Belgian Princess Elisabeth will join a royal network of European heirs in Oslo on Friday as she attends her first royal party abroad to celebrate the 18th birthday of Norwegian Princess Ingrid Alexandra, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
The party comes as a brief distraction for the princess, who is studying her first year of history and politics at Lincoln College Oxford and has exams next week.
In Oslo, she will attend a gala dinner at the Royal Palace. Ingrid Alexandra is the granddaughter of King Harald and her father is Crown Prince Haakon.
A prestigious event
The event in Oslo is the most notable royal event since the pandemic started, with almost all the royal families in Europe sending a representative. Other notable guests include King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Felipe of Spain and heir apparent such as Victoria of Sweden, Frederick of Denmark and Guillaume of Luxembourg.
Belgian King Philippe will miss the festivities as he is visiting Belgian soldiers in Romania. However, alongside Princess Elisabeth, the Belgian Royal Family will be represented by Queen Mathilde.
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For many heirs to European thrones, Friday's royal get-together will be their first official meeting. Aged 20, Elisabeth is one of the oldest of her generation of heirs. Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg will bring his two-year-old son Charles.
Previously, Belgian King Philippe and Mathilde were part of an informal club of European heirs to the throne. At the initiative of Dutch Willem-Alexander and Máxima, they would meet royal dignitaries from the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Luxembourg once or twice a year. At these meetings, they would discuss the future of the monarchy, the media and bringing up their children.
Royal families in Europe
There are currently 12 royal families in Europe. Seven countries are still kingdoms: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco are principalities, while Luxembourg is a Grand Duchy.
In Belgium, King Philippe ascended to the throne in 2013 after the abdication of his father Albert II. King Philippe sits alongside Queen Mathilde, who he married in 1999.
The couple has four children: Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore.
Belgium has had a monarchy since it became independent in 1830.