Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant


Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (Dutch: Elisabeth Theresia Maria Helena; French: Élisabeth Thérèse Marie Hélène; born 25 October 2001) is the heir apparent to the Belgian throne. The eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, she acquired her position after her grandfather King Albert II abdicated in favour of her father on 21 July 2013.[1]

Princess Elisabeth
Duchess of Brabant
Princess Elisabeth in 2017
BornPrincess Elisabeth of Belgium
(2001-10-25) 25 October 2001 (age 19)
Erasmus Hospital, Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium
HouseBelgium
FatherPhilippe of Belgium
MotherMathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Birth


The first child of the then Duke and Duchess of Brabant, Elisabeth was delivered by Caesarean section at 21:58 CET on 25 October 2001 at the Erasmus Hospital, the teaching hospital of Université libre de Bruxelles in Anderlecht, Brussels.[2] She was baptized on 9 December 2001 in the chapel of Ciergnon Castle in the Belgian Ardennes,[3] by Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels.[4] Her godparents are Archduke Amedeo of Austria-Este (paternal cousin), and Countess Hélène d'Udekem d'Acoz (maternal aunt).[5]

Life and education


Elisabeth studied at St John Berchmans College in the Marollen district of Brussels, which had been attended by her older cousins, the children of her paternal aunt, Princess Astrid of Belgium. This is a significant change in the habits of the royal family, as it is the first time that a future Belgian monarch's education has begun in Dutch. Elisabeth speaks Dutch, French, German and English.[6]

On 21 July 2013, once Elisabeth’s father had taken the oath of office as King of the Belgians (his father, King Albert II, having abdicated shortly before), she became heir apparent to the throne and as such bears the title of Duchess of Brabant.[7]

Elisabeth studied at UWC Atlantic College in Wales and received an international baccalaureate in the May 2020 session.[8] On 20 May 2020, the Belgian Royal Palace announced that she started to study social and military science in the Belgian Military Academy in Brussels in the autumn of 2020.[9][10] She also attended the Yale Young Global Scholars Program at Yale University.[10]

Activities


Elisabeth's first public appearance was on 21 July 2006, when she accompanied her parents during a Te Deum for National Day celebrations in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.[11] A year later, on 13 June 2007, Princess Elisabeth and her parents attended the opening of a new Technopolis youth interactive at Mechelen.[11]

In 2009, Elisabeth gave her name to the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station, a Belgian scientific polar research station.[11][10] In September 2011, the nine-year-old princess gave her first public speech (in Dutch) at the opening of Princess Elisabeth Children’s Hospital, part of Ghent University Hospital in Ghent.[12] She gave her first official speech in 2014 amidst World War I commemorations.[13] Princess Elisabeth became godmother of a patrol vessel named Pollux P902 on 6 May 2015 in Zeebrugge.[11][10] In June 2019, the Duchess of Brabant and her mother traveled to Kenya for the United Nations Children’s Fund, where they visited the Kakuma refugee camp.[11] During the COVID-19 pandemic, Princess Elisabeth had conversations over the phone with elderly people in residential care centers in order to encourage and support them.[10]

Elisabeth volunteers to help children with learning difficulties, the elderly, the homeless and people with a handicap.[10]

Position


Ten years prior to Elisabeth's birth, a new act of succession was put into effect which introduced absolute primogeniture, meaning that she comes first in the line of succession because she is the eldest child. If she ascends to the throne as expected, she will be Belgium's first queen regnant.[14]

Eponym


Titles, styles and honour


  • 25 October 2001 – 21 July 2013: Her Royal Highness Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
  • 21 July 2013 – present: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Brabant

Honour

Arms


Coat of arms of Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant
Notes
As Duchess of Brabant the Princess is entitled to use a coat of arms which was stipulated in the Royal Decree of King Philippe in 2019.[15]
Adopted
12 July 2019
Coronet
Princely crown of Belgium
Escutcheon
On a lozenge, 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), overall a label of three points or.
Supporters
Two lions guardant proper each supporting a lance or with two banners of the Duchy of Brabant.
Motto
French: L'union fait la force
Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht
German: Einigkeit macht stark
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.

References


  1. Brumfield, Ben. "Belgium's King Albert II gives up throne to son". CNN. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  2. "Les premières déclarations du Prince Philippe" (in French). 26 October 2001. Le Prince Philippe a annoncé, dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi à la presse, que la Princesse Élisabeth Thérèse Marie Hélène était née à 21h58 par césarienne.
  3. "Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant: A profile and photos of Belgium's future queen". HELLO!. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  4. "PRINCESS ELISABETH OF BELGIUM BAPTISED IN PRIVATE CEREMONY". ca.hellomagazine.com (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  5. Moniek (6 March 2020). "Female Heirs - Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant". History of Royal Women. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  6. "Remarquable: la princesse Elisabeth s'exprime parfaitement dans les trois langues nationales (vidéo)". Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  7. Text in French of the 2001 amendment: « Le titre de Duc de Brabant ou de Duchesse de Brabant sera toujours porté, à l'avenir, par le Prince ou la Princesse, fils aîné ou fille aînée du Roi, et, à défaut, par le Prince ou la Princesse, fils aîné ou fille aînée du fils aîné ou de la fille aînée du Roi. »
  8. "Princess Elisabeth of Belgium to study in Wales". BBC News.
  9. "Crown Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, 18, Enrolls in Military Academy: 'The Country Can Count on Me'". People. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  10. "Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant". The Belgian Monarchy Official Website.
  11. "PRINCESS ELISABETH, THE FUTURE QUEEN OF THE BELGIANS". royalfashionblog.com. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  12. "PHOTOS: Princess Elisabeth of Belgium Gives A Speech". HuffPost. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  13. Ilse, Jesse (25 October 2019). "Who is Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant?". royalcentral.co.uk. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  14. "The King, the Queen and their Family". Monarchie.be. The Belgian Monarchy. Retrieved 12 June 2018. In the past, only boys could become Kings. The Constitution was changed in 1991: Princesses can now also ascend the throne and become Queen. Princess Elisabeth, who is the eldest of four children of King Philippe, is therefore the heiress of the Belgian monarchy. When she succeeds her father King Philippe, Princess Elisabeth will be the first woman to become Head of State in Belgium.
  15. Philippe, Koning der Belgen (12 July 2019). "Koninklijk besluit houdende vaststelling van het wapen van het Koninklijk Huis en van zijn leden" (PDF). Moniteur Belge/ Belgisch Staatsblad. Retrieved 24 July 2019.