- Prince Laurent of Belgium
Prince Laurent Prince Laurent of Belgium Spouse Princess Claire Issue Princess Louise
Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric
Full name Laurent Benoît Baudouin Marie House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Father Albert II of Belgium Mother Queen Paola of Belgium Born 19 October 1963
Château de Belvédère, Laeken, Belgium
Belgian Royal Family
- HRH The Duke of Brabant
HRH The Duchess of Brabant
- HI&RH The Archduchess of Austria-Este
HI&RH The Archduke of Austria-Este
- HRH Prince Laurent
HRH Princess Claire
Prince Laurent of Belgium
Reference style His Royal Highness Spoken style Monseigneur
Prince Laurent of Belgium (Laurent Benoît Baudouin Marie) (born on 19 October 1963), in Château de Belvédère, near Laeken, Belgium, to King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians (the then Prince and Princess of Liège). His godparents are Don Bettino Ricasoli and Duchess Sophie von Arenberg.
He was educated at the Royal Cadet High School and at the Royal Military Academy. He was promoted to the rank of Ship-of-the-Line Captain on 26 June 2004.
Prince Laurent is president of the Royal Institute for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and the Promotion of Clean Technologies and president of the Prince Laurent Foundation for the Welfare of Domestic and Wild Animals. As of 2008, Prince Laurent is an ambassador for Future Harvest, a Washington, D.C., based agricultural research association. His involvement with animal welfare and the environment, together with a relative lack of interest in protocol, has caused him to be dubbed by elements of the popular Belgian press as 'écolo-gaffeur' (the ecolo-blunderer).
Place in succession
Prince Laurent used to be third-in-line to the throne, but this changed when the constitution was altered so that women would enjoy the same succession rights as men. A rumour has it that this was done at the instigation of King Baudouin I, who is said to have disliked Laurent because he did not share the King's strict religious views. He is now twelfth-in-line to the Belgian throne.
Marriage and children
Prince Laurent and Miss Claire Coombs, born in Bath, England, but living in Belgium since childhood, were married in Brussels on 12 April 2003. Miss Coombs was also given the title of Princess of Belgium upon her marriage.
The couple have three children:
- Princess Louise Sophie Mary, b. 6 February 2004.
- Prince Nicolas Casimir Marie and Prince Aymeric Auguste Marie, b. 13 December 2005.
Dr. Gustaaf Janssens, Archivist of the Royal Palace, confirms that HRH Prince Laurent's coat of arms as a Prince of Belgium consists of his father, the King Albert's coat of arms with a gold/yellow label of three points, minus the sceptres and Grand Collar of the Order of Leopold and the helm facing to the left [heraldic dexter].
Involvement in corruption scandal
In December 2006, Laurent's name surfaced in a corruption scandal in which funds of the Belgian Navy were spent on the Prince's villa (Villa Clémentine) in Tervuren. Although the investigating magistrates deny that Laurent was personally implicated, some of the accused have implicated the Prince in the press.
On 5 January 2007, it became known that the King Albert II had signed a special Royal Decree, making it possible for Laurent to be called up as a witness in the corruption trial which was to start January 8. One of the defendants immediately used this to subpoena the Prince. During the evening of 8 January, the Prince was interrogated by the federal police and appeared in court the following day, where he testified at the corruption trial that he had no reason to suspect the funding of his renovations could be illegal.
Media reports in March 2007 suggested that Laurent was no longer welcome at the Royal Palace, possibly due to his role in the corruption scandal.
Against this, defenders claim that there is some tradition in the Belgian press and among politicians to focus on shortcomings among members of the Belgian Royal Family. For example, Laurent's elder brother, Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant has been pursued for what may be no more than lack of dexterity among some of his advisers; and the Princess de Rethy (d. 2002) had in her younger days been pursued by some deputies who turned parliamentary sessions into debates about her necklines. 
In March 2011, the prince visited the former Belgian colony of the Congo without receiving the necessary permissions; the reported purpose of the visit was the promotion of deforestation. As a result, on 9 April he accepted conditions laid down by the Belgian Prime Minister, Yves Leterme regarding his future activities; had he not done so, the matter of his annual apanage would have been in question.
Titles and styles
- His Royal Highness Prince Laurent of Belgium (1963–present)
In contrast to King Albert II's title, King of the Belgians, Prince Laurent is called Prince of Belgium, not Prince of the Belgians, a title that does not exist.
- Germany : Grand-Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1998) -
- Hungary (Order) : Grand-Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, Civilian Class (2008) - (Photo 1, Photo 2)
- Luxembourg (Orders) : Grand-Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau (1999) -
- Netherlands (Orders) : Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown* (2006) - (Photo)
- Norway (Orders) : Grand-Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit - (Photo 1, Photo 2)
- Portugal (Orders) : Grand-Cross of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique* (2005) - (Photo)
- Spain (Orders) : Grand-Cross of the Order of Civil Merit (2000) - (Photo)
- Sweden (Orders) : Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star* (2001) - (Photo)
- 1998 Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Ancestors of Prince Laurent of Belgium 16. Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders 8. Albert I of Belgium 17. Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen 4. Leopold III of Belgium 18. Karl-Theodor, Duke in Bavaria 9. Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria 19. Infanta Maria Josepha of Portugal 2. Albert II of Belgium 20. Oscar II of Sweden 10. Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland 21. Princess Sofia of Nassau 5. Princess Astrid of Sweden 22. Frederick VIII of Denmark 11. Princess Ingeborg of Denmark 23. Princess Lovisa of Sweden 1. Prince Laurent of Belgium 24. Fulco VI Ruffo of Calabria 12. Fulco VII Beniamino Tristano Ruffo of Calabria 25. Eleonora Galletti di San Cataldo 6. Fulco VIII Ruffo of Calabria 26. Théodore Mosselman du Chenoy 13. Laura Mosselmann du Chenoy 27. Isabelle Coghen 3. Princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria 28. Calisto Gazelli di Rossana 14. Augusto Gazelli, Count Rossana e San Sebastiano 29. Francesca Cotti di Ceres 7. Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano 30. Félix, comte Rignon 15. Countess Maria Cristina Rignon 31. Luisa Perrone di San Martino
Prince Laurent of BelgiumCadet branch of the House of WettinBorn: 19 October 1963
- ^ "No longer welcome". flandersnews.be. 2007-03-27. http://www.flandersnews.be/cm/flandersnews.be/News/070327_lolo_and_bert. Retrieved 2007-03-28. [dead link]
- ^ Royal News April 2011
Royal titles Preceded by
Princess Laetitia Maria of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este
Line of succession to the Belgian throne Succeeded by
Princess Louise of Belgium
Prince Emmanuel of Belgium
Line of succession to the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha throne
Prince Nicolas of Belgium
Belgian princes 1st generation 2nd generation 3rd generation 4th generation 5th generation 6th generation*created prince of Belgium by Royal Decree of 10 November 1995
**created prince of Belgium by Royal Decree of 2 December 1991
- HRH The Duke of Brabant
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