Royal Palace of Brussels

Tuesday, 21 February 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Matthias Zepper/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Matthias Zepper/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Royal Palace of Brussels is the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians in the centre of the nation’s capital, Brussels. However, it is not used as a royal residence, as the king and his family live in the Royal Palace of Laeken in northern Brussels. The website of the Belgian Monarchy describes the function of the Royal Palace as follows:

The Royal Palace is where His Majesty the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State, grants audiences and deals with affairs of state. Apart from the offices of the King and the Queen, the Royal Palace houses the services of the Grand Marshal of the Court, the King’s Head of Cabinet, the Head of the King’s Military Household and the Intendant of the King’s Civil List. The Royal Palace also includes the State Rooms where large receptions are held, as well as the apartments provided for foreign Heads of State during official visits.

The first nucleus of the present-day building dates from the end of the 18th century. However, the grounds on which the Royal Palace stands were once part of the Coudenberg Palace, a very old palatial complex that dated back to the Middle Ages. The facade existing today was only built after 1900 on the initiative of King Leopold II.

The Royal Palace is situated in front of Brussels Park, from which it is separated by a long square called the Place des Palais/Paleizenplein. The middle axis of the park marks both the middle peristyle of the Royal Palace and of the Belgian Federal Parliament building (Palace of the Nation) on the other side of the park. The two facing buildings are said to symbolise Belgium’s system of government: a constitutional monarchy. This area is served by Brussels Central Station, as well as by the metro stations Parc/Park (on lines 1 and 5) and Trône/Troon (on lines 2 and 6).

In the Royal Palace, an important part of the Royal Collection is found. This consists of mainly state portraits and important furniture of Napoleon, Leopold I, Louis Philippe I and Leopold II. Silverware, porcelain and fine crystal is kept in the cellars used during state banquets and formal occasions at court. Queen Paola added modern art in some of the state rooms.

Empire Room © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-sa-4.0 Grand Gallery © Lahmenfurst/cc-by-sa-4.0 Grand Staircase © Davidh820/cc-by-sa-4.0 Grand White Drawing Room © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-sa-4.0 Large Anteroom © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Martin Falbisoner/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Matthias Zepper/cc-by-sa-3.0 Pillar Room © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-sa-4.0 Throne Room © Anne Jea./cc-by-sa-4.0 © Alvesgaspar/cc-by-sa-3.0 Coburg Room © flickr.com - Michal Osmenda/cc-by-2.0
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Grand White Drawing Room © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-sa-4.0
During state visits, the royal apartments and suites are at the disposal of visiting heads of state. Ambassadors too are received there with state ceremony. New Year’s receptions are held for NATO, EU ambassadors and politicians. Royal wedding banquets take place in the palace, and after their death, the body of the deceased king lies in state there. If the king is currently in the country, the flag is hoisted on the central building. If he is present inside the palace, then the guard of honour stands at the front of the palace.

Unlike most European royal residences, the Palace of Brussels is today no longer the real residence of the Kings of the Belgians, who prefer to live in the Palace of Laeken. It was under Leopold III that the palace really only became a place of work, housing the king’s office as well as the services of his House. It was also at the palace that the Councils of Ministers took place, then often chaired by the king. Leopold III being reluctant to play the game of the parliamentary regime of the time, he only rarely convened these meetings which then took place elsewhere.

Although it is no longer the private residence of the sovereigns, the palace has continued to house members of the royal family and to see important events take place for them. Only one king was born there (Leopold II, on 9 April 1835), none died there, but many marriages took place there: we note, among many others, that of the future Leopold II with Marie-Henriette of Habsburg-Lorraine, that of Princess Charlotte with Archduke Maximilian, that of Prince Albert of Liège with Paola Ruffo di Calabria, that of King Baudouin with Fabiola de Mora y Aragón or even that of Prince Philippe with Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz.

The palace plays a big role in the receptions of international personalities. Currently, the very many ambassadors accredited to Belgium are received by the king in the Hall of Mirrors. The palace can also serve more specific functions: for instance, during the First World War and on the initiative of Queen Elisabeth, it became a military hospital of the Red Cross. As often mentioned, it has a facade 50% longer than that of Buckingham Palace in London, but its floor area of 33,027 m² (355,500 sq ft) is less than half of Buckingham Palace’s floor area at 77,000 m² (830,000 sq ft).

Read more on monarchie.be – Royal Palace of Brussels, visit.brussels – Royal Palace and Wikipedia Royal Palace of Brussels (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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