With the introduction of absolute primogeniture in most European monarchies, there are now several Queens in waiting. With our series Female Heirs, we’ll be taking a look at those young women who will one day rule in their own right. Today we’ll be taking a look at Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant.
On 25 October 2001, a daughter named Elisabeth was born to the then Duke and Duchess of Brabant, now King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians. Belgium had introduced absolute primogeniture in 1991 for the descendants of King Albert II, and so Elisabeth was immediately second in line to the throne behind her father. The subsequent birth of two younger brothers Prince Gabriel (born 2003) and Prince Emmanuel (born 2005) did not see them overtake her position as the heiress. A younger sister named Princess Eléonore was born in 2008.
Princess Elisabeth’s baptism took place on 9 December 2001 in the chapel of Ciergnon Castle. Her godparents were her cousin Archduke Amedeo of Austria-Este and her aunt Countess Hélène d’Udekem d’Acoz.
Elisabeth began her education at the Dutch-language Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege in Brussels. She also speaks French, German and English. She is currently attending the UWC Atlantic College in Wales.
On 21 July 2013, her father became the new King of the Belgians after her grandfather abdicated in his favour. Princess Elisabeth became the new heiress apparent and became known by the traditional title of Duchess of Brabant. She is the first woman to hold the title in her own right.
She is being slowly introduced to royal duties, but she had refused to receive an allowance until she is completely finished with her studies. Elisabeth turned 18 years old in October 2019, and she invested with the Order of Leopold by her father. She also held a speech in which she said, “Eighteen years … A step that I take with great optimism. I realise that I still have a lot to learn. I will also focus on that in the coming years: trying to understand the world better – and helping to improve it, by giving the best of myself. The country can count on me.”