and aunt King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola given birth to a child, the Prince would never have become the Duke of Brabant and Heir to the King. But as we know, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola remained without issue and it was clear from early on Prince Philippe, the eldest son of the King's brother, would once assume the kingship.
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  #30  
Old 07-19-2007, 05:02 PM
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Oh I understand that when it was apparent that there would be no issue from his uncle and aunt, he'd one day be king. I was curious if he'd ever expressed in an interview what career he'd like to have if he had not been the future heir. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker...lion tamer...
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  #31  
Old 07-26-2007, 11:25 AM
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The question what prince Philippe would have liked to become if he weren't a prince, is been asked to him once. He began to think about the question (or gave the expression that the had never thought of that before) and said he had no idea. He said it was difficult for him to imagine to have another life, that he has always been a prince.
Then the student asked if it is fun to be a prince. Philippe answered that it's sometimes more fun than other times. Then he added a joke by asking the student if he was intrested in becoming prince, that they could maybe change, to learn about eachothers lives.
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  #32  
Old 07-26-2007, 11:59 AM
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My opinion, what to think about Philippe?

I think it is difficult to put one word on the character of the prince. The media says he's stiff and boring. People who really know him says he got humor and is charming and gentle. Of course in official occasions, grey suit, grey face, grey hair, boring, rather clumsy, no charisma... That is what most people see.
We as royalty watchers see a lot more than that. From his engagement on, it has been a sport to me to discover what is behind the official greyness. If there is something behind it, like 'the real Philippe'.

What is the result after almost 8 years of marriage? Well in the beginning he became more popular. People had never seen him from the emotional side. And it must be said, the couple is visible in love, we all like to see that. A little bit of the greyness disappeared, but sadly not enough to please everybody. No intimate kiss on the balcony, back to the old routine, not the best relationship with the press, ... a missed chance.

The second chance I thought we would get to know more of the 'real Philippe' was with the birth of his daughter. Very possive comments in the papers. But after a while the Flemish press just laughed at him because of his bad Dutch (saying 'It's really a female', which is used to discribe the sex of an animal) Second missed chance.

After that the prince did some clumsy things, bad advisors, unlucky moments. Which means back to basics: grey suit, grey face, grey hair, boring, rather clumsy, no charisma. But we do must all admit that he changed a little bit. With princess Mathilde on his side there is always a glimps of the 'real Philippe' of the human side. We see love and devotion to eachother etc.

After all these years I doubted several times if the 'real Philippe' really exists or if Philippe is just as grey, dumb and clumsy as he is portraited.
There are more people who believe there is more in him, but time is ticking, he's almost 50 and politics are changing in a bad way for the Belgian monarchy. When politicians want to change monarchy for a republic, there will be a general voting. So in that vue popularity can save the monarchy. But I have huge doubts whether Philippe will ever be popular enough...
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  #33  
Old 08-26-2007, 12:24 PM
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I had the great good fortune of sharing a class this past week with a young woman from Belgium. She was pleased that I knew as much as I did about her royal family, as she found (although she was too polite to word it quite this way) that Americans know Belgium about as thoroughly as we know the Great North of Canada. Which is to say, very little.

She was highly complimentary of Philippe and Matilde, especially as she contrasted them with King Albert II. She was absolutely dismayed that, after the embarassing gaffe of PM-in-waiting Guy Verhofstadt around the National Anthem and not knowing exactly what the holiday celebrated, that the king did not withdraw his support from the PM. To her, it showed a lapse in judgement that presaged a need for a change in the monarch.

I asked her if she felt that Philippe was ready for the role as king, and she said that he was thoughtful, quiet and studious. She went on to say that she was actually quite proud that the CP and CPss stayed out of the tabloid headlines and that their ability to maintain their dignity and poise spoke well for them. She was very comfortable with Philippe appearing "awkward," saying that their country needs a leader, not a matinee idol or a George Clooney.

That's one Belgian's view.

I am very much enjoying speaking to her about the RF in Belgium, and I must say, she shares the opinions of other posters here who hold Laurent and Clair in low regard.
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  #34  
Old 08-26-2007, 02:05 PM
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I had the great good fortune of sharing a class this past week with a young woman from Belgium. She was pleased that I knew as much as I did about her royal family, as she found (although she was too polite to word it quite this way) that Americans know Belgium about as thoroughly as we know the Great North of Canada. Which is to say, very little.

She was highly complimentary of Philippe and Matilde, especially as she contrasted them with King Albert II. She was absolutely dismayed that, after the embarassing gaffe of PM-in-waiting Guy Verhofstadt around the National Anthem and not knowing exactly what the holiday celebrated, that the king did not withdraw his support from the PM. To her, it showed a lapse in judgement that presaged a need for a change in the monarch.

I asked her if she felt that Philippe was ready for the role as king, and she said that he was thoughtful, quiet and studious. She went on to say that she was actually quite proud that the CP and CPss stayed out of the tabloid headlines and that their ability to maintain their dignity and poise spoke well for them. She was very comfortable with Philippe appearing "awkward," saying that their country needs a leader, not a matinee idol or a George Clooney.

That's one Belgian's view.

I am very much enjoying speaking to her about the RF in Belgium, and I must say, she shares the opinions of other posters here who hold Laurent and Clair in low regard.
It is nice that you met a Belgian citizen. The opinion by the Belgian you met is, unfortunately, not exemplaric for the whole of Belgium. Polls show again and again that Prince Philippe really has a problem with the general public's opinion on him. And I think many Belgians are thankful that at this moment it is the old and wise King Albert II who is manoeuvring the State through a political stalemate and not Prince Philippe, who can not take any step without his 'entourage' saying him so.

By the way, Guy Verhofstadt is not the PM-in-waiting. That is the present and outgoing Premier Minister. The person who confused La Marseillaise (the French National Anthem) with th La Brabançonne (the Belgian National Anthem) and did not have any clue about the National Day, was the great winner of the last general elections, mr. Yves Leterme, the leader of the biggest party in the national Parliament.

And: it is not the King who has to withdraw his support from the great winner of the last General Elections. That would cause a constutional crisis: the unelected and by certain parts of the population disputed King refusing to back the Premier who has the majority of the elected Parliament behind him? If you want a quick end to the monarchy in Belgium, then this is the best advice you could give, I think.

Here is an article in English about Philippe's unpopularity.
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  #35  
Old 08-27-2007, 07:38 AM
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Well Henri, I think the press has been slightly more positive about Phillipe lately. There was actually quite some praise for him after the economic mission to China for example.
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  #36  
Old 08-27-2007, 09:37 AM
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Well Henri, I think the press has been slightly more positive about Phillipe lately. There was actually quite some praise for him after the economic mission to China for example.
Okay. Maybe. A slightly positive. Let us await the next gaffe.

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Old 08-27-2007, 09:44 AM
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well I agree with the positive remarks but Mathilde does not look good in sandles with stockings, it is really completely wrong and she sometimes wears too much makeup for her type of face and too loud coloured clothes.

No one mentions it but I will, they both seem rather stupid (low iq), this in contrast to WA and Maxima. Anyway if the Belgians are happy so am I for them.


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If it was about fashion alone, I would easily swap Princess Máxima for the ever elegant, serene and dignified Princess Mathilde!

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  #38  
Old 08-27-2007, 10:23 AM
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well I agree with the positive remarks but Mathilde does not look good in sandles with stockings, it is really completely wrong and she sometimes wears too much makeup for her type of face and too loud coloured clothes.

No one mentions it but I will, they both seem rather stupid (low iq), this in contrast to WA and Maxima. Anyway if the Belgians are happy so am I for them.
Lol, what a profound mixture of arguments.
If a guy, a studied historian btw, who comes up with a Videla letter to defend his future father-in-law really is amongst the brightest I honestly tend to doubt. He would have failed every examination with this stunt, not to mention that this behaviour was completely inappropriate for a crown prince. But of course the grass is always greener on your side of the fence. Praise the Dutchmen for being generous (and this is no poisoned compliment btw), the Belgians unfortunately don´t seem to have this gift.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:41 AM
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If a guy, a studied historian btw, who comes up with a Videla letter to defend his future father-in-law really is amongst the brightest I honestly tend to doubt.
I agree, johann. W-A is can be happy that he found himself a smart wife, who will kick him from time to time when he's about to say something stupid, because really, I don't find him the brightest royal around either. And I wouldn't call Philippe dumb, he's just annoyingly clumsy from time to time and has no feeling for good PR whatsoever.
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  #40  
Old 08-27-2007, 01:39 PM
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Crown Prince Phillipe and Crown Princess Mathilde might be viewed as a perfect couple. It is nice to see that at least one Prince has found his happiness without breaking the old traditions.
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