As part of the celebrations for the Belgian Fête Nationale, approximately 1,500 people attended Monday’s 10:00 am Te Deum in Brissels’ Saints Michel et Gudule cathedral in the presence of King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and their 4 children, estimated police forces, based on the crowd on the esplanade. There were no security issues. A man suspected of being at large was arrested then released after his identity was established. The Palace changed its security procedures this year, in order to ensure more security whilst modernising. Invitations were thus scanned upon arrival at the cathedral.
Amongst others, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Prime Minister Charles Michel and federal Ministers Kris Peeters, Didier Reynders, Koen Geens and Steven Vandeput were present. The latter was the only representative of the N-VA party. Home Secretary Jan Jambon was absent, as was the President of the House of Representatives. No-one represented the Open VLD party either.
This was the last Te Deum for Cardinal Leonard. He thanked the King for his speech, and in particular for pleading for more authentic relations between human beings and for calling for solidarity with the more vulnerable members of society. One of the prayers focussed on ending terrorist attacks.
With shouts of “Long Live the King!” the royal family came out to greet the public as they left the cathedral. The Queen’s subtly light green outfit and especially her wide hat were much commented on.