King Albert II Abdicates

King Albert II of Belgium announces his abdication. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Following the steps of his neighbor, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Albert II has announced before national television that he will abdicate on July 21 in favor of his heir, Crown Prince Philippe.

King Albert was born on June 6, 1934, the second son of King Leopold III and Princess Astrid of Sweden, who died while he was just five years old. He inherited the throne upon the death of his elder brother, King Baudouin in 1993.

The King's reign was generally peaceful, although it was never out of scandal. The entirety of his twenty-year reign was marked by strife between Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north and the French-speaking Wallonia is the south.

Shortly after he succeeded on the throne, a scandal forced her to recognize an illegitimate daughter, Delphine Boel.
In his speech, the 79-year-old monarch explained that his abdication is due to his age and health, although Boel's legal efforts to prove that she is the king's daughter is also attributed to the reasons why the ageing monarch will hand over the reins of running the state to his heir.

King Albert II is the third European sovereign to abdicate in 2013. Pope Benedict XVI adbicated in February, followed by Queen Beatrix in April. Albert's own father, King Leopold, abdicated in 1951.

Belgium celebrates its independence day on July 21 and what better way to pass the sovereign authority of the kingdom on this day.


Read King Albert II's Speech at the Belgian Royal Family's Website

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