Monday, November 15, 2010

The King's Holiday


Today, Belgium celebrates the "King's Holiday" (Fête du Roi / Koningsfeest ). This beloved tradition, dating from 1866, honors the services rendered by the monarch to the nation. November 15 was chosen for this celebration as it is the name-day of Leopold (in the Germanic calendar) and of Albert (in the general calendar). Upon his accession to the throne in 1951, Baudouin I decided not to change the date, and neither has Albert II.

From 1944-1950, during the exile of Leopold III (and the regency of his brother, Prince Charles), the name "Dynasty Holiday" was used. This term, however, was erroneous, as noted in a circular from the Ministry of Interior in 1953.

According to custom, the King does not attend the public celebrations in his honor!

(Photo: The Royal Palace of Brussels by night. Credits)

8 comments:

MadMonarchist said...

Vive l'Roi Albert II! He probably suffers in comparison to his more illustrious predecessors but I give him all due credit for working hard to keep the country united in the face of those hotheads who refuse to compromise. For that alone he should be applauded. He has to deal with problems and situations few other monarchs could identify with.

Matterhorn said...

Yes, it's not easy when you have to contend, not only with the anti-monarchy, anti-royal trend of the modern world, but also with concerted efforts to demoralize and dissolve your country.

Pilgrim said...

Yay! That means my dad has a day off tomorrow! :-) Roi Baudoin was the one who formed todays Belgium, his bro., current Albert II, tries to hold up to his late brother. But imho he will always stick in the shadow of Baudoin, esp. since La Reine Fabiola is still alive. ...You do a great job here on behalf of our small, battered Kingdom.Merci! Propz Pilgrim

MadMonarchist said...

King Baudouin is one of my absolute favorites but I'm not sure how he could be credited with 'forming' today's Belgium. Is that when bi-lingualism started or local autonomy or something?

Matterhorn said...

I can't speak for what Pilgrim meant, of course, but yes, it was under Baudouin that the move towards federalism occurred (although he was initially leery of the idea).

Theresa Bruno said...

Belgium is such a beautiful country. I don't understand why some would want to tear it apart?

Question, when I was in Belgium during five summers ago, there was another holiday for the king. It was in July and the holiday was explained as Belgium's "Independence Day." Would you call this a fair explanation of the holiday?

Matterhorn said...

July 21 is the official national holiday, the anniversary of the swearing-in of Belgium's first king, Leopold I.

Theresa Bruno said...

thank you for explaining.