|Queen consort of the Belgians|
|Tenure||21 July 2013 – present|
|Born||Jonkvrouw Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz|
20 January 1973
Edith Cavell Hospital, Uccle, Belgium
|Father||Count Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz|
|Mother||Countess Anna Maria Komorowska|
Mathilde (born Jonkvrouw Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz [matild dyd(ə)kɛm dakɔ]; 20 January 1973) is Queen of the Belgians as the wife of King Philippe. She is the first native-born Belgian queen. She has founded and assisted charities to decrease poverty in the country.
Early life and family
Jonkvrouw Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d'Udekem d'Acoz was born on 20 January 1973 at Edith Cavell Hospital in Uccle, Brussels, Belgium. Her parents are Count Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz (1936–2008), a politician, and his wife, Countess Anna Maria Komorowska (b. 1946). Mathilde has three sisters: Marie-Alix (1974–1997), Elisabeth (b. 1977, a speech therapist) and Hélène (b. 1979, a lawyer), and one brother Charles-Henri (b. 1985, a lawyer). Her godfather is her uncle, Count Raoul d'Udekem d'Acoz.
Mathilde grew up in the Château de Losange in Villers-la-Bonne-Eau. Upon Mathilde's marriage to Prince Philippe of Belgium, Duke of Brabant in 1999, King Albert II of Belgium elevated the d'Udekem d'Acoz family from the baronial to the comital rank, hereditary in the male lineage. Upon the accession of her husband, Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant to the throne of Belgium, she became the first queen consort of native Belgian nationality.
Education and career
Mathilde attended primary school in Bastogne and then attended secondary school at the Institut de la Vierge Fidèle in Brussels. From 1991 until 1994, Mathilde attended the Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels, where she studied speech therapy and graduated magna cum laude. She worked as a speech therapist in her own practice in Brussels from 1995 to 1999. She also worked in several Brussels schools. She earned a master's degree in psychology at the Université catholique de Louvain in 2002 with honours (cum laude). Mathilde became the first member of the Belgian royal family with a Belgian university degree. She also took a ten-day leadership course at Harvard University in 2011.
Mathilde speaks French, Dutch, English and Italian. She is also able to speak basic Spanish. Her mother, who has lived most of her life outside Poland, did not teach her Polish, thinking that it would not be necessary. Therefore, she knows only a few words of Polish.
Marriage and children
In September 1999, Belgian Royal Court announced the engagement of Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant to Jonkvrouw Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz. Mathilde was presented to the press and public at the Castle of Laeken on 13 September 1999. The announcement of Mathilde's engagement to the Belgian heir-apparent Prince Philippe came as a surprise to the country. Mathilde married Philippe on 4 December 1999 in Brussels, civilly at the Brussels Town Hall and religiously at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. Mathilde's bridal gown was designed by Édouard Vermeulen. She was made Duchess of Brabant and a Princess of Belgium on 8 November 1999 (published on 13 November 1999 and effective from 4 December 1999). The couple reportedly spent their honeymoon in the Maldives and India.
The couple have four children:
- Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, born 25 October 2001 at Erasmus Hospital in Brussels
- Prince Gabriel, born 20 August 2003 at Erasmus Hospital in Brussels
- Prince Emmanuel, born 4 October 2005 at Erasmus Hospital in Brussels
- Princess Eléonore, born 16 April 2008 at Erasmus Hospital in Brussels
Princess Elisabeth, the couple's eldest child, is the first in line to the throne and ahead of her younger brothers and sister, who are second, third, and fourth in line to succeed, owing to a change in Belgian succession laws in 1991, allowing for the eldest child to succeed, regardless of sex.
Queen Mathilde is a godmother to Princess Alexia of the Netherlands and Princess Isabella of Denmark. Queen Mathilde is also a godmother to girls named Hyle-Mathilde Blakaj, Zaineb Tebbi and Madinah Mohammed Ibrahim, the seventh daughters of families from Charleroi and Ghent. Belgian tradition stated that the seventh daughter from an uninterrupted line of girls has the privilege of asking the Queen to be her godmother.
Queen Mathilde is concerned with a range of social issues including education, child poverty, intergenerational poverty, the position of women in society and literacy.
Since 2009, Queen Mathilde has been the honorary president of Unicef Belgium. She serves as the World Health Organization's Special Representative for Immunization. She also the honorary president of the Breast International Group, a non-profit organisation for academic breast cancer research groups from around the world.
She set up the Princess Mathilde Fund (now the Queen Mathilde Fund) in 2001, which promotes the care of vulnerable people and awards an annual prize for good works in a particular sector. The sector changes each year: examples include early years education, women's health, and protecting young people from violence.
Queen Mathilde deploys the Queen's Charities to offer help to citizens who are struggling to cope with financial hardship in their daily lives and often turn to her as a last resort. The Queen is the honorary president of Child Focus, a foundation for missing and sexually exploited children.
Queen Mathilde is also a patron of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, an international competition founded in 1937 as an initiative of Queen Elisabeth and Belgian composer and violist Eugène Ysaÿe.
In 2018, Queen Mathilde became the honorary president of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development. According to the royal tradition, Queen Mathilde became an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium.
Queen Mathilde is a member of the Schwab Foundation Board for Social Entrepreneurship. She was a United Nations Emissary for the International Year of Microcredit 2005, which focused in particular on financial inclusion and financial literacy. The Queen also attends the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
The Queen also presided at the ceremony awarding the King Baudouin International Development Prize. She also received an Honorary Doctorate from Hasselt University on 30 May 2023.
- Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant, 2017.
- France: Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honour, 2018.
- Finland: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland
- Germany: Grand Cross, Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer 2 May 2022
- Holy See:
- Japan: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
- Jordan: Dame Grand Cordon, Special Class of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance
- Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great 24 October 2022
- Norway: Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Olav
- Spain: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic 12 May 2000
Alliance coat of arms of King Philippe
and Queen Mathilde
Dual cypher of King Philippe
and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
Coat of arms of the House of d'Udekem d'Acoz
Coat of arms of Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
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Under Belgian law, marriage does not have any effect on the spouses' surnames. You keep the surname that you had before you were married.
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Mathilde was the daughter of a judge and a countess, ...
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In the past, only boys could become Kings. The Constitution was changed in 1991: Princesses can now also ascend the throne and become Queen. Princess Elisabeth, who is the eldest of four children of King Philippe, is therefore the heiress of the Belgian monarchy. When she succeeds her father King Philippe, Princess Elisabeth will be the first woman to become Head of State in Belgium.
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