Sunday, July 21, 2013

DTN News - BELGIUM NEWS: King Albert II of Belgium Abdicates To Make Way For Philippe

DTN News - BELGIUM NEWS: King Albert II of Belgium Abdicates To Make Way For Philippe
Source: DTN News 
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 21, 2013: (BRUSSELS) -- Belgium's King Albert II has abdicated to make way for his son Philippe. The monarch spoke with a message of support for his heir and pleaded for unity in the linguistically and politically divided country.

Albert II signed the act of abdication at the royal palace after a 20-year reign.

His eldest son and crown prince Philippe will take the oath as the nation's new king later Sunday.

Albert II announced his abdication decision on July 3, citing "age and health" as the reasons for not continuing to carry out his duties. Albert II was sworn in as Belgium's sixth king in 1993, succeeding his brother Baudouin who died at the age of 62, and has become the first Belgian king to voluntarily step down.

Philippe, 53, is a fighter pilot and parachutist with degrees from the world's top universities.

King Albert II  ~ Related News;
Albert II (born 6 June 1934) reigned as King of the Belgians, following his elder brother's death, from 1993 until his abdication in 2013. He is a member of the royal house "of Belgium"; formerly this house was named Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He is the uncle of the current reigning Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Henri.

On 3 July 2013, King Albert II attended a midday session of the Belgian cabinet. He then announced that on 21 July, he would abdicate the throne for health reasons. He will be succeeded by his son, Prince Philippe of Belgium. He will be the third European monarch to abdicate in 2013, following Pope Benedict XVI and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.[1] In doing so, he will also be the second Belgian king to abdicate following his father, King Leopold III, who abdicated in 1951, albeit under very different circumstances.

Albert is the second son of Leopold III (1901–1983) and his first wife, Astrid of Sweden (1905–1935). He ascended to the throne in 1993, following the death of his older brother, King Baudouin, who died without issue. His godparents were Felix of Bourbon-Parma and his paternal grandmother, Elisabeth of Bavaria. He is the first cousin of King Harald V, Princess Astrid, and Princess Ragnhild of Norway.

Prince Albert was born in Stuyvenberg Castle, Brussels. On 10 May 1940, at the time when Belgium was being invaded, Prince Albert, his elder sister Princess Joséphine-Charlotte and his elder brother Prince Baudouin, left the country for France and later Spain. The Prince and the Princess returned to Belgium on 2 August 1940. They continued their studies until 1944, either at Laeken, or at the Chateau of Ciergnon in the Ardennes. In June 1944, at the time of the Allied landings, King Leopold III, Princess Lilian – whom he married in 1941 – and the royal children were deported by the Germans to Hirschstein, Germany, and later to Strobl, Austria, where they were liberated by the American Army on 7 May 1945. Due to the political situation in Belgium, King Leopold and his family moved to the villa "Le Reposoir" in Pregny, Switzerland, when they left Austria in October 1945 and stayed until July 1950. During that time, Prince Albert would continue his education in a secondary school in Geneva. King Leopold III, accompanied by Prince Baudouin and Prince Albert, returned to Belgium on 22 July 1950.

In 1958, Prince Albert of Liege went to the Vatican to witness the coronation of Pope John XXIII. At a reception at the Belgian embassy, the prince met Italian Princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria. “We were both shy, so we only talked a little,” Paola said later about their first meeting. Shy but smitten, Prince Albert proposed marriage to Paola, and she accepted. Two months after their meeting, the Prince introduced his future wife to his family, and four months later to the press. Upon arriving in Brussels for the first time before her wedding, Princess Paola won over the Belgian media immediately.

They wanted a marriage at the Vatican at first, a setting promoted by both families, but the Belgian government did not approve of that. They did not want to keep a fairy tale wedding from the people of Belgium, who finally had an opportunity for organizing celebrations for their royal family. The Pope, after some diplomatic pressure, refused them a marriage at the Vatican, saying he would understand if the couple would want to get married amidst their people.

King Albert II and Queen Paola with US President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the Royal Palace in Brussels in 2005.

On 2 July 1959 he married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria (born 11 September 1937) in Brussels. She is the daughter of Fulco VIII, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda and his wife, Countess Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano (1896–1989). Together they have three children, two sons and a daughter.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith - DTN News
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

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