6 details you need to know about the heir to the throne
Princess Elisabeth of Belgium will celebrate her 20th birthday on October 25, 2021. Read six exciting facts about the heir to the throne here.
Princess Elisabeth, 20, who is privately called Lisa, has been trained to be queen for 20 years. She is used to being the center of attention, writes the daily newspaper “Gazet van Antwerpen” on the occasion of her birthday. Elisabeth has become a young woman who continues to surprise Belgians on the inside – and who has a versatile character.
1. Princess Elisabeth becomes the first queen of Belgium
Elisabeth is the first child of King Philippe, 61, and Queen Mathilde, 48. The princess, born on October 25, 2001 in the Erasmus Hospital in Anderlecht, was automatically second in line to the Belgian throne after the Salic Act was abolished in 1991. When her father was crowned in 2013, she became Duchess of Brabant and thus the direct heir to the throne. She will be the first queen of Belgium. Previous queens only ruled as consorts.
2. Elisabeth speaks French and Dutch
Princess Elisabeth gave her first official speech at the tender age of nine. On September 7, 2011, she performed her first major official duty while visiting a children’s hospital. During her speech, Elisabeth surprised the audience by speaking in perfect Dutch. She is the first member of the royal family to be fluent in French and Dutch.
The little royals grow up just as quickly
4. Training in the Royal Military Academy
At the age of 18, Princess Elisabeth entered the royal military academy as a cadet. She was the first female member of the royal family to do so, until then the school was a purely male tradition. Prior to that, Elisabeth attended UWC Atlantic College in Wales, Great Britain, for two years.
For a year Elisabeth belonged to the Dutch-speaking part of the military academy and chose the social and military sciences course, where she studied geopolitics, communication, international relations and management. After successfully completing the first year, the Duchess of Brabant decided not to continue her education here.
5. Studied at Oxford
Princess Elisabeth has been a student at Oxford University since October 2021, where she will attend Lincoln College for three years. King Philippe’s daughter studies history and politics. Nevertheless, the princess “will return to Belgium regularly and continue to take part in Belgian public life”, the palace assured shortly after Elisabeth’s plans became known.
6. Princess Elisabeth has numerous hobbies
On the website of the royal family you can read that the princess is sporty, loves nature, enjoys reading and traveling. Elisabeth took piano lessons for 10 years from the musician Pascale del Marmol, who today describes her as “very steadfast” and “pleasant and personable, but also very sensible and social”. Elisabeth also danced ballet for eleven years at the Asse Academy, where she received classical and contemporary dance lessons five hours a week. Painting is also one of Elisabeth’s passions, and she received lessons from the painter Pierre Chariot, who lives near the castle of Ciergnon.
But Elisabeth is also very committed to social issues: As a teenager, she worked once a month as a volunteer, an idea from Mama Mathilde, and helped children with learning difficulties with their homework, distributed soups to the homeless or worked in an old people’s home. Martina de Limon from the organization “Les Guetteurs de l’Aube” remembers that the princess only had to be addressed as Lisa and that the bodyguards should remain very discreet in the background: “During no activity, no one was allowed to know that she was coming, neither other volunteers nor the people she would help. “
The three years of study at Oxford could be the last carefree years of her life. Then duty will call – and Princess Elisabeth will be an active royal before she ever has to ascend the throne.
Sources used: gala.fr, Dana Press, Gazet van Antwerpen