Belgium in Brief: Belgium's Princess Turns Fashion Influencer

Belgium in Brief: Belgium's Princess Turns Fashion Influencer
Credit: Royal Palace/Belga

In a strange turn of events, the biggest story of the weekend comes from an unusual source - a photo of Belgian Crown Princess Elisabeth going for a run.

The princess, the eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, has completed her education at the prestigious United World College in Wales, where she graduated with an International Baccalaureate. Now, as royal tradition demands, she will pass on to the military academy.

The news stressed that despite being the first female heir to the throne in history, Elisabeth will not be spared the usual rigours of military cadets. And to illustrate the point, the royal palace distributed a photograph showing the princess indulging in some strenuous jogging, dressed in polo shirt and leggings. And it was that photo that triggered an avalanche of orders coming into the textile company Liebaert in Deinze in East Flanders. Here's the rest of the story.

So what's the other news of the day? We look at the latest figures, explain what changed this week, and a far-right MP gets caught breaking lockdown rules.

With so much information, and so little time to catch up before it potentially changes again, here are some of the top stories from around the country to get you up to speed.

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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. 250 new infections, 27 hospital admissions in Belgium

250 additional people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, confirmed the Federal Public Health Service during a press conference on Monday.

This brings the total number of cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 57,342. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

175 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 50 live in Wallonia, and 25 live in Brussels. “The trend of new infections is still decreasing, by about 12% per day over the last 7 days,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. Read more.

2. Cheat-sheet: What changed on 25 May?

Despite not officially moving into another phase, Monday 25 May still sees several changes taking place in the context of the deconfinement that Belgium is going through.

Here’s a quick recap of the latest changes.

3. Two arrested after violence against police caught on video

Two men have been arrested as prosecutors continue to investigate a filmed incident in which two police officers were beaten as they carried out an arrest in Brussels.

Both men are among those involved in a violent scuffle between passers-by and police during which several people can be seen hitting two officers holding a man to the ground during an arrest in Anderlecht on Wednesday.

Taken into custody after the brawl, the first detainee saw his arrest upheld by a judge on Friday and is the man who can be seen under police hold as several others attempt to free him. Read more.

4. Flemish far-right MP caught red-handed at lockdown party

Far-right Flemish MP Dries Van Langenhove was among several people caught red-handed by police at a party in Ghent, organised despite the coronavirus lockdown.

Last Thursday, police received complaints about loud music and came to check the site, which they ended up raiding after residents first attempted to deny there was a party going on. Read more.

5. Coronavirus: antibody tests now accessible in Belgium

Tests to determine whether a person has built antibodies against the new coronavirus (Covid-19) will now be available in Belgium, social security officials said.

The INAMI social security body announced on Friday the conditions under which the serological tests could be reimbursed, paving the way for their use in patients in Belgium. Read more.

6. Flemish town organises open-air marriages

The town of Sint-Kathelijne-Waver, in the Antwerp province, is organising marriages in the open air, as the chances of spreading the coronavirus are smaller outdoors.

If the weather permits it, civil weddings will take place in the courtyard of Sint-Katelijne-Waver’s town hall, according to mayor Kristof Sels. However, some precautionary measures still have to be taken. Read more.

7. Calm Ascension weekend on the Belgian Coast

The Ascension weekend has been extremely calm on the Belgian Coast despite the relaxation of stay-at-home rules.

With the mixed weather and strong wind, holidaymakers have not flocked to the beaches or shopping streets of seaside resorts, and social-distancing enforcers have had little work. “We are satisfied,” was the word from many police zones. Read More.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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