Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Royal Profile: Queen Mathilde of Belgium

Queen Mathilde of Belgium was born on 20 January 1973 Ras 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}
  1. Princess Elisabeth, The Duchess of Brabant (2001)
  2. Prince Gabriel (2003)
  3. Prince Emmanuel (2005)
  4. 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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