Happy birthday Princess Elisabeth

Crown Princess Elisabeth is celebrating het 18th birthday today. The woman that will at some point in the future become Belgium’s first female Head of State was born on 25 November 2001 at the Erasmus Hospital in the Brussels Municipality of Anderlecht. On Friday morning festivities to celebrate the Princess’ coming of age were held at the Royal Palace in Brussels. 

These included a varied programme of music and dance that was stage before an audience of VIPs and other invited guests in the Palace’s Throne Room. The performances were shown live on VRT television and livestreamed on VRT News’ Dutch-language website.    

One of the musical highlights of the festivities was a performance given by the violinist Lorenzo Gatto and Sylvia Huang. Lorenzo Gatto came second in the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition for violin, which Sylvia was a finalist this year. There were also performances from by the Antwerp Royal Ballet School and Belgium 2017 Eurovision Song Contest entrant Blanche.  

Five young people that like Princess Elisabeth came of age this year made speeches during the celebrations. In her speech Princess Elisabeth told Belgians that “The country can rely on me”. Now she is 18 Princess Elisabeth can take over as Head of State if this were necessary. However, as her farther King Filip is only 59 and in excellent health, it is unlikely that this will be for some time yet.     

Among those at the Palace on Friday morning were members of the royal family, representatives of the federal and various regional and language community governments, representatives of the various parliaments, the magistracy, the military, the provinces and various religions. One absentee on Friday morning was the Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon. Like other Flemish nationalist politicians, Mr Jambon let it be known that he would not be attending.  

A very special gift given to Princess Elisabeth by her Father King Filip was a medal that now means that she is a member of the order of Leopold.