King Philippe of Belgium's birthday: 10 facts about the royal

hellomagazine.com

King Philippe of Belgium celebrates his 55th birthday on Wednesday 15 April. To honour the occasion, HELLO! Online has gathered a list of ten facts you may not have known about the Belgian king.

CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR FULL GALLERY

King Philippe of Belgium ascended the throne in July 2013

1. Philippe was born on 15 April 1960 in Brussels, Belgium as the first child of King Albert II and Queen Paola. Upon birth, he was styled as "His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium."

2. After attending secondary school, the young prince continued his education at the Royal Military Academy from which he graduated aged 21 in 1981. He then continued his education at Trinity College, Oxford University and at Stanford University, California where he graduated with a degree in political science in 1985.

><img alt=VIEW GALLERY

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde married in December 1999

3. In December 1999, thousands took to the streets as the future king married the Belgium-born Miss Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz. The new royal couple wed in a civil ceremony at Brussels Town Hall before a stunning religious ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Michel and Saint Gudula.

4. Two years after their wedding in October 2001, Philippe became a father for the first time when the couple welcomed a daughter, Princess Elisabeth. The royal couple then expanded their family with the arrival of Prince Gabriel in August 2003, Prince Emmanuel in October 2005 and their fourth child, Princess Eléonore in April 2008.

><img alt=VIEW GALLERY

The royal couple have four children: Eléonore, Emmanuel, Gabriel and Elisabeth

5. On 3 July 2013, Philippe's father King Albert II announced that he would be abdicating in favour of his son. Two-and-a-half-weeks later on 21 July, the country celebrated as King Philippe was sworn in as the new king.

6. King Philippe is currently Europe's third youngest monarch behind The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander and Spain's King Felipe.

7. Philippe, along with his wife Queen Mathilde, represents Belgium across the world. The couple travelled to London in April 2011 for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey.

><img alt=VIEW GALLERY

The Belgian monarchs welcomed Kate and Prince William to Leige last summer

8. The royal shares his birthday with Harry Potter star Emma Watson, Hollywood actor Seth Rogan and Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams.

9. While visiting other countries, Philippe has been honoured by many of his hosts including Norway's Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland and Denmark's Knight of the Order of the Elephant.

10. Perhaps one of his most significant, however, was the highest Belgian honour, the Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold, which Philippe received on his 30th birthday by his uncle King Baudouin of the Belgians.

More on: