Prince Gabriel delivers first public speech at Royal Military Academy

Queen Mathilde and King Philippe leave Brussels Cathedral

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Prince Gabriel, 19, delivered his first speech during a ceremony which marked the beginning of the new academic year at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. The Prince joined colleagues in the Belgian capital after he received his blue bonnet for concluding a five-week training camp.

Speaking in Dutch, which is the language used for his studies at the École Royale Militaire, Gabriel said: “My colleagues and I are aware of the discipline and efforts that the Royal Military Academy will require from us.”

The ceremony was held at dusk on Brussels’ Esplanade du Cinquantenaire.

Spotlights were also shining on the key elements of the event.

During the event, sub-lieutenant Jasper Mathys received the King’s Sword, a unique piece handed to the most academically brilliant student in the programme.

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King Philippe, 71, took part in the ceremony as sovereign.

King Albert II, 88, who abdicated from the throne in 2013, also watched on alongside Queen Mathilde, 49, Prince Emmanuel, 17, and Princess Eléonore, 14.

However, Albert’s wife Paola, 85, missed the event.

Princess Elisabeth, 20, who is the Belgian heir apparent, also missed the ceremony as she is at Oxford University for her second year as a history and politics student at Lincoln College.

Marking the moment on social media, the Belgian Royal Palace said: “Solemn entry of the new promotions, including that of Prince Gabriel, during the academic opening of the Royal Military School on the Esplanade of the Jubelpark.

“Prince Gabriel is one of the new apprentice officers.

“The King, Queen, King Albert II, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore are present.

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“The King also hands over the King’s Day to Lieutenant Jasper Mathys.

“Degen is a prestigious award for the most deserving officer-apprentice of the KMS in academic education.”

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