Happy Birthday Queen Mathilde: ten facts about the Belgium royal

Queen Mathilde of Belgium celebrates her 41st birthday on 20 January.

This will be Mathilde’s first birthday as Queen Consort – her husband King Phillipe ascended the throne on 21 July 2013, following the abdication of his father King Albert II.

To honour Mathilde’s birthday HELLO! Online has compiled ten facts about the royal.

1. Mathilde is the first Belgian-born Queen consort of Belgium and the first Queen in the country’s history with the name Mathilde.

2. She is godmother to Princess Alexia of the Netherlands and Princess Isabella of Denmark.

3. Similar to the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Queen Mathilde has been praised for her elegant style and was named as one of the world’s best-dressed women by Vanity Fair in 2008.

4. As a young adult Mathilde volunteered with organisations for the disabled and spent time as an au pair.

5. Mathilde also spent time backpacking with friends in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

6. Mathilde previously worked as a speech therapist and studied for a master’s degree in psychology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve in 2002.

7. Mathilde is one of three Queens currently living in Belgium as Queen Paola, wife of King Albert II, and Queen Fabiola, the widow of King Baudouin, Albert’s predecessor, both retain their titles throughout their lives.

8. As the daughter of Count and Countess Patrick d’Udekem d’Acoz, Mathilde was born into nobility. She met Prince Philippe while playing tennis in 1996 and they married three years later. The couple have four children, Princess Elisabeth, 12, Prince Gabriel, 10, Prince Emmanuel, eight, and Princess Eleonore, five.

9. Shortly before becoming Queen Consort, Mathilde said she would continue to work to “build a humane society, in which love, respect and mutual support are key components.”

10. Mathilde often supports her husband King Philippe on royal duties overseas and the couple attended the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in London in April 2011.