The video is unprecedented in Belgium, but King Filip clearly enjoyed his foray onto the silver screen. Being a royal is probably the best preparation for acting in the world.
The film was released as the Belgian squad departed for Kuwait and their friendly against Egypt and the Qatar World Cup. The royal palace posted the video on social media yesterday.
Lore Vandoorne of the royal palace’s media and communication team explains: “During every big football tournament the king is eager to support the Red Devils”.
During earlier European and World Cups the king always made time for the Red Devils. He spoke with them ahead of the matches and together with Queen Mathilde travelled to the venues. Afterwards the team always received a royal audience at the palace.
“This time round we were looking for an extra touch to support the national team and fuel pro-Belgium sentiment. It’s a different World Cup, in the winter. People won’t be able to sit and cheer on pavement cafes. That’s how the idea grew” explains the palace’s Xavier Baert.
The palace liaised with the Football Association and the organisation’s usual production company.
“First, we had a vague concept. We wanted a video that could be shared on social media, which was short and funny and fuelled national sentiment. It was also important the king liked the concept”.
The short films that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth recorded with James Bond for the London Olympics and with Paddington Bear for the Jubilee served as inspiration.
“King Filip immediately loved the idea” says Baert. “He also made suggestions for the scenario – the funniest ones of course” says Baert.
“King Filip has followed the Golden Generation of Belgian football since the start. The World Cup in Brazil in 2014 was a highlight. He’s met the players often and knows most of them well”.