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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

King Albert II of Belgium Abdicates

Barely three months after Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands gave up the throne in favour of her eldest son, Prince Wilhelm-Alexander (who is now the new Dutch monarch), another European King announces his impending abdication on July 21. 

Quite sad. As a royalist for many years now, I felt bad every time I hear a monarch announces his or her abdication, it's a little bit strange because back in the middle ages, only the death of abdication of the ruling sovereign can vacate the throne and I am used to the idea of seeing a King or a Queen finishes the reign. 
His Majesty, King Albert II of the Belgians.
He is the first monarch of Belgium to abdicate. He ascended the Belgian throne in 1993 on the death of his childless brother, King Boudouin, who died from heart attack. The King mentioned his frail health as the reason of his abdication.

But time changes and the monarchy, which is as old as the idea of the existence of fairytale stories, must learn to breath fresh air in the rigid society of the new world. They must go with the call of times otherwise the throne they'd inherit from their ancestors will thoroughly shrink into the quicksand of illusion.
Belgium's Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde will be King and Queen 
of the Belgians on July 21, 2013

His Majesty, King Albert II of Belgium, who had been King of the Belgians since 1993 after his childless brother, King Boudouin, died suddenly from heart attack, expresses his intention to relinquish the throne to his heir, Prince Philippe, the Duke of Brabant.

King Albert II of Belgium descended from two of the most powerful royal houses in Europe. He is the last link of the Belgian royalty to the bloodlines of both Queen Victoria of England and King Christian IX of Denmark. Albert, who was only 3 years old when his mother, Queen Astrid, died in a fatal car crash accident, is the youngest child of King Leopold III, a great great nephew of Queen Victoria while Queen Astrid was a grand daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark through his granddaughter, Princess Ingeborg. Astrid was an older sister of Princess Martha of Norway, the mother of the current Norwegian King, Harald V. Albert's older sister, the late Princess Josephine Charlotte, was the mother of the current ruler of Luxembourg, Grand Duke Henri.

Upon the King's abdication, his son, the Duke of Brabant will take over the throne and will reign under his chosen regnal name, King Filip. His wife, the Duchess of Brabant, Princess Mathilde, a daughter of a Belgian baron, will be the first Queen Consort of the Belgians who is a commoner.

Belgium already adopted the equal law of succession, meaning irrespective of gender, an eldest child will be the heir-apparent of the ruling sovereign, thus, the couple's first born daughter, Princess Elisabeth, will be next in line, her title is yet to be determined, it's not yet certain if she will take the Duchess of Brabant title as it is reserved for a wife of the Duke of Brabant.

In his speech announcing his intention to give up the throne, King Albert II said "I am at an age never attained by my predecessors, my age and my health do not allow me anymore to exercise my duties as I would like" emphasizing he's already tired and frail to continue to reign.

The King's decision to abdicate is the first in the history of Belgium since gaining its independence in 1831. He is the sixth King from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, a Germanic royal house to which the family of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain descended, it was the name of the British royal family until 1917 when Elizabeth's grandfather, King George V, changed it to Windsor to please his volatile subjects after harbouring hatred from the Germans during World War I.

As time ushers the world into a new era of civilization and definition of democracy, European crown heads find it very tough to rule a nation with subjects frequently demanded for change and modernity, ageing monarchs often consider it as a burden, thus, there's no other resort but to give up the throne.

After King Albert II's surprising move to abdicate, the question now is who is next to take such move? Definitely not Queen Elizabeth II as she is already express her devotion to reign until her death, most likely King Juan Carlos of Spain, he has been touted to be entertaining the idea of abdication in the past years due to his poor health condition.

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