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Crown Princess Elisabeth of Belgium signs up to military academy

The future queen is the eldest of four children

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Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
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Crown Princess Elisabeth of Belgium is set to embark on a brand new chapter in her life. The Belgian royal palace has confirmed that the future queen, who celebrated her 18th birthday in October, will begin at the Royal Military Academy in Belgium in the autumn. Elisabeth is following in the footsteps of her father, King Philippe, who attended the facility from 1978 to 1981. The Royal Military Academy is the military university in Belgium, and is responsible for the education of officers in the four components of Belgian defence; Army, Air Force, Navy and Medical. As the future monarch, Elisabeth will emerge from the academy with an in-depth understanding of her country's military powers.

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Crown Princess Elisabeth will attend the Royal Military Academy in Belgium in the autumn

Elisabeth previously studied at UWC Atlantic College in Wales, returning to Belgium in March ahead of lockdown. The king and queen's eldest child was accepted into the sixth form college in March 2018. At the time, the palace announced that Elisabeth had passed the entrance exam and would complete her Internationale Baccalauréat in Wales in 2020. The college teaches the rigorous IB system for 16 to 19 year olds. It was founded in 1962 by German educationalist Kurt Hahn, who also set up Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland, famously attended by Prince Charles.

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Famous alumni include King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Princess Raiyah bint Al Hussein. The Queen, meanwhile, is a current president of the college alongside Queen Noor of Jordan. Nelson Mandela also served as a president until his death in 2013.

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Elisabeth with her parents, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde

In October, Elisabeth celebrated her landmark 18th birthday. In celebration, she held a party at the Royal Palace in Brussels alongside relatives, politicians and 80 teenagers who share her 2001 birth year. "These 18 years have been filled with many rewarding moments that have made me the person I am today," the Crown Princess said in a televised speech.

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"My family has always been there to support and encourage me. Together we are a strong team," Elisabeth said in honour of younger siblings Gabriel, 16, Emmanuel, 14, and Eléonore, 12. In a special nod to her parents, she added, "Thanks mama for your presence and your listening ear. Thanks dad for your trust. I know I can always count on you."