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Philippe of Belgium facts for kids

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Sergio Mattarella and Belgian King Philippe at Quirinale in 2021 (6) (cropped).jpg
King Philippe in 2021
King of the Belgians
Reign 21 July 2013 – present
Predecessor Albert II
Heiress apparent Elisabeth
Prime Ministers Elio Di Rupo
Charles Michel
Sophie Wilmès
Alexander De Croo
Born (1960-04-15) 15 April 1960 (age 62)
Belvédère Castle, Laeken, Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium
Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
(m. 1999)
  • Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant
  • Prince Gabriel
  • Prince Emmanuel
  • Princess Eléonore
Full name
Dutch: Filip Leopold Lodewijk Maria
French: Philippe Léopold Louis Marie
German: Philipp Leopold Ludwig Maria
House Belgium
Father Albert II of Belgium
Mother Paola Ruffo di Calabria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Philippe or Filip (Dutch: Filip Leopold Lodewijk Maria [ˈfilɪp ˈleːjoːpɔlt ˈloːdəʋɛik maːˈrijaː]; French: Philippe Léopold Louis Marie [filip leɔpɔld lwi maʁi]; born 15 April 1960) is King of the Belgians. He is the eldest child of King Albert II and Queen Paola. He succeeded his father upon the latter's abdication for health reasons on 21 July 2013. He married Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz in 1999, with whom he has four children. Their eldest child, Princess Elisabeth, is first in the line of succession.

Early life

Philippe was born on 15 April 1960 at the Belvédère Castle in Laeken north of Brussels. His father, Prince Albert, Prince of Liège (later King Albert II), was the second son of King Leopold III of Belgium and a younger brother of Baudouin. His mother, Paola, Princess of Liège (later Queen Paola), is a daughter of the Italian aristocrat Fulco VIII, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda. His mother descends from the French House of La Fayette, and the king is a descendant of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, and Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles.

Philippe was baptised one month later at the church of Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg in Brussels on 17 May, and named Philippe after his great-great-grandfather Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders. His godparents were his paternal grandfather, King Leopold III, and his maternal grandmother, Donna Luisa, Princess Ruffo di Calabria.

Albert and Paola's marriage was unhappy, and they were usually absent from Philippe's life. The child neglect was so severe that child psychologist Peter Adriaenssens [nl] described it as justifying intervention by social workers.

The King has a half-sibling, Princess Delphine of Belgium (born 1968).


As a child the future king was required to transfer from a French-language school, where he was purportedly happy, to a secondary school in Flanders, where he found it difficult to make friends. “In my youth, I had many problems at school” Philippe told a group of teenage dropouts in 2019. “I felt badly treated. It was not easy for me”.

From 1978 to 1981, Philippe was educated at the Belgian Royal Military Academy in the 118th "Promotion Toutes Armes" (Promotion All Weapons). On 26 September 1980, he was appointed second lieutenant and took the officer's oath.

Philippe continued his education at Trinity College, Oxford, and he attended graduate school at Stanford University, California, where he graduated in 1985 with an MA degree in political science. He obtained his fighter pilot's wings and his certificates as a parachutist and a commando. In 1989, he attended a series of special sessions at the Royal Higher Defence Institute. The same year, he was promoted to colonel.

In 1993, King Baudouin died in Spain, Albert became the new king, and Philippe became the new heir apparent, titled Duke of Brabant.

On 25 March 2001, Philippe was appointed to the rank of major-general in the Land Component and the Air Component and to the rank of rear-admiral in the Naval Component.


Belgian King Philippe and Queen Mathilde
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde wave to crowds in Brussels after his swearing in as the new Belgian monarch.

Philippe married Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz, daughter of a Walloon count of a Belgian noble family and female line descendant of Polish noble families such as the princes Sapieha and counts Komorowski, on 4 December 1999 in Brussels, in a civil ceremony at the Brussels Town Hall and a religious ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Michel and Saint Gudule in Brussels. They have four children:

  • Princess Elisabeth,
  • Prince Gabriel,
  • Prince Emmanuel, and
  • Princess Eléonore.

Foreign trade

On 6 August 1993, the government named Philippe as honorary chairman of the Belgian Foreign Trade Board (BFTB). He succeeded his father, who had been honorary chairman of the BFTB since 1962. On 3 May 2003, he was appointed honorary chairman of the board of the Foreign Trade Agency, replacing the BFTB.

In this capacity, Philippe has headed more than 60 economic missions. Upon his accession as seventh King of the Belgians, this role was taken over by his sister Princess Astrid.


Koning Filip van België
Philippe in Antwerp, 2013

King Albert II announced on 3 July 2013 that he would abdicate in favour of Philippe on 21 July 2013. Approximately one hour after King Albert II's abdication, Prince Philippe was sworn in as King of the Belgians. His eldest child, Princess Elisabeth, became his heir apparent and is expected to become Belgium's first queen regnant.


Philippe played a role in forming a coalition government after the 2014 Belgian federal election. Political meetings with the King were moved from the Palace of Laeken to the Royal Palace of Brussels. In May 2019, Philippe met with Vlaams Belang President Tom Van Grieken, the first time the party had received a royal audience.

In 2020, Philippe announced regret for the "acts of violence and cruelty" committed in Belgian Congo.

Honours and arms

Royal Standard of King Philippe of Belgium
Personal Standard of Philippe, King of the Belgians

National honours

Ribbon bar Honour Date
BEL - Order of Leopold - Grand Cordon bar.svg Grand Master of the Order of Leopold 21 July 2013
BEL Order of the African Star - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Master of the Order of the African Star 21 July 2013
BEL Royal Order of the Lion - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Lion 21 July 2013
BEL Kroonorde Grootkruis BAR.svg Grand Master of the Order of the Crown 21 July 2013
BEL Order of Leopold II - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Master of the Order of Leopold II 21 July 2013

Foreign honours

Ribbon bar Country Honour Date
ARG Order of the Liberator San Martin - Grand Cross BAR.png Argentina Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martín 6 May 1994
AUT Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria - 1st Class BAR.png Austria Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria 21 March 2022
BOL Order of Condor of the Andes - Grand Cross BAR.png Bolivia Grand Cross of the Order of the Condor of the Andes 9 September 1996
Order of the Elephant Ribbon bar.svg Denmark Knight of the Order of the Elephant 28 May 2002
FIN Order of the White Rose Grand Cross BAR.png Finland Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose 30 March 2004
Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg France Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honour 6 February 2014
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 9 Sond des Grosskreuzes.svg Germany Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of Germany 6 March 2016
GRE Order Redeemer 1Class.png Greece Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer 2 May 2022
GRE Order of Honour Grand Cross BAR.png Greece Grand Cross of the Order of Honour 1 February 2005
HUN Order of Merit of the Hungarian Rep (civil) 1class BAR.svg Hungary Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary 18 April 2008
ITA OMRI 2001 GC-GCord BAR.svg Italy Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic 25 October 2021
JPN Daikun'i kikkasho BAR.svg Japan Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum 9 October 2016
JOR Al-Hussein ibn Ali Order BAR.svg Jordan Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of al-Hussein bin Ali 18 May 2016
LTU Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain BAR.png Lithuania Golden Chain of the Order of Vytautas the Great 24 October 2022
Ordre du Lion d'Or de la Maison de Nassau ribbon.svg Luxembourg Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau 15 March 1999
NLD Order of the Dutch Lion - Grand Cross BAR.png Netherlands Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion 28 November 2016
Order of Orange-Nassau ribbon - Knight Grand Cross.svg Netherlands Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau 6 May 1993
King Willem-Alexander Investiture Medal 2013.gif Netherlands Recipient of the King Willem-Alexander Inauguration Medal 30 April 2013
St Olavs Orden storkors stripe.svg Norway Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav 20 May 2003
CivilOrderOman.png Oman Member of the Order of Oman 3 February 2022
POL Order Orła Białego BAR.svg Poland Knight of the Order of the White Eagle 13 October 2015
POL Order Zaslugi RP kl1 BAR.svg Poland Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland 18 October 2004
PRT Order of Christ - Grand Cross BAR.svg Portugal Grand Cross of the Order of Christ 18 October 2005
PRT Military Order of Aviz - Grand Cross BAR.svg Portugal Grand Cross of the Order of Aviz 18 September 1997
PRT Order of Prince Henry - Grand Collar BAR.png Portugal Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry 22 October 2018
ESP Isabella Catholic Order GC.svg Spain Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic 16 May 2000
Order of the Seraphim - Ribbon bar.svg Sweden Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim 7 May 2001
Seraphimerorden ribbon.svg Sweden Recipient of the 50th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf 30 April 1996
SWE King Carl XVI Gustaf Jubilee Medal III.png Sweden Recipient of the 70th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf 30 April 2016
Order of the State of Republic of Turkey.png Turkey Member of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey 4 October 2015
OESSG Cavaliere di Collare BAR.jpg Vatican City Knight of the Collar of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre 17 November 2015


Coat of arms of Philippe of Belgium
Coat of Arms of the King of the Belgians.svg
In 2019 the king codified the coats of arms of himself and those of his family through a Royal Decree. The arms of the reigning monarch was modified to include the Saxonian escutcheon. The arms of other members of the royal family was similarly modified. The reinstatement of the shield of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha into the royal arms occurred shortly after the visit of the king and queen to the ancestral Friedenstein Castle. The latest royal decree therefore reverses previous changes made to the Royal versions of the coat arms which removed the armorial bearings of Saxony during the First World War. By including the three official languages in the motto it reflects his wish "to be the King of the whole Kingdom and of all Belgians".
12 July 2019
Royal crown of Belgium
A golden royal helm with the visor open
Sable, a lion rampant or, armed and langued gules (Belgium), on the shoulder an escutcheon barry of ten sable and or, a crancelin vert (Wettin), with two crossed sceptres (a hand of justice and a lion) or behind a shield.
Two lions guardant proper each supporting a lance or with two National Flags of Belgium (Tierced per pale Sable, Or and Gules).
French: L'union fait la force
Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht
German: Einigkeit macht stark
Order of Leopold
Other elements
The whole is placed on a mantle purpure with ermine lining, fringes and tassels or and ensigned with the Royal crown of Belgium.
Previous versions
Previously as monarch, Philippe used the royal coat of arms of Belgium undifferenced.
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