Our resident Belgian Philippe Persoons takes a look at life through a Belgian Eye.
This week, Philippe makes a royal return from his summer break by taking a look at the Belgian Royal Family
Hello and welcome on a Belgian Eye
We have special royal family. When I say special I mean very special. You all know the King, perhaps you saw him greeting the Belgian Olympic hockey team, they won the silver medal, and the King, he stood there as a restrained rigid statue, but luckily joined by his son Gabriel who is a hockey player and probably a huge fan of all the players.
You probably also know the kings Brother, prince Laurent, the more flamboyant opposite of his Majesty. No one could hardly imagine sexual escapades or financial eccentricities from King Philippe … He’s brother, that’s different story.
But that brother, our prince Laurent is still in business. He does attend the National Day, -attending the National Day is a ‘job’ for our royals-, and he does several other public appearances as well. It is quite surprising because the flamboyant Prince Laurent was always a bit the black sheep of the family.
In former days you had princess Astrid, a woman you probably never heard of. Well never mind, we either. Than you had the two brothers, prince Laurent and our present King Philippe, and their parents were those nice looking grannies King Albert and Queen Paola. Forget about Paola, she used to be a beautiful girl in her younger days, but that’s long time ago. But Albert, the former King, he was my guy! Always into a joke, never did anything wrong, he was quite alright as king, he was a bit the cheery grandpa of all Belgians.
And then, King Albert stepped down in favour of his son Philippe and it was as if Albert died, a near total absence from public life. On National Day he’s on national holiday somewhere abroad on his yacht.
One could think that it’s a health issue, but last week it became known that there was something else. It was former prime minister Di Rupo who put him 3 years ago to abdication pointing that it was the perfect moment to do so and suggesting that he would deserve an amount equal to that enjoyed by the former Dutch Queen Beatrix, -1.4 million euros a year,- Di Rupo believed it fair for the contribution that the king made to the country “he rescued the country”, according to Di Rupo.
But the coalition partners of Di Rupo’s government didn’t share his opinion. The Flemish liberals and the Flemish socialist party didn’t agree and thus King Albert’s pension was brought back to what King Filip enjoyed as crown prince: 923,000 euros a year. The king was displeased and disappointed in his government and his country.
And did he had a point? Of course it’s obvious that he should maintain his standard of living. And he’s stays in Rome and Paris require a certain amount of money.
I’ll try to help him out with a search on Booking dot com, trivago and others. Quite difficult for you have a search engines on ‘cheapest results first’ but not always the other way round. Anyway I discovered a nice place in Rome ‘Amazing Colosseo’, quite amazing and for about eighteen hundred euros a day. Let’s say he stays there the whole year, that would make 657 000 euro. We’ll add some food for 500 euro a day 182 500 and you’ll end up with only 83 000 euro left. 83 000 euro a year! Can you imagine? Which 82 year old couple in the prime of their lives would be able to live with only 83 000 euro.
It’s strange to see overwhelmingly rich people craving for more than they would ever be able to spent. My dear Albert, within some years it’s all over and when that end has come we all pass through the other side with the same in our pocket: nothing.
Have a nice day.