What will happen on 21 July?

21 July is the Belgian National Holiday, but this year is a very special occasion as King Albert has decided to abdicate in favour of his eldest son Prince Filip. What events will be taking place and when?
  • At 9am a Roman Catholic Te Deum mass will be celebrated in Brussels' St Michael's Cathedral.
  • At 10:30am King Albert will sign the official documents marking his abdication. The ceremony will take place at the royal palace of Brussels. King Albert of the Belgians will retain the title 'king', but will lose the qualification 'of the Belgians'.
  • At noon his son will swear his oath of allegiance to the Belgian constitution and become the new King of the Belgians. To mark the accession canon shots will be fired. Filip becomes the second King of the Belgians to take the oath of office on 21 July. It was also on this day on 21 July 1831 that Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha swore his allegiance to the constitution and became the first King of the Belgians.
  • At 1pm the new king and queen will appear on the balcony of the royal palace of Brussels. They will be joined by the other royals.
  • At 2:10pm King Filip will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Brussels.
  • At 4:05 King Filip will inspect the troops. This will be followed at 5pm by a military march-past.
  • At 7pm the new king and queen will attend festivities in the Park of Brussels.
  • At 11pm King Filip and Queen Mathilde will join the people of Brussels in watching a fireworks display.