King Albert II, Queen Paola
Belgium was recognised as an independent country in 1830 but the monarchy was established in 1831. Leopold I, prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, took the constitutional oath on 21 July 1831 to become the first King of the Belgians.
Under the hereditary constitutional monarchy system, the role and operation of Belgium’s institutions, including the monarchy, are governed by the Constitution. “Hereditary” means the royal office, as described in the Constitution, is earmarked solely for a descendent of the first King of the Belgians, Leopold I.
Bound by the Constitution above all other ideological and religious considerations, political opinions and debates and economic interests, the King acts as an arbiter and guardian of the country’s unity and independence.
King Albert II, sixth King of the Belgians, took the oath on 9 August 1993. He is married to Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria.
The King and Queen have three children: Prince Philippe, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent.
Prince Philippe and his wife, Princess Mathilde, have four children: Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore.
Princess Astrid and her husband Prince Lorenz, have five children: Prince Amedeo, Princess Maria Laura, Prince Joachim, Princess Luisa Maria and Princess Laetitia Maria.
Prince Laurent and his wife, Princess Claire, have a daughter, Princess Louise, and two sons, Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric.