Crown Prince Filip refuses to discuss father's abdication

The heir to the Belgian throne Crown Prince Filip, has spoken with newsmen at the end of the trade mission to California that he headed.

Prince Filip's trip included a visit to Stanford University where he studied in his youth. He told newsmen: "I loved this period and the country where there was so much enthusiasm. Of course I am a little nostalgic. I'm 53 now and I was 23 at the time."

Prince Filip said that he wanted to remain 'a young father for his children' including Princess Elisabeth, who gets 'a normal education'. He added: "She is a fantastic girl, who, for her age, already has a strong personality."

The crown prince is also pleased with the success of the trade mission to the US West Coast: "We came in great numbers with all our talents. I am proud to see all these entrepreneurs who accompanied us. When I succeeded my father (as head of trade missions) it was my dream to introduce an export culture. Today trade missions have become a platform to help businesses, sector by sector, cluster by cluster."

Prince Filip readily answered questions about the trade mission and his family, but refused to discuss sensitive issues. He did not utter a word about a possible abdication by his father, King Albert, or the reform of the public funding of the Belgian Royal Family.

Following speculation about a possible first tweet by a member of the Belgian Royal House Prince Filip said: "Twitter is a very interesting form of communication that does not form part of the philosophy of the royal house. One day this will be the case."