Princess Elisabeth, heir apparent to the throne of the Belgians, will not be receiving a civil list payment, for the time being, the Royal Palace has let it be known. The Princess turns 18 in October this year. Although eligible as heir for a payment from the time she attains majority, the princess will first complete her secondary studies at the prestigious Atlantic College in Wales, due to last until summer 2020, before moving on, possibly to higher education, military training or both.
The amount of any such payment is not fixed, but decided by parliament. In recent weeks the sum of 920,000 euros a year has been mentioned – the sum now received by former King Albert, her grandfather.
However her father King Philippe and mother Queen Mathilde have made it clear they wish her to be allowed to complete her education in peace, without the burden of public engagements which accompany payments from the civil list.
The majority of an heir to the throne would normally imply she moves into her own house, with a small staff who would also organise a series of official engagements for her. In return for her civil list payment, she would submit a report of her expenses to the national Court of Auditors.
There also hangs a political shadow over any future payment. Flemish nationalists N-VA have expressed a wish to do away with civil list payments altogether. However, that idea finds little support among other parties or the public at large, and would likely only affect peripheral royals like Elisabeth’s brothers and sisters when they too become adults. It is not clear how the country could maintain the monarchy itself without paying for it.
Next door in the Netherlands, 13-year-old Crown Princess Catharina-Amalia has been awarded a civil list payment of 1.4 million euros on reaching the age of 18, but not without a good deal of political opposition.