So another Head of State departs (after Egypt’s, I mean), but not in quite as controversial circumstances.
Albert II will abdicate in favor of his son, Philippe, on 21 July, which happens to be the Belgian National Day. This was no surprise to faithful @EuroSavant Twitter-feed followers, since I had flagged in that forum some months ago the rumors that had emerged that this sort of thing would happen.
And yes, that particular tweet above has to begin by specifying “Belgique,” because it’s from the French media, not the Belgian, but I wanted to give props to Le Point for their accompanying story-behind-the-story piece, namely WHY the Belgian King is abdicating.
For this is unprecedent, it’s the first time a King of Belgium has voluntary stepped down. (Not that Belgian monarchs go back that far in history – only back to, yes, 21 July 1831 – and indeed one had to vacate the throne involuntarily for misbehaving during World War II.) But it’s not so novel a thing to do just north over the border in the Netherlands, as the last three monarchs (all queens) have in fact relinquished their crowns prior to their deaths, the latest famously being Queen Beatrix just this past April 30, which indeed was the Netherlands’ National Day, Queen’s Day. (more…)