Royalty and statesmen

As the new shots show, Mathilde and Philippe clearly revel in their role as parents
Photo: Getty Images
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When Elisabeth, Gabriel and Emmanuel were asked to pose together they clearly had no intention of letting their toy monkey miss out on the fun
Photo: Getty Images

Belgian royals happier than ever as they await their fourth child

4 JANUARY 2008
Not for Mathilde of Belgium a stiff New Year portrait reflecting her royal role. When the crown princess and her husband Philippe gathered their three kids for a photo session the result was an informal snap shot, with pride of place going to their youngest child Emmanuel's toy monkey.

This time next year the blonde-haired cuties will number four, as Mathilde is expecting another child in the spring. And even with 11 grandchildren already in the clan, the excitement and family unity ahead of the birth is evident at their Laeken Castle home.

The royal consort, now over six months pregnant, smiles warmly in the images as she cuddles two-year-old Emmanuel to her. In another shot his siblings, Elisabeth, six, and four-year-old Gabriel, playfully envelope their dad in a group hug.