Belgian Royals gather for The King’s Feast

  November 16, 2009 at 1:02 pm by

View the image at Daylife

Belgian Royals celebrated The King’s Feast (Koningsfeest in Dutch and Féte du Roi in French) on November 15 – a day that has been marked by celebrations in honour of the Belgian Monarch since 1866. Crown Prince Philippe, Princess Mathilde, Prince Laurent, Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz and Queen Fabiola were all present.

The celebrations started with a Service at Brussels Cathedral, which was attended by all members of the Royal Family with the exception of the King, the Queen and Princess Claire. King Albert and Queen Paola don’t usually attend the Service as protocol decrees it would be inappropriate for the Monarch to honour himself. Although always present at The King’s Feast Day celebrations, Princess Claire was absent this year, presumably because she wasn’t able to find anyone to babysit the children.

View the image at Daylife

Also present at the Service was Queen Fabiola – the first time she has been seen in a long time. The past few months have been marred by concerns for Her Majesty’s health and even false death announcement. Although the Queen was recovering in Spain, she insisted on attending the Service, although she did not attend the ceremony at the Parliament: the Royal Watchers were undoubtedly delighted to see Her Majesty in apparently good health.

Since 2001, the Service has been followed by a ceremony held by the Belgian Parliament in honour of the King, in the presence of members of the Belgian Royal Family and other dignitaries.

November 15 is the name day of Leopold (the feast of Saint Leopold) and Albert (the Feast of Saint Albert the Great), two names that are of great importance for the Belgian Royals: Belgium’s first, second and fourth Monarchs were named Leopold, while the third King was called Albert, as is the current king. In 1951, King Baudouin decided to honour the day, and King Albert II continued the tradition. November 15 and April 8 (King Albert’s birthday) are two days when His Majesty honours distinguished citizens by presenting them with the Order of Leopold. Although November 15 is not a public holiday, civil servants are allowed to have a day off.

To learn more about the King’s Feast, visit this thread.

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