Today, Queen Mathilde of Belgium is having her turn.
Mathilde was born on 20 January, 1973 in Uccle, Belgium. Here she is all bundled up in her pram. Sorry the picture is so teeny, there doesn’t seem to be any way around it.
Mathilde grew up with her four siblings in this delightful home, Castle Losange.
The castle is situated in Luxembourg province in Belgium and was purchased by Mathilde’s grandfather in 1958. It was a gift for his son Patrick d’Udekem d’Acoz who was only 22 years old at the time. Castle Losange was in dire need of some serious restoration work since it was severely damaged during WWII, so he started out living in some of the castle’s outbuildings that dated to the 1850’s.
I love this adorable photo of Mathilde that was also taken at the castle:
Mathilde’s parents Patrick Paul François Marie Ghislain and Countess Anna Maria Komorowska were granted the titles Count and Countess and after the wedding were known as Count and Countess Patrick d’Udekem d’Acoz at the time of her marriage to Prince Philippe. This title is hereditary, and will be passed down through the male line. Two of her uncles were also elevated to the rank of count. Interesting, eh? Obviously, this isn’t how the Brits do it.
This photo shows Mathilde’s parents at her wedding looking quite distinguished:
It’s also fascinating to me that Mathilde was made a Princess of Belgium in her own right by Royal Order. The Royal Order went into effect on the wedding day, so Mathilde could be addressed as Princess Mathilde of Belgium from that day forward. To compare, back in England Diana was always technically Diana, Princess of Wales and not actually ‘Princess Diana.’
After the wedding day, Mathilde also held the title Duchess of Brabant since she was married to the heir to the throne.
Mathilde is fluent in French, Italian, Belgian, and English and she worked as a speech therapist before the wedding. During her working years, she lived in an apartment in Brussels with two of her sisters.
Mathilde and Prince Philippe, the oldest son of the King and Queen of Belgium, announced their engagement in 1999. It came as quite a surprise to the country since no one knew that Prince Philippe, who is thirteen years older than Mathilde, had a girlfriend at all.
Here they are at the press call.
It looks like it was a bit of a gong show. I must say I prefer the Danish method… it is just so much more civilized to be seated on an antique couch to talk to the press, am I right? Also, Mathilde is dressed for a corporate summer picnic, but that’s a whole other story.
As for the ring, the Prince gave Mathilde this detailed piece that features a large ruby in an oval shape. Pictures and information on the ring are hard to come by, which is one reason why we’ve waited so long to publish this post. I’ve been hoping more info would leak out after the Investiture! This image below comes from Image Shack.
Can’t say I’m a huge fan, but this ring does have something of a vintage look. Plus, it’s not dainty which works for a future Queen.
This was taken in 2003, and gives us another good look at the ring’s scale. Looks like a windy day!
Mathilde has also been photographed wearing this sapphire ring, which some royal watchers speculate was an anniversary gift:
It’s tough to tell which ring is on her hand at the investiture of King Willem-Alexander. I’m going with the ruby one. Do you agree?
Since becoming Queen of Belgium this year, Mathilde has really seemed to come into her own even more. What do you think of her ring?
In the mood for more on the Belgians?