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Royal couple gave €149,591 to authors of 'begging letters' in 2021

06:40 14/01/2022

Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde gave 788 financial gifts totalling €149,591 last year, according to the Royal Palace.

The gifts were made in response to requests for aid sent to the Requests and Social Affairs Department of the king's household, sometimes referred to as "begging letters".

There were a total of 57,152 requests for assistance last year, 7,147 of which were new and 7,282 which were follow-ups to previous appeals.

The applications concerned energy and health-related bills, housing problems, food costs and water bills, among other things, with 1,893 applications requesting financial assistance.

Each application is examined by the Department of Applications and Social Affairs and results in an opinion, advice or referral to an appropriate aid organisation. Sometimes contact is made with the official bodies or organisations concerned - for example, a federal public service or municipality - for a review of the situation.

In 2020, the royal couple made 640 donations for a total of some €128,000 - a number said to be lower than the previous year because of difficulties interacting with the relevant social services due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: Dirk Waem/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons