Prince Laurent and Princess Claire, seen here with their two-year-old daughter Louise, now have three bundles of joy to look after
Photo: AFP
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The British-born royal has only made a handful of public appearances since her pregnancy was announced in June
Photo: AFP

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14 DECEMBER 2005

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Belgium's royal family has two new members today after Princess Claire gave birth to twin boys. The bundles of joy were delivered by caesarean at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels on Tuesday evening.

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A spokesman for Prince Laurent and his British-born wife said both mother and babies were doing fine. The first child was delivered at 6.54pm, weighing in at 4lbs 7oz, while the second arrived a minute later and weighed 4lbs 10oz.

Although the two infants were born one month premature, hospital sources say they are in good health and doctors are confident they will develop normally. "The weight of the boys is not really concerning," explained one of the midwives. "A small arrears in growth is normal for twins."

The happy news comes in the wake of reports that Claire's pregnancy was proving problematic. After announcing she was with child back in June, the princess made only a handful of public appearances and in late August she was rumoured to have suffered a near miscarriage.

Fears for her well-being were further fuelled when she failed to accompany her husband to a ceremony marking Belgium's independence day on July 21. Both Prince Laurent and his wife, who also have a two-year-old daughter called Louise, were notable by their absence at a military parade later that day. The news that they are now proud parents to three healthy youngsters will therefore come as quite a relief to the people of their nation.

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