A crowd of 600 had gathered outside the Roman Catholic cathedral to get a glimpse of the royals as they left the landmark after the ceremony that signalled the start of a day of festivities to mark the holiday. Many well-wishers struck up the national anthem. Unlike on previous occasions the royal family's departure was not marked by any unpleasantness emanating from anti-Belgian protesters.
Fashion watchers noted Queen Mathilde in a striking orange hat by Fabienne Delvigne.
Te Deums were also held at Bruges Cathedral and Namur Cathedral. Princess Astrid, King Filip's sister, and her husband, Prince Lorenz of Hapsburg, joined the faithful in West Flanders, while Prince Laurent, King Filip's younger brother and his half-English wife, Princess Claire, were in Wallonia.
This afternoon the royals together with many ordinary Belgians will attend the military march-past in downtown Brussels before they descend on the party in the Warande Park/ Park of Brussels.