News / Europe

Belgian King Abdicates in Favor of Son

  • 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. 
  • Belgium's Prince Philippe takes the oath at the Palace of the Nation to become the country's seventh king after his father Albert II abdicated, July 21, 2013.
  • King Albert II of Belgium delivers an abdication speech during a ceremony at the Royal Palace on Belgian National Day in Brussels, July 21, 2013.
  • King Albert II delivers an abdication speech during a ceremony at the Royal Palace on Belgian National Day in Brussels, July 21, 2013.
  • King Albert II (2nd R) of Belgium, watched by his son Crown Prince Philippe (L) and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (R), signs an act of abdication during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Brussels, July 21, 2013. 
VOA News
Belgium's King Albert II 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.

Earlier in the day, both Albert and Philippe attended a Catholic ceremony that set off the day of festivities, ahead of the swearing in of Philippe.

Earlier this month, the king announced he would step down because of age and illness.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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