Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant

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Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
Duchess of Brabant
File:Prinses Elisabeth op 21 juli 2017.png
Princess Elisabeth in 2017.
Born (2001-10-25) 25 October 2001 (age 22)
Erasmus Hospital, Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium
House Belgium
Father King Philippe of Belgium
Mother Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
Religion Roman Catholic

Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (Élisabeth Thérèse Marie Hélène; born 25 October 2001), is the heiress apparent to the Belgian throne. The eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, she was elevated to the dukedom after grandfather King Albert II abdicated in favor of her father on 21 July 2013.

Birth

The first child of the then Duke and Duchess of Brabant, Philippe (now King) and Mathilde, Elisabeth was delivered by caesarean section at 21:58 CET on 25 October 2001 at the Erasmus Hospital, the teaching hospital of the Free University of Brussels in Anderlecht, Brussels. She was baptized on 9 December 2001 in the chapel of Ciergnon Castle in the Belgian Ardennes, by the late Cardinal Danneels, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels. Her godparents are Archduke Amedeo of Austria-Este (paternal cousin), and Countess Helene d'Udekemd d'Acoz (maternal aunt).

Education and Military Training

Princess Elisabeth studied at St John Berchmans College, Brussels, from 2004 until 2018. This marked a significant change in royal tradition, being the first time that a future Belgian monarch's education has begun in Dutch. In 2018, she continued her secondary education at UWC Atlantic College in Wales under the name "Elisabeth de Brabant," receiving her International Baccalaureate Diploma in May 2020. She also attended the Yale Young Global Scholars Program at Yale University.

In May 2020, the Belgian Royal Court announced that Elisabeth would undertake military training. On 31 August 2020, Elisabeth entered the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, studying social and military sciences. Among the 160th promotion Elisabeth received her blue beret in September 2022, having completed her one-year training on 9 July 2021. For the next two years, she attended the Royal Military Academy's annual three-week summer camps and other practical and theoretical military classes. She swore the officers' oath on 26 September 2023 being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Belgian Army.

Elisabeth went on to read history and politics at Lincoln College, Oxford, in October 2021 and rowed for Lincoln College Boat Club in Torpids, an Oxford rowing race, in February 2023 under the name "Elisabeth de Saxe-Cobourg."

Elisabeth speaks Dutch, French, German and English, and has taken classes in Mandarin Chinese.

Activities

Elisabeth's first public appearance was on 21 July 2006, when was accompanied her parents during Te Deum for National Day celebrations at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. The following year, on 13 June 2007, Princess Elisabeth and her parents attended the opening of a new Technopolis youth interactive at Mechelen. In 2009, she gave her name to the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station, a Belgian scientific polar research station.

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. She gave her first official self-written speech in 2014 during commemoratives of the centenary of the outbreak of World War I at Nieuwpoort. Princess Elisabeth read the prayer intentions at her great-aunt Queen Fabiola's funeral in December 2014. Princess Elisabeth was honored to be godmother of the patrol vessel Pollux P902 on 6 May 2015 in Zeebrugge. In April 2019, Elisabeth joined her father King Philippe on a visit to meet Brussels firefighters. She attended the funeral of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg in May 2019. 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. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Princess Elisabeth held conversations over the phone with elderly people in residential care centers in order to give them encouragement and support. On 21 July 2021, she joined fellow students of the Royal Military Academy Belgium to parade during Belgian during Belgian National Day.

On 12 May 2022, Princess Elisabeth accompanied her aunt Princess Astrid on a visit to St Hilda's College, Oxford. There, she and her aunt met St Hilda's Principal Professor Dame Sarah Springman and the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University Professor Dame Louise Richardson. On 17 June 2022, together with her mother the Queen, she was among the royal guests invited to the celebrations of the 18th birthday of Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway. She carried her two first solo official engagements in the following week by christening the Belgian oceanographic research vessel RV Belgica and inauguration KU Leuven's Princess Elisabeth Additive Manufacturing Lab. In December 2022, Princess Elisabeth and her brother Prince Emmanuel participated in the Warmathon in Brussels. In March 2023, Elisabeth and her mother Queen Mathilde traveled to Egypt, where they visited archaeological sites. On 5 May 2023, Elisabeth accompanied her father to a reception at Buckingham Palace the evening before the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla of the United Kingdom. In June 2023, she and her father attended the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and Rajwa Al Saif. Elisabeth carried her first solo official trip abroad in October 2023 by attending Christian, Crown Prince of Denmark 18th birthday celebration banquet at Christiansborg Palace, Denmark. In March 2024, she joined her father at the Castle of Laeken to receive former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Elisabeth volunteers to help children with learning difficulties, the elderly, the homeless and disabled people.

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. On 21 July 2013, once Elisabeth's father had sworn the oath of office as King of the Belgians (his father's King Albert II, having abdicated shortly before), she became heir apparent to the throne, taking the title of Duchess of Brabant. Should she ascend to the throne as expected, Elisabeth will become Belgium's first female monarch.

Eponyms

  • Princess Elisabeth Antarctic (2009)
  • Princess Elisabeth Children's Hospital (2011)
  • Princess Elisabeth Park (2019)
  • Microcostatus elisabethianus
  • Athenee Royal Princess Elisabeth
  • Princess Elisabeth Additive Manufacturing Lab (2022)
  • Princess Elisabeth Island

Titles and styles[edit]

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

Honors

Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold (25 October 2019)

Military Ranks

25 September 2020-26 September 2023: Officer Cadet, Belgian Royal Military Academy

26 September 2023-present Second Lieutenant, Belgian Land Component