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Marengo 03-12-2012 12:18 PM

Abdication Issues & Belgium
Abdication seems to be established as a (new) tradition in the (be)NELUX. So it isn't odd that the Belgian press and public also wouldn't be surprised if King Albert II would eventually abdicate. There have been rumours in the press about it for the last decade, but usually the political situation has been presented as a reason for the king to postpone it. The rumours were the strongest in october 2010, when the palace issued an official denial.

Anyway, the press (Le Soir) now gave a new date: 21 July 2013. The Belgian (and Dutch) press took notice of it, as you can read in these articles:

Volop speculaties over aftreden koning Albert - Het Nieuwsblad
ROYALBLOG.NL: Belgen denken weer aan aftreden Albert

Journalist Martine Dubussoin says that her story in le Soir was based on people around the court, politicians and people who work in the economic world.

TYhe prime minister denied to VTM that the king ever spoke about this to him.


In the mean time, Mark van den Wijgaert (University of Brussels) lists why prince Filip is well prepared for the throne:

"Filip is goed voorbereid op de troon" -

James VI 03-12-2012 02:28 PM

Abdication legacy.
The last abdication in Belgium was that of King Leopold III, an extremely traumatic event, both for the Nation and the Belgian Royal family. The legacy of this, together with the fact that the Crown Prince and Princess still have very young children, surely points to no early abdication by King Albert? The internal political situation in Belgium does indeed fuel these rumours, and here, the King has stated that he would not continue if, God forbid, the Belgian state were to disintegrate. Incidently, i have not included the late King Baudoin`s 24-hour abdication in 1991, in my comment, as this was not technically an abdication and did not have the same consequences for the Belgian Royal family, as King Leopold`s, forty years earlier.

Artemisia 03-12-2012 03:27 PM

I am inclined to agree with James VI.
While a Belgian royal abdication is possible, if not probable, it is unlikely to happen within the next five-ten years. King Albert and Queen Paola are still in generally good health and are active working royals. Moreover, the Duke and Duchess of Brabant will probably like to have time to raise their children without the burden of Kingship thrust upon them.

All in all, 2013 seems to be an extremely unlikely date for abdication.

maria-olivia 03-12-2012 05:09 PM

The Two Kings Albert I and II were unexpected Kings and Great Kings.
King Baudouin was only 21 when he became King , he was unprepared.
The best prepared King is Leopold III who had to abdicate for political reasons.

I do not think hey will be an abdication because Queen Paola adores to be Queen.
Can you imagine Queen Fabiola , Queen Paola and Queen Mathilde !

Artemisia 03-12-2012 05:23 PM


Originally Posted by maria-olivia (Post 1385858)
Can you imagine Queen Fabiola , Queen Paola and Queen Mathilde !

It would be unusual but not unprecedented.
Britain had three Queens - Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Queen Mary of Teck - for a brief period from 6 February 1952 (George VI's death and Elizabeth II accession to the Throne) to 24 March 1953 (Queen Mary's death).

Marengo 03-12-2012 05:41 PM

I don't get the impression that either Queen Paola or even the King enjoy their job that much at the moment. They seem to have been spending as much time possible in their holiday villa in France.

According to the newspapers these last week the king was supposed to have said he would retire before he is 80. Now nobody reveals when he said it or to whom...

I highly doubt the abdication of king Leopold III plays a part in this, although traumatic indeed, it isn't named in the press that often anymore (unlike the supposed trauma that Queen Elizabeth II & the British monarchy suffered from the abdication of King Edward VIII). I don't think it is regarded as a taboo subject.

But still, I have the impression that the king has been reluctant to share the burden with his successor thus far (as was written in several books and articles), so an abdication isn't very likely in that light.

maria-olivia 03-12-2012 07:15 PM

I agree with you Marengo , but The King wants to be sure about the future of his Royal House. Really sad that Philippe and Mathilde are so unpopular although they are doing their very best.

James VI 03-13-2012 05:55 AM

Why are Phillipe and Mathilde thought to be unpopular? Is it simply an impression being promoted in the Belgian media, or are there genuine doubts about the Royal couple`s suitability?

Marengo 03-13-2012 05:10 PM

It was a popular topic in the Flemish press indeed to make fun of Prince Filip. But these days it is mainly reserved for his brother Laurent. Still, prince Filip is number 3 from below on the popularity poll by VTM (only in Flanders) in 2010:


Prinses Mathilde 39,1%
Koning Albert 22,7%
Prins Laurent 12,8%
Prinses Astrid 6%
Prinses Claire 4,7%
Koningin Fabiola 2,9%
Prins Filip 2,1%
Koningin Paola 1,7%
Prins Lorenz 0,6%
Source: VTM

I think it is mainly caused by him seemingly being extremely uncomfortable in public.

Artemisia 03-13-2012 05:17 PM

Despite the ridicule, Prince Laurent still appears to be considerably mroe popular than Prince Phillipe, or indeed any of his siblings. Never knew that; I always thought that of the siblings, Princess Astrid was easily the most popular one.

Why does Prince Philippe enjoy so little support? From what I have seen and learnt of him, he certainly appears to be no worse than many of the other crown princes and princesses.

Marengo 03-13-2012 05:20 PM

Well, the poll was from October 2010, before much of the latest drama's. So things may be different in a new poll. Though it seems indeed that many prefer the rebelious but human Laurent over his more suitable but stiff brother.

I am no expert but let's say that he doesn't seem to be a great communicator ;). But it may change when he has more freedom & opportunities to prove himself when he eventually becomes king. IMO the duke of Brabant is somewhat underestimated and he does seem to have a clearer vision about the monarchy than f.e. his father. And he does seem to have a professional staff instead of the group of ancient nobles that surround his father at the palace. But time will tell, people had reservations about Baudouin and Albert too when they came to the throne and that turned out pretty well.

Artemisia 03-13-2012 05:27 PM

Thank you for explaining! :flowers:
Prince Philippe does appear to be somewhat too proper, if I may say so. In a way, he reminds me of is namesake, Prince Felipe of Spain, although the latter appears to be quite popular in his country (though not on par with his father). I agree that once he becomes King, Philippe will have the chance to prove himself. People may prefer a rebellious individual as a Prince (and Crown Prince), but usually, they prefer a stable and predictable Monarch.

tamta 11-10-2012 07:37 AM

Can i ask -and i don't know if this is the right thread-, as the future of the Belgian monarchy and its family members is apparently tied to the future and fate of the Belgian state, and given the current king's commitment to resign if the Belgian state disolves, could it possibly be that in the -very likely- event of a break-up of the kingdom, both of the two successor-states become monarchies, with Philip king in the one part and his sister becoming queen of Flanders?
I understand the monarchy is the least of the problems separating the two communities -and in fact as an idea it is probably well-accepted by both. Why then not consider an alternative monarchical scenario should they follow independent paths..?

Artemisia 11-10-2012 10:44 AM


Theoretically, it is possible and would not in fact be unprecedented. When Norway gained independence from Sweden, the country invited Carl of Denmark (a nephew of the Swedish King) to reign over them (he ascended to the Throne as Haakon VII). There are other examples too.

However, it seems more likely to me that should Belgium be dissolved into several parts and those newly formed countries wish to retain Monarchy as their form of Government, they will simply continue with the last King of unified Belgium. So, if the break-up happens during the reign of King Albert, the new countries will both have him as a King, thus entering into Personal Union of Crowns. There are plenty of precedences for that as well; Norway, Sweden and/or Denmark all had union of crowns at different points in their history, and even in our times all the countries of the Commonwealth Realms (UK, Canada, Australia...) have that system, but Union of Crowns happened

vkrish 11-10-2012 11:25 AM

I dont think the discussion about the abdication prospects of King Albert II is relevant in anyway. The abdication of King Leopold is entirely political and such scenarios are very very hard to repeat in present day world. So speculating the King will retire because of old age/ disinterest is not correct.
Ok setting that aside,in view of the political unrest, what is the position of various factions over monarchy? Do the Flemmish people support monarchy or protest it like the Catalans did in Spain or the Scot/Welsh did in 70s?
Usually the separatists, in any country, see monarchies/state symbols as some sort of an imposition by the mainland people..Is it similar here?

Al_bina 11-10-2012 12:37 PM

Does it matter how much Flemish protest the monarchy?

Marengo 05-17-2013 03:13 AM

Most of the Belgian newspapers have been reporting rumours that king Albert II will abdicate on July 20th and that Philippe will succeed on November 15th:

Wordt prins Filip koning op 15 november? -

Kondigt koning Albert II op 20 juli troonsafstand aan? - Wetstraat - De Morgen

Filip op 15 november koning? -

The original source seems to be Le Soir.

In English:

IF he will ever abdicate this will be a good time as any other, the government seems stable enough. But I doubt very much that he will, it isn't a Belgian tradition. In 2014 there will be another election with no doubt very difficult results. It was said that the last election was extremely tiring for the king and not good for his health. So perhaps that he thinks the time is ripe for his son.

Still, I am not sure if in Belgium an abdication is a good idea. Philippe just isn't all. Fortunately his wife is very popular and it would be nice for the king to retire and enjoy his free time as all other citizens do. But since the king has always been quite protective of his function, and unlike king Baudouin, does not involve his eldest son as much I very much doubt that he will. It is no secret that the relationship between father and son has been strained for decades.

IloveCP 05-17-2013 04:54 AM

Can someone please explain why Philippe is not well liked? Plus, I had no idea that the King and Philippe have a strained relationship.

Marengo 05-17-2013 05:44 AM

He is very akward in public, almost robotic and his way of speaking in Dutch is far from ideal. That he and most of his family are ultra catholics doesn't do them any favors in this day and age either. But the main thing is that since the monarchy is one of the few unifying elements of Belgium the seperatist forces also like to go on the offence. The king is too popular, so Philippe makes an easy victim. I am sure that, when given the chance, he will turn out to do just fine. From the stories that are told by acquentances and such he seems to be an amiable man.

maria-olivia 05-17-2013 06:05 AM

The very bad interview of Princess Astrid in a childish Dutch is not a good thing for the Royal Family. Articles of course in the Dutch Press
The Princess stole the show of the special olympics in which my handicaped son of 37 was involved.
The most popular Royal is our beloved King , he may not abdicate.

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