Royal Family of Belgium - Current Events, Part 6 (Jan. 2007 - Jan. 2009)

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Queen Fabiola is grand lady of royal family Belgium. Princess Mathilde and Queen Fabiola is much more relations!
Scandalous behaviour

The most strange thing in the whole Belgian controverse is the scandalous behaviour of the Belgian Government, especially premier minister Guy Verhofstadt.

The Government bears responsibility for the King, and for the King only. It is understandable that the future King has a special position, but constitutionally he does not exactly fall under ministerial responsibility.

The Prince can not defend himself in public, it is the tradition that the premier minister steps up and speaks for the Prince, eventually even cash the verbal blows in parliament, public and media. What Guy Verhofstadt did, to give the prince a humiliating rebuke in public, is against all manners. The coming general elections in the deeply polarized country will have played a role. Maybe this was showing 'I can act firmly'. But it had nothing to do with statesmanship and was a scandalous act by the premier.

Luckily he will most likely lose the elections and the (usually pro-monarchy) christian-democrats are leading the polls.
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I read somewhere online that the reason why Phillipe was angry/upset/vulnerable prior to the media spat was supposidly due to a recent poll done in Belgium. The pole said that they perfered Princess Astrid to be the new monarch than Prince Phillipe, hence the remark made by Phillipe (I guess...) "You have to show me respect. I am the crown prince and will become the next king, so the press should not be critical of me."
flctylu said:
I read somewhere online that the reason why Phillipe was angry/upset/vulnerable prior to the media spat was supposidly due to a recent poll done in Belgium. The pole said that they perfered Princess Astrid to be the new monarch than Prince Phillipe, hence the remark made by Phillipe (I guess...) "You have to show me respect. I am the crown prince and will become the next king, so the press should not be critical of me."

No, the reason was that the editors were all spic-and-span dressed, behaving most well-mannered and polite in front of the Prince while he knew very well that it all was a façade and that the two gentlemen were not even out of sight or the diarrhea of half-fictional stories about Prince Dumb and his brother Prince Dumber are spread in the media.

That the Prince scores low in popularity polls ('we have questioned a representative group of 113 people') is really no news to him. He has always scored low figures.
Nasty debate on Prince Philippe in Parliament (1)

25 January 2007

The Chairman (mr. Herman de Croo):
The next two questions are directed at the premier minister, who is absent today due to an important meeting in Paris. The questions handle about the statements heard today in the media.

Do the questioners agree that the minister of Justice will answer the questions?
It is approved.

At order are combined questions by:
- mr. Gerolf Annemans to the premier minister about the ''press-policy" and the so-called "mission of Prince Philippe". (Nr. P.1372)
- mr. Koen T'Sijen to the premier minister about the ''press-policy" and the so-called "mission of Prince Philippe". (Nr. P.1373)

Gerolf Annemans (Vlaams Belang):
Thank you mr. Chairman, you are acting like you are giving me any say by asking if mrs. Onkelinx can answer my questions.

The Chairman (mr. Herman de Croo):
I always ask this question, mr. Annemans, when a minister is replaced, if the questioner does agree with that replacement.

Gerolf Annemans (Vlaams Belang):
I want to ask my question today and I can do no other than being saddened that the premier minister is absent and, alike the last round of questions about that other Prince, is being replaced by a French-speaking vice-premier while he has excellent stand-ins like mr. De Gucht, who is here today or by the other Dutch speaking vice-premier. I would have appreciated that more.

The Chairman (mr. Herman de Croo):
The Government is indivisible, mr. Annemans.

Gerolf Annemans (Vlaams Belang):
You says that the government is indivisible, mr. Chairman.

The minister of Foreign Affairs (Karel de Gucht):
[…. making remarks from the benches….]

Gerolf Annemans (Vlaams Belang):
Yes, I think so, mr. De Gucht. I keep up the hope that there is some nuance between you, mr. De Gucht, and mrs. Onkelinx. However, its is true that this hope reduces day by day. There really is a difference in tone between the way the French-speaking part of the country thinks about this newest affair, compared with the Dutch-speaking part of the country. I can better consider the answer given by mrs. Onkelinx as the answer of the government, or at least as that of the premier minister.

The quotations in the press were not all unambiguous. I want to give the most important quotations. The prince would have said the following, this time, temporarily, without apology by De Croo. Last time you were quick to seize your chance, mr. Chairman, to defend the Prince, but for so far this has not happened yet in this affair but maybe you can take up the defence today?

I quote the Prince:
“You are shaking my hand now, but when you write negatively again, you are no longer welcome inside the palace.”
“I demand that you show reverence to my function and that you show respect for this House, otherwise it can not be so that you are here today.”
“You do not like to see me, but I say to you: your negative messages will not prevent me to accomplish my Mission”

I do not know what he means with the word "mission". Is that the manner on which he establishes a sort of religious concept on earth to rule this country and has not been delegated by the people of this country? I do not know if he has a despotic view on his position and on his “mission”. I do not know what his concept is on the constitutional freedom of press in this country.

The premier minister once stated here, a short while ago, about the previous incidents around the heir to the throne: “This must stop and I am certain of it, mr. Annemans: it will stop.”

My question to you, Madam the minister, hopefully answering on behalf of the premier minister is: when will it stop?
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Nasty debate on Prince Philippe in Parliament (2)

Koen T’Sijen (sp.a-Spirit):
Mr. Chairman, Madam the vice-premier, in front of you stands a republican. I have nothing against the Royal House or against the royal family. Let them live at the Château de Laeken and let them accompany on a trade mission so now and then, but I am concerned about democratic functioning of this possibly the last undemocratic institution in this land: the royal family.

I think we have experienced a sad culmination yesterday. I think it is the third time now, that the Government has to come here to justify about remarks by members of the royal family. I ask myself: how often has this to happen yet?

I feel uneasy about this. Uneasy because I think that the whims of Laurent and the blunders of Prince Philippe do no good to the democratic functioning of this country. I think that Parliament has to fulfil a democratic role: to control the government. I think that the media also have an important democratic role to fulfil. In this light it is unseen and unacceptable that the media, this fourth power, are approached on such manner by the Prince.

I think that we have to take our political responsibility. For me, that political responsibility consists that the debate must start about the role and the functioning of the monarchy. For me this -in essence- means: a ceremonial position for the King.

I have three clear questions for the government:
- Do you, at first, have a ready and clear opinions over the remarks by Prince Philippe, yesterday?
- Secondly, what is the opinion of the government on a ceremonial position for the King in the future?

[…. remarks from the benches….]

Koen T’Sijen (sp.a-Spirit):
I know, I know…. I’m part of the majority, but first and foremost I am a democrat. What happened yesterday, was far over the limit for me. Therefore I want to lay down my questions, right here and now. It is remarkable that the Christian-Democrats have not asked any questions, but maybe they fear for their chances on forming a government by keeping themselves salonfähig, out of this mess.

- Thirdly, Madam the vice-premier, is the government willing that the articles about the role and the position of the King can be included in the revision of the Constitution? I ask you this because, for sure after the general elections on June 10, we must have the chance to discuss the reform of the monarchy into a ceremonial position, in all serenity and in full democracy. To me this is the only way out for this moment.

The vice-premier, minister of Justice (Laurette Onkelinx):
Mr. Chairman, the Prince has no specific statute. In spite of this, the government found the attitude of the Prince improper. In name of the government, the premier minister has passed the grievances of the concerned at the Palace and communicated this concern about the contacts of the Prince with the press. The prince should be more reticent.

Gerolf Annemans (Vlaams Belang):
Madam the minister, I thank you for the answer. For me it was clear except for one point. What should happen now? We have now, not for the fourth time but for the seventh or eighth time during the Cabinets Verhofstadt, experienced that everybody is determined that something must happen. This man simply can not. If we wish a long life to the present King, I in fact say with that: the affair really has become urgent.

I suggest that the government should start with a reflection about the revision of the Constitution. But you have refused to say anything about this. The government should reflect about this: we have a few weeks to go to solve this for once and for all. This man can no longer. This man does not learn. This man will never learn. This man can’t. We must reduce the royal function into something adaptable for the present Heir.

Koen T’Sijen (sp.a-Spirit):
Madam the minister, firstly, this afternoon I came not to here to hear an answer that I already could read in all newspapers. I have been disillusioned thus. I warn you that if we do not take up our political responsibility for the monarchy, there will be a democratic deficit after Albert II. Everyone is aware of that. Everybody with a common sense realizes that.

Secondly, I heard nothing about a revision of the Constitution. If the articles around the role and the position of the King will be declared non-negotiable by the government for the revision of the Constitution, my party will not hesitate to take the initiative and make a proposal for declaring these articles negotiable. I hope to count on enough support in this Parliament to make this discussion possible after June 10.

The Chairman (mr. Herman de Croo):
The debate is closed.
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Thanks Henri M :flowers: . It sounds like the parties in Belgium have wasted no time to pounce on Phillipe. Do you think that Albert II will agree and comply to parliament if reforms do go through? Does the debate resume again or was that it concering Phillipe and reforms?
Sorry for the numerous questions :flowers: .
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I think that the monarchy in Belgium will remain in the present status-quo, for the simple reason that the Wallonians (= the French-speaking part of Belgium) will do everything to prevent a collapse of the monarchy.

Not because the love for the monarchy is that deep: most likely they are as indifferent to it as their Flemish colleagues in Parliament. But it is in the best interest of Wallonia that Belgium remains together and that rich and booming Flanders is not walking away into independence, taking Brussels (the capital, which is an enclave in Flanders territory). Wallonia is really depending on economic transfers from Flanders to finance their social security, health care, education, etc.

The Wallonians have the idea that the monarchy is one of the elements which keep Belgium together. They see the King as a guarantee against a split-up of the country.

This is in fact a strange development: back then in the 1950's it were the people of Flanders whom voted for the return of King Leopold III, while the Wallonians were against.

Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium):
72% in favour of a return of the King
28% against a return of the King

Wallonia (the French speaking part of Belgium):
48% in favour of a return of the King
52% against a return of the King

Brussels (the capital and surrounding region)
52% in favour of a return of the King
48% against a return of the King

Despite the disappointing results in Wallonia and Brussels, King Leopold III felt strenghtened by the result in Fanders and hoped to win back the hearts of his French-speaking subjects. He returned in 1950. But unrest, serious riots (with deaths) and major nationwide strikes broke out in the country and finally King Leopold was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Prince Baudouin, the Duke of Brabant, to save the position of the monarchy.

It is strange to see that the once so supporting Flanders have now switches roles with the once so anti-monarchy Wallonians.....
Thank you to all for the most interesting information. It seems that now the media is having a field day with both Laurent and Phillipe. I find it childish that the one news editor went whining and complaining to the Prime Minister over the situation and had the PM join the fray.
Question: Why has Prince Phillipe been so unpopular with the public and press for so long? I'm sorry if I seem ignorant, but I don't read much about the situation in Belgium where I live. Thank you in advance.
I agree. I did know that the Flemish part of Belgium was more prosperous than the French section, however I didn't know about their desire to leave. Thank you for the information.
Thanks to all that have posted such great info to learn about. I really love reading and most importantly learning all about this. I have the same question as Katrianna...Why is Prince Philippe so unpopular and how about the rest of the family's popularity?
Thank you Henri M. for share with us that information. I think we all learn with this and that's good to help us make a better "judgement".

Aurora810, I am not from Belgium so I can't tell much about Philipe unpopularity. Here in the Forum he is quite popular (I like his work a lot!). About his sibling's popularity, I think Princess Mathilde is very, very popular in Belgium and Princess Astrid too.
It's very interessting to note that Philippe is liked on the Forum. Indeed he does alot of good things. On the items he does, there is not so much critisicm. It more in the way he does it. My opinion:
Lets take a look: what makes royalty popular?
good looks,
somethimes pass the protocol
human things like love affairs
and one can think of more things

When Philippe was young, he was sportive, good looking, he is a parachutist, flies F16, made trips around the world, he was in that time just as cool as prince William of UK.... But nobody paid attention, he was unknown by the public

And when the public came to know him, he was about 30 and very shy and with lack of selfconfidence. We only saw him on boring official occasion, being very serious and stiff.

At that time we came to know king Albert, who has a totaly other style. his humor and non-stiff behaviour stole the hearts of the people. The perception of him is like a cool king, who drives a motorbike, like the women and parties.

In people's perception Philippe is the whole contrary. And through the years, it has become rather cool to criticise him instead of honour him... And press has a great deal in creating that boring stiff understand the frustration
Thanks so much Martha Louise for sharing. I know him and the royal family seem very popular on the forums here. I didn't really know any of that background info about him so thanks for informing me. It sounds as though Philippe just lacks the charisma that his father was blessed with. It also sounds like the media has maybe made a sport out of making fun of him. Here in America we certainly have plenty of shows that make it their purpose to make fun of celebs and politicians. Too bad he doesn't receive more respect.:sad:
alexandresylvie said:
Mass celebrated in the church Our Lady to Laeken, to the memory of the dead Members of the Royal Family : link (Source Belga) : BelgaPicture

thanks alexandreslylvie!
but i don't like mathilde's outfit... is so :eek:
I have shaken hands with Philippe and talked a little bit with him, he is an hundred times more likeable and handsome "in the flesh" than on pix and videos
Thank to all for the most interesting information !!!!!!
chamenkoa1 said:
where is Queen Paola??

Yes. where is Queen Paola, that was my thougt too when I saw todays pictures. And I also noticed that te visit to the Federal Crime Computer Unit of the Federal Police in Brussels [13-2-2007] is disapeared of her agenda of the webside of the Belgium Monarchie. [I have not seen any sign of that visit in the Belgium press too]. I hope that she is not become a victim of the epidemic flu that seems to prevail [according to the webside of the vrt f.i.] and that Queen Paola appears in pubic again soon and that we can see some nice pictures of my favourite [non reigning] Queen again.
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I have the idea Queen Paola never really recovered from her nasty fall, last year in Italy.

For some reasons she looks depressed. The Belgian royal family is in difficult circumstances and the Queen looks 'down' about it. Like she has capitulated for the negative sentiments and the 'Coburg-bashing'.

I don't know. What is your impression on Queen Paola the latest months?
mathilde16 said:
thanks alexandreslylvie!
but i don't like mathilde's outfit... is so :eek:

Horrible outfit, especially the hat :ermm:
Nice to see so many members at once. I agree with others, Mathilde's outfit was not the best. And Philippe really didn't look that great either. I mean his clothes were fine but his coloring or something didn't look so great.
Queen Paola is still recovering from the influenza she had over the weekend.
Henri M.:I have the idea Queen Paola never really recovered from her nasty fall, last year in Italy.

For some reasons she looks depressed. The Belgian royal family is in difficult circumstances and the Queen looks 'down' about it. Like she has capitulated for the negative sentiments and the 'Coburg-bashing'.
I don't know. What is your impression on Queen Paola the latest months?
My impression is that the accident en the injury that got with it has made a big inpact on Queen Paola and that recovering from it is more difficult and takes more time than she thougt or hoped. But as far as you can determine from pictures it is going better on and on. At the last visit of Queen Paola and King Albert to Fleurus she seemed rather fine to me.Yes perhaps she is not recovering so fast, I wish for Queen Paola that that is not so. Yes you can see that she is an older woman, so what, we can't be young forever. Nature is well towards her in my opinion. I think that she is used to and hardened the whole show about the complications around Phillip an Laurent. She achives her things in the background.[Unfortunately for me with few pictures] I don't think she has capitulate for the problems, she needs her time to recover fully.
But all of this stay just guessing, time wil tell maybe. It just gives me a reason [as if a need that
]to go to the book shop tomorrow to get some belgian papers. If they give a reason for the absence of Queen Paola, I will tell you, otherwise was it nice guessing in English for once. I hope you can make some sense out of it.

Emily said:
Queen Paola is still recovering from the influenza she had over the weekend.

Posting my reply I discover that the answer of the absence of Queen Paola is already given. So my guess was right. Well, thank you fo the answer Emely. And I wish Queen Paola will soon be well again.

:) But I am still going to the bookshop tomorrow!! :)
Laurent and Claire are also abscent...

I think the king looks very 'classy' with his (new?) vest!

And about Mathilde, it's wintertime, brown is the color, it's not always easy to wear new creations. But spring is coming, and so will the colors, with the dashing skirts and blouses, a bit patience :)
Poor Prince Philippe looks like he's suffering from the flu too. His color is ashen and look at those circles under his eyes!
a mass in memory of the deceased members of the Royal family, Thursday 15 February 2007, in Laken, near Brussels - pictures
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