Economic mission to Japan, 9-16 June 2012 (source: © BelgaImage)
His Majesty the King was born on April 15, 1960, in Brussels, Belgium, as the first child of His Majesty the King Albert II and His Majesty the Queen Paola. He bears the title of Duke of Brabant.
On December 4, 1999, he married Miss Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz.
On October 25, 2001, Princess Mathilde gave birth to a daughter, Princess Elisabeth. A second child, Prince Gabriel, was born on August 20, 2003. On October 4, 2005, Princess Mathilde gave birth to Prince Emmanuel. Princess Eléonore, the fourth child, was born on April 16, 2008.
At the end of secondary school, which he attended both in French and Dutch, His Majesty the King continued his education at the Royal Military Academy, where he graduated in 1981. He subsequently qualified as a fighter pilot (1982), a paratrooper and commando officer before assuming command over a paratrooper platoon. The Prince's military career further led him to his current rank of Lieutenant General and Vice Admiral in the Armed Forces (as of March 2010).
His Majesty the King completed his academic training at Trinity College, University of Oxford (UK) and at the Graduate School of Stanford University (USA), where he completed a Master of Arts Degree in political science in 1985.
He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (2002).
On August 6, 1993, by government decision, he was appointed Honorary Chairman of the Belgian Foreign Trade Board (BFTB), which was replaced by the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency (BFTA). He succeeded to his father, who had been Honorary Chairman since 1962.
He has headed about seventy important economic missions, of which the most recent are India, Brazil, Ukraine and Kazakhstan (2010), Russia, the United States of America, China and Chili (2011), Vietnam, Japan, Turkey, Australia and New-Zealand (2012), Thailand and the United States of America (2013).
Political and social commitment
On June 21, 1994 he became a member of the Senate.
In addition to his various official duties, His Majesty the King concentrates on gaining more in-depth knowledge of his country and its role and image in the world and international relations.
His Majesty the King is keenly interested in the situation of young people and their integration in the society of tomorrow. He regularly visits schools and universities, but also closely follows such important social issues as unemployment and the struggle against poverty and exclusion.
In May 1997, he was appointed Honorary Chairman of the Belgian Federal Council for Sustainable Development, created after the Conference of Rio.
In 1998, the Prince Philippe Fund was created, with the aim of fostering exchanges between citizens and organisations across all three Communities of Belgium.
Since 2004, he has also served as the Honorary Chairman of the European Chapter of the Club of Rome and of the International Polar Foundation.
In May 2004, His Majesty the King obtained his licence as a civilian helicopter Pilot.
He spends his rare leisure moments at home with his family and also likes to read, especially on subjects related to the problems and challenges confronting men and women in today's society. He also practices sports regularly.