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Philippe and Mathilde of Belgium unveil idyllic portraits of royal family life

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Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde pose with their four young children in the grounds of their royal residence in Brussels
Photo: © Palais Royal 

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The pictures are one of two sets of the family released every year by the Belgian royal household
Photo: © Palais Royal 

20 JANUARY 2010

Six beaming smiles and a beautiful lakeside setting – the latest pictures of Crown Prince Philippe, Crown Princess Mathilde and their four young children reveal a glimpse of idyllic royal family life.

Taken at the Belgian royals' official residence in Laeken at the end of last year, the main family portrait shows eldest daughter and future queen Elisabeth, nine, in a pretty salmon pink dress held tenderly by her father.

In her mother's arms, 21-month-old Eleonore wears the same outfit, while the two boys – Gabriel, six, and four-year-old Emmanuel – sport matching blue-checked shirts and brown pullovers.

The photos form one of two annual sets of images of the family released by the Belgian royal household each year – one at the beginning of the year and one in summer.

This year is set to be an active one for the family, with Philippe's 50th birthday celebrations on April 15 and before that, a trip to India in March to promote economic cooperation between the two countries.

And the couple have already been busy in 2010. Mathilde, who celebrated her 37th birthday on Wednesday, was guest of honour at an anniversary gala for a Belgian youth dance association at the weekend. Meanwhile, Philippe officially opened the European Motor Show in Brussels last week.

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