Belgian king leaves throne to his son
BRUSSELS - Reuters
Belgian Crown Prince Philippe. AP PhotoBelgium’s King Albert II said July 3 he would abdicate on July 21 and leave the throne to his son, saying at 79 he felt too old to carry out his duties properly.
His 53-year-old heir, Philippe, studied at Trinity College, Oxford, and Stanford University, and has led trade delegations to countries such as the United States, China and Thailand. In 1999 Philippe married Princess Mathilde, a Belgian-born aristocrat, with whom he has four children. His 11-year-old daughter Elisabeth could become the country’s first queen.
“I realize that my age and my health are no longer allowing me to carry out my duties as I would like to,” the king said in a televised address.
Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said of Philippe: “He has already shown repeatedly how much he loves Belgium and the prince is willing to serve the country well. He can count on the support of the government.”