Belgium's King Albert the Second has abdicated his throne after a 20-year reign, in favor of his son Philippe. In a solemn ceremony at the royal palace on Sunday, the 79-year-old monarch signed the act of abdication in the presence of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who holds the political power in the parliamentary democracy.
King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde salute the crowd from the balcony of the Royal Palace in Brussels, July 21, 2013. Belgium is celebrating its National Day, which also marks the abdication of King Albert II and the investiture of his eldest son Philippe.
People hold balloons in the Belgian colors and carry a Facebook inspired banner of Prince Philippe as they stand outside St. Gudule cathedral in Brussels, July 21, 2013.
King Philippe (R) of Belgium and Queen Mathilde (L) salute the crowd together with King Albert II and Queen Paola from the balcony of the Royal Palace in Brussels, July 21, 2013.
From left, Queen Paola, King Albert II and Princess Mathilde applaud after the speech of Belgium's Prince Philippe at the Palace of the Nation in Brussels, July 21, 2013.