Prince Laurent of Belgium

Prince Laurent of Belgium
Prince Laurent
Prince Laurent of Belgium
Spouse Princess Claire
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 (1963-10-19) (age 48)
Château de Belvédère, Laeken, Belgium
Belgian Royal Family
Greater Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg

HM The King
HM The Queen

HM Queen Fabiola
HRH Princess Léa
HRH Princess Marie-Christine
HRH Princess Marie-Esméralda

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Styles of
Prince Laurent of Belgium
Coats of arms of Belgium Government.svg
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.[citation needed] 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:


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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[1]

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. [3]

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.[2]

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.

Prince Laurent doesn't hold a personal title as younger princes used to in the past, such as Count of Flanders or Prince of Liège.


Belgian honours

Foreign honours



  1. ^ "No longer welcome". 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2007-03-28. [dead link]
  2. ^ Royal News April 2011

External links

Prince Laurent of Belgium
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 19 October 1963
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
Preceded by
Prince Emmanuel of Belgium
Line of succession to the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha throne
37th position
Succeeded by
Prince Nicolas of Belgium


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