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Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, Prince of Belgium (French: Philippe Léopold Louis Marie, Dutch: Filip(s) Leopold Lodewijk Maria; born 15 April 1960), is the eldest son and heir apparent of Albert II, King of the Belgians and Queen Paola. His godparents were his paternal grandfather, King Leopold III of the Belgians, and his maternal grandmother Donna Luisa, Princess Ruffo di Calabria.
Prince Philippe was educated at the Belgian Royal Military Academy. From 1978 to 1981 he continued his education at Oxford University's Trinity College. He attended Graduate School at Stanford University, California, where he graduated in 1985 with an MA degree in Political Science.
He was appointed as a Second Lieutenant in 1980 and obtained his fighter pilot's wings and his certificates as a parachutist and a commando. In 1989 the Prince attended a series of special sessions at the Royal Higher Defence Institute. The same year, he was promoted to Colonel. On 25 March 2001 the Prince was appointed to the rank of Major-General in the Land Component and the Air Component and to the rank of Rear-Admiral in the Naval Component.
Prince Philippe married Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz, daughter of a Walloon Count of Belgian noble family and female line descendant of Polish noble families such as the Princes Sapieha, on 4 December 1999 in Brussels, civilly at the Brussels Town Hall and religiously at the Cathedral of Saint Michel in Brussels. They have four children:
- Princess Elisabeth Thérèse Marie Hélène, born 25 October 2001
- Prince Gabriel Baudouin Charles Marie, born 20 August 2003
- Prince Emmanuel Léopold Guillaume François Marie, born 4 October 2005
- Princess Eléonore Fabiola Victoria Anne Marie, born 16 April 2008
When he assumes the throne, Princess Mathilde will become the first Belgian-born queen consort of Belgium.
Owing to the amendment to the laws of succession (the Lex Salica, or Salic law) from eldest son to eldest child, Princess Elisabeth is next in the line of succession after her father, followed by her younger brothers, Prince Gabriel and Prince Emmanuel, and her younger sister Princess Eléonore.
For some years, Philippe, though second-in-line to the throne, was treated as the likely heir of his childless uncle, King Baudouin. As Baudouin and his wife, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, were unable to have children, they became very close to Philippe. However, on Baudouin's premature death in 1993, Philippe's father, Albert, inherited the throne.
Dr. Gustaaf Janssens, Archivist of the Royal Palace, confirms that HRH The Duke of Brabant's coat of arms consists of his father The King's coat of arms, minus the sceptres and Grand Collar of the Order of Leopold, and with the helm facing to the left (heraldic dexter).
Titles and stylesEdit
- His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium (1960–1993)
- His Royal Highness Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, Prince of Belgium (1993–present)
In contrast to King Albert II's title, King of the Belgians, Prince Philippe is called Prince of Belgium, not Prince of the Belgians, a title that does not exist. He is also Duke of Brabant, the traditional title of the heir apparent to the Belgian throne. This title precedes the title Prince of Belgium.
His style currently is: HRH The Duke of Brabant.
Upon succession to the throne, he will be known as King Philippe (without a following ordinal (number), in a similar manner to his uncle King Baudouin).
Prince Philippe has received numerous honours throughout his life, besides a Belgian one also several foreign national and dynastic orders:
On his 30th birthday, he was awarded, by his uncle, King Baudouin of the Belgians, the highest Belgian honour:
- Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold (24 april 1990)
- This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
- Netherlands : Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (1993) -
- Argentina : Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin (1994) -
- Japan: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (1994) -
- Holy See : Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (1995)
- Bolivia : Grand Cross of the Order of the Condor of the Andes (1996) -
- Portugal :
- Grand Cordon of the Military Order of Aviz (1997)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (2005) -
- Germany : Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic (1998) -
- Luxembourg : Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau (1999) -
- Spain : Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (2000) -
- Sweden : Knight of the Order of the Seraphim (2001) -
- Denmark : Knight of the Order of the Elephant (2002) -
- Norway : Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Olav (2003) -
- Finland : Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose (2004) -
- Poland : Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2004) -
- Greece : Grand Cross of the Order of Honour (2005) -
- Hungary (Order) : Grand-Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, Civilian Class (2008) -
- Knight of Honour and Dévotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (1998) -
Former sovereign families
- Austrian Empire : Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (2008) - (House of Habsburg)