Why doesn't King Albert appear in public anymore?

Former premier Elio Di Rupo has shed light on the near total absence from public life of King Albert of the Belgians since his abdication. The king is said to be unhappy with his pension that is lower than initially promised.

Elio Di Rupo told the RTBF programme Autopsies that he thought that King Albert should receive an amount equal to that enjoyed by the former Dutch monarch Princess Beatrix: 1.4 million euros a year. Mr Di Rupo believes that that would have reflected the contribution the king had made to the country. "After all he rescued the country" Mr Di Rupo says.

The former premier reveals that the Flemish liberals of Open VLD and Flemish socialist Deputy Premier Johan Vande Lanotte felt that this was too much. In the event they agreed to an exchange. King Albert would receive what King Filip enjoyed as crown prince, while the brand new King Filip would receive King Albert's pay. This means that King Albert now has to make do on 923,000 euros a year. As a result King Albert and Queen Paola hardly ever appear in public nowadays.

Elio Di Rupo reveals that as a result a chill has now taken hold of his relations with King Albert and that they hardly ever talk nowadays.