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Belgium's new king and queen greet their subjects from the palace balcony

21 JULY 2013 Newly crowned King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium stepped out in front of their subjects for the first time as Belgium's monarchs. Waving to the crowds of well-wishers, Philippe and Mathilde were joined by their four children, Elisabeth, Gabriel, Emmanuel and Eléonore, to mark the historic occasion.

Mathilde, 40, sported the same cream dress and elegant Fabienne Delvigne hat she wore to the morning's church service, and her children were dressed in matching outfits. Elisabeth, who is now first in line to the Belgian throne, and Eléonore wore similar cute red dresses and scarlet hair accessories while their brothers, Gabriel and Emmanuel, looked equally as smart in navy blue suits.


 


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Before appearing on the palace balcony Philippe was officially made King of the Belgians, following his father's official abdication at the royal residence.

"In Philippe and Mathilde I place my trust," said Albert as he signed his act of abdication.

"Philippe you possess a great heart and intelligence to serve our country," added Albert, who embraced his son in a warm hug before thanking his wife Paola for her years of support.

During his speech Albert also gave his thanks to the numerous statesmen he has worked with during his 20 year reign, including the Belgian
Prime Minister, Elio di Rupo who sat in the audience.

 



Earlier in the day Albert attended his last 'Te Deum' ceremony as the country's monarch.

Albert II, who announced his abdication in July, looked visibly excited as he saw signs of thanks being held by supporters and was welcomed into the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula with a round of applause.

Queen Paola wiped a tear from her eye as she sat next to her husband for the ceremony of praise, which takes place annually on Belgium's national day, the day significantly been chosen for Philippe to ascend the throne.

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