Queen Mathilde of Belgium

Mathilde (born Jonkvrouw Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d'Udekem d'Acoz [matild dyd(ə)kɛm dakɔ]; 20 January 1973) is Queen of the Belgians as the wife of King Philippe. She is the first native-born Belgian queen.

Mathilde
MJK54509 Mathilde of Belgium (Frankfurt Book Fair 2017).jpg
Mathilde in 2017
Queen consort of the Belgians
Tenure21 July 2013 – present
BornJonkvrouw Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d'Udekem d'Acoz
(1973-01-20) 20 January 1973 (age 48)
Uccle, Brussels, Belgium
Spouse
(m. 1999)
Issue
Housed'Udekem d'Acoz
FatherCount Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz
MotherCountess Anna Maria Komorowska
ReligionRoman Catholic

Early life and familyEdit

Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d'Udekem d'Acoz was born on 20 January 1973 in Uccle, Belgium. Her parents are Count and Countess Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz.[1] Mathilde has three sisters: Marie-Alix, Elisabeth and Hélène, and one brother Charles-Henri.[2]

Upon Mathilde's marriage to Prince Philippe of Belgium, the Duke of Brabant in 1999, King Albert II of Belgium elevated the family d'Udekem d'Acoz from the baronial to the comital rank, hereditary in the male lineage. Upon the accession of her husband, Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant to the throne of Belgium she became the first queen consort of native Belgian nationality.

Education and careerEdit

Mathilde attended primary school in Bastogne and then attending secondary school at the Institut de la Vierge Fidèle in Brussels where she studied modern languages.[2][3] From 1991 until 1994, Mathilde attended the Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels, where she studied speech therapy and graduated magna cum laude.[3] She worked as a speech therapist in her own practice in Brussels from 1995 to 1999.[1] She worked part-time at a primary school.[2] She also studied psychology at the Université catholique de Louvain and earned a master's degree in psychology in 2002 with honours (cum laude).[3][4]

Mathilde speaks French, Dutch, English and Italian. She is also able to speak basic Spanish.[2] Her mother, who has lived most of her life outside Poland, did not teach her Polish, thinking that it would not be necessary. Therefore, she knows only a few words of Polish.[5]

Marriage and childrenEdit

The announcement of Mathilde's engagement to the Belgian heir-apparent Prince Philippe came as a surprise to the country. Mathilde married Philippe on 4 December 1999 in Brussels, civilly at the Brussels Town Hall and religiously at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. Mathilde's bridal gown was designed by Édouard Vermeulen. She was made Duchess of Brabant and a Princess of Belgium on 8 November 1999 (published on 13 November 1999 and effective from 4 December 1999).

 
Queen Mathilde alongside Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore in 2016

The couple have four children:

Princess Elisabeth, the couple's eldest child, is the first in line to the throne and ahead of her younger brothers and sister, who are second, third, and fourth in line to succeed, owing to a change in Belgian succession laws in 1991, allowing for the eldest child to succeed, regardless of gender.

ActivitiesEdit

Queen Mathilde is concerned with a range of social issues including education, child poverty, intergenerational poverty, the position of women in society and literacy.[1]

Since 2009, Queen Mathilde has been the honorary president of Unicef Belgium.[1] She serves as the World Health Organization's Special Representative for Immunization.[6] She also the honorary president of the Breast International Group, a non-profit organisation for academic breast cancer research groups from around the world.[1]

She set up the Princess Mathilde Fund (now the Queen Mathilde Fund) in 2001, which promotes the care of vulnerable people and awards an annual prize for good works in a particular sector.[7] The sector changes each year: examples include early years education, women's health, and protecting young people from violence.[8]

Queen Mathilde deploys the Queen's Charities to offer help to citizens who are struggling to cope with financial hardship in their daily lives and often turn to her as a last resort.[1] The Queen is the honorary president of Child Focus, a foundation for missing and sexually exploited children.[1]

Queen Mathilde is a patron of YouthStart Belgium.[9] Queen Mathilde is also a patron of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, an international competition founded in 1937 as an initiative of Queen Elisabeth and Belgian composer and violist Eugène Ysaÿe.[1]

In 2018, Queen Mathilde became the honorary president of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development.[1] According to the royal tradition, Queen Mathilde became an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium.[1]

Queen Mathilde is a member of the Schwab Foundation Board for Social Entrepreneurship. She was a United Nations Emissary for the International Year of Microcredit 2005, which focused in particular on financial inclusion and financial literacy. The Queen also attends the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.[1]

Queen Mathilde was named a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Advocate in 2016, promoting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda for global sustainable development).[10] As an SDG Advocate, she is particularly focused on mental health.[11]

The Queen also presided at the ceremony awarding the King Baudouin International Development Prize.[3]

HonoursEdit

NationalEdit

ForeignEdit

ArmsEdit

 
Alliance coat of arms of King Philippe
and Queen Mathilde
 
Dual cypher of King Philippe
and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
 
Coat of arms of the House of d'Udekem d'Acoz
 
Coat of arms of Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Queen". The Belgian Monarchy Official Website.
  2. ^ a b c d Dekkers, Laura (3 August 2018). "Before they were royal: The life of Queen Mathilde of Belgium". Royal Central. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Who is Queen Mathilde of the Belgians?". royalcentral.co.uk. 20 January 2020. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  4. ^ "QUEEN MATHILDE". Focus on Belgium. Retrieved 13 August 2020. She worked as a speech therapist at her own practice in Brussels, while studying psychology at the Catholic University of Leuven.
  5. ^ "Królowa polsko-belgijska". Wprost.Pl (in Polish). Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Princess Mathilde of Belgium to visit Albania as WHO special representative: focus on frontline health workers and immunization". Euro.who.int. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  7. ^ "The Belgian Monarchy". Monarchie.be. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "QUEEN MATHILDE VISITS YOUTH START TRAINING PROGRAMME". royalfashionblog.com. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  10. ^ Martin. "Sustainable Development Goals Advocates". Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  11. ^ "SDG ADVOCATES 2019-2020". United Nations. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Modtagere af danske dekorationer". kongehuset.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Archives – sudinfo.be". Sudpresse.be. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Nuevo duelo de reinas: una Rania muy demodé no puede con una Matilde sublime. Noticias de Casas Reales". Vanitatis.elconfidencial.com. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  15. ^ "The Belgian Monarchy". Monarchie.be. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Postanowienie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 18 października 2004 r. o nadaniu orderów". prawo.sejm.gov.pl. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  17. ^ "La reina Matilde de Bélgica, una burbuja Freixenet en su cena de gala en Portugal". El Confidencial. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.

External linksEdit

Queen Mathilde of Belgium
Born: 20 January 1973
Belgian royalty
Preceded by
Queen consort of the Belgians
2013 – present
Incumbent