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Belgian royal coats of arms get makeover
King Philippe of Belgium has updated the royal coat of arms - a first in 119 years. The monarch’s personal arms now includes the motto L’Union fait la force (Unity makes strength) in Dutch and German as well as French.
Another important revision is in the reintroduction of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha shield, revealing the royal family’s German heritage and former surname. It had been removed after World War One by King Albert I because of anti-German sentiment following the country’s invasion and occupation of Belgium. Since 1920, the family’s surname has been van België, de Belgique or von Belgien (of Belgium). The restoration of the German lineage is seen as a reflection of the close relations now enjoyed by the two countries, in particular in NATO and the EU.
The modifications by royal decree extend to Queen Mathilde’s royal colours, which were previously less adorned. In anticipation of the succession of their daughter Princess Elisabeth to the throne, the arms of both monarchs are now equally embellished.
Photo: Belga/Royal Palace