Monday, January 20, 2014

Royal Profile: Queen Mathilde of Belgium

Queen Mathilde of Belgium was born on 20 January 1973and is the daughter of the Count and Countess Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz {Source}.

She was educated in Belgium, attending primary school in Bastogne, and attending the "Institut de la Vierge Fidèle" {Source}. From 1991-1994, she studied to be a speech therapist at the "Institut Libre Marie Haps" in Brussels, graduating magna cum laude{Source}. Upon graduation, she embarked on a professional career as a speech therapist, setting up a practice in Brussels{Source}. In 1999, she returned to school for a masters degree in Psychology at the Catholic University of Louvain, graduating cum laude in 2002{Source}.

Queen Mathilde has taken patronage of many organizations, especially children. In 2000, just a short year after marrying into the Royal Family, the "Fund Princess Mathilde" was created{Source}. In addition, Princess Mathilde has given her patronage to several associations dealing with issues of concern to vulnerable people{Source}.She also attaches prime importance to educational subjects, the empowerment of women and supports projects to fight illiteracy{Source}. In May 2002, she was a member of the Belgian delegation at the UN Conference on Children in New York{Source}.Since 2009, Princess Mathilde has been the Honorary President of UNICEF Belgium{Source}. She has been on several humanitarian missions to countries including Niger and Mali {Source}. She is an UNICEF and UNAIDS special representative for their world campaign for orphans and other vulnerable children affected or infected by HIV/AIDS, and has visited Tanzania, China and Senegal on their behalf{Source}.  Queen Mathilde was also a UN emissary for the International Year of Microcredit 2005 and visited in that capacity projects in China, Mali, India and Washington/USA{Source}. In 2007, the Princess became a member of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum{Source}.

She married Prince Philippe of Belgium, The Duke of Brabant on 4 December 1999, thus becoming Princess Mathilde of Belgium, The Duchess of Brabant{Source}. Together, they have four children together, all of whom are titled and in line for the Belgian throne:{Source}
  • Princess Elisabeth, The Duchess of Brabant (2001)
  • Prince Gabriel (2003)
  • Prince Emmanuel (2005)
  • Princess Eléonore (2008)

Queen Mathilde often accompanies her husband abroad for various duties, mostly to promote Belgium for its commercial and economical interests{Source}.

In her spare time, she enjoys classical music, playing the piano, playing tennis, swimming, and enjoing nature and open-air activities{Source}. She is also a fan of literature{Source}. She speaks several langugages, including French, Dutch, English, Italian and some Spanish{Source}.

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