Belgium’s current royal couple; King Filip and Queen Mathilde were not in attendance as tradition decrees that the monarch does not attend his own celebration.
King Albert was absent as he is recovering from surgery on his forehead. Prince Laurent was also not present as he is returning from a foreign trip. Dowager Queen Fabiola’s poor health meant that the 86-year was also unable to attend.
The Te Deum was celebrated by the Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium Archbishop André-Jozef Léonard. Archbishop Léonard thanked politicians in Belgium for the efforts they make for the common good. He also spoke of “the great challenge” they face.
Last year Queen Paola’s new hairdo was the talk of the celebrations. It was the first time they she had appeared in public with her hair cut short and coloured silver-white.