Abdication is the name of the game as elder royals in Europe look for the exit door. Earlier this year Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated in favour of her son and now King Albert of Belgium has followed suit. Will aging Queen Elizabeth in the UK take a leaf out of their book?
Probably not as the role of Monarch in the UK is a life-time role and certainly in the past Elizabeth has indicated she will follow the usual UK course. She may be casting green eyes over to those who are leaving their "job" of monarch to enjoy a little retirement before their time on this earth comes to an ends though.
The Queen and her consort Prince Philip are both showing signs of their longevity and certainly, in the case of Philip, his health is declining. Both may remain fairly hale and hearty, for their ages, but time catches up with us all.
July 21 is Belgian National Day, so what better day for Albert, 79, who has reigned Belgium for 20 years to bow out? Sunday he signed official documents which clear the way for his son Phillipe, 53, to take over. Ceremonies and celebrations continue to be held in Belgium throughout the day. They will however lack some of the pizzazz and glitz associated with such events as the abdication was only announced three weeks ago. This gave officials little time to go overboard with festivities and probably saved the nation a great deal of money. Why he has chosen this time to abidcate is not clear.
Belgium has a mixed population of Dutch and French speaking citizens. Albert today expressed his hope that both will continue to work together. Like the rest of Europe Belgium has experienced political problems following the global economic crisis in 2008. Albert however reportedly has little if any involvement in the politics of his country and it is expected that Phillipe will take a similar path.
Netherlands welcomes King as head of state