Prince Laurent of Belgium (French: Laurent Benoît Baudouin Marie, Dutch: Laurens Benedikt Boudewijn Maria; born 19 October 1963) is the second son and youngest child of King Albert II and Queen Paola, and younger brother of King Philippe. Laurent's involvement with animal welfare and the environment, together with a relative lack of interest in protocol, has caused him to be dubbed by elements of the popular Belgian press as écolo-gaffeur (the eco-blunderer). Currently, he is 13th in the Belgian line of succession. He had been as high as third in line, but the constitution was amended in 1991 to extend an equal right of succession to women, putting him behind his sister, Princess Astrid, and her descendants.
|Born||19 October 1963|
Belvédère Castle, Laeken, Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium
|Father||Albert II of Belgium|
|Mother||Paola Ruffo di Calabria|
Early life and educationEdit
Born in the Château de Belvédère near Laeken, Belgium, he was educated at the Royal Cadet High School and at the Royal Military Academy.
Marriage and childrenEdit
Prince Laurent and Claire Louise Coombs were married in Brussels on 12 April 2003. Coombs was also given the title of Princess of Belgium upon her marriage. The couple have three children:
- Princess Louise (born 6 February 2004),
- Prince Nicolas (born 13 December 2005, twin with Aymeric)
- Prince Aymeric (born 13 December 2005, twin with Nicholas).
The brothers are fifteenth and sixteenth line of succession to the throne. The family live in Villa Clementine, in Tervuren.
Prince Laurent is also a godfather to Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the daughter of Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, a current pretender to the former throne of Two Sicilies and his wife, Princess Camilla, Duchess of Castro.
Alleged corruption scandalEdit
In December 2006, Prince Laurent's name surfaced in a corruption scandal in which funds of the Belgian Navy were spent on his residence (Villa Clémentine) in Tervuren. Although the investigating magistrates denied that Laurent was personally implicated, some of the accused have implicated the prince in the press.
On 5 January 2007, it became known that King Albert II had signed a royal decree, making it possible for Laurent to be called up as a witness in the corruption trial which was to start 8 January. One of the defendants immediately used this to subpoena the prince. During the evening of 8 January, Prince Laurent was interrogated by federal police, appearing in court the following day where he testified at the trial that he had no reason to believe the funding of his renovations could be illegal.
Media reports in March 2007 suggested that Laurent was no longer welcome at the Royal Palace, possibly due to his role in the corruption scandal.
In March 2011, the prince visited the former Belgian colony of the Congo without receiving the required permission; the reported purpose of the visit was to promote awareness of deforestation. As a result, on 9 April he accepted conditions laid down by Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme regarding his future activities; had he not done so, the matter of his annual appanage would have been in question.
In March 2014, Prince Laurent was hospitalised with pneumonia and depression. He was voluntarily placed in a medically-induced coma on March 25, and was awakened on 27 March. On 4 April, Queen Paola stated in a letter that Laurent's condition was improving, and that she felt he was 'the most vulnerable' of her three children.
Titles, styles and honoursEdit
Prince Laurent of Belgium
|Reference style||His Royal Highness|
- His Royal Highness Prince Laurent of Belgium (1963–present)
Prince Laurent does not hold a personal title as younger princes were previously accustomed to receive in the past (such as Count of Flanders or Prince of Liège).
- Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
- Grand Cross 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary
- Sovereign Military Order of Malta:
- Knight Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit
- Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star
- Two Sicilian Royal Family:
- Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Two Sicilian Royal Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George
Source : www.monarchie.be, Prince Laurent
- ^ "Belgium turns critical eye to monarchy - CNN.com". CNN. 12 January 2007. Archived from the original on 12 January 2007.
- ^ "No longer welcome". flandersnews.be. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2007-03-28.[dead link]
- ^ "Le prince Laurent a été placé en coma artificiel [French]". Le Soir.
- ^ "Le Prince Laurent a reçu la visite du père Gilbert et est réveillé". 27 March 2014.
- ^ "News report". www.wort.lu.
- ^ Bremner, Charles. "Belgium's 'Duke of York': buffoon or man out of control?".
- ^ Royal Decree 783/2000. BOE no. 115, 13 May 2000, p. 17722
- ^ "Senior Constantinian knight, HRH Prince Laurent of Belgium, marries British-born Claire Coombs - Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George". 26 April 2003.
- ^ Philippe, Koning der Belgen (12 July 2019). "Koninklijk besluit houdende vaststelling van het wapen van het Koninklijk Huis en van zijn leden" (PDF). Belgisch Staatsblad. Retrieved 24 July 2019.