The Belgian royal family celebrates King’s Day – Royal Central

© Koninklijk Paleis, Brussel / Palais Royal, Bruxelles / Königlicher Palast, Brüssel / Palais Royal, Bruxelles Photographer: Bas Bogaerts

King Albert, Queen Paola and Prince Laurent took part in a Te Deum (or service of thanksgiving) in the Saint-Michel et Gudule cathedral in Brussels.

The service takes place every year on November 15 in the main church of Brussels to celebrate the King’s Day.

The feast falls on Saint-Léopold’s Day, Leopold being the name of three Belgian kings, the first two of which following the creation of the Kingdom of Belgium.

Between 1944 and 1950, because the country had a Prince Regent, the holiday temporarily changed its name to Dynasty Day. This name is still used today, but it is incorrect, as a 1953 circular from the Belgian Ministry of the Interior noted.

Until 2000, church service was the only event organized to celebrate the day; since the dawn of the new millennium, however, a tributes session at the Palais de la Nation has been added to promote a better balance between religion and secularism within the state.

The King and Queen never attended this event, but this year King Albert and Queen Paola did, as they are no longer the Head of State and his wife.

The theme of the year’s reception was “100 Years of Women in Belgian Politics”, and the event was organized by the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Federal Government.

From 1909 to 1912, the date of the feast was changed to November 26, which is St. Albert’s Day, to mark the name of the monarch currently on the throne, King Albert I. However, his mother, the Princess Marie de Hohenzollern- Sigmaringen, died on November 26, 1912, King Albert I therefore decided to return to November 15 until the end of the First World War. However, King Leopold III, who succeeded him, made no change, and King Baudouin decided in 1951 that from 1952 the date remained fixed at November 15.

The day also represents the public holiday of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, as well as a public holiday for most of the country’s civil servants.


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