I generally don’t pay very close attention to the Belgian royal family, but that royal family is a lot like the Dutch and the Spanish royal families: their next-in-line to the throne is a teenage girl. Belgium’s Crown Princess Elisabeth is only 19 years old. Spain’s Crown Princess Leonor is 15. And the Netherlands’ crown princess Amalia is 17. These ladies are all going to be queens! But right now, they’re just living their lives and choosing various educational paths. Princess Elisabeth has finally decided which university she’ll attend and it’s not in Belgium. She’s going to Oxford to study politics:
Princess Elisabeth of Belgium will take up a place at Oxford University to study history and politics. The eldest daughter of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, who is heir to the Belgian throne, will commence the three-year course in October at the prestigious university’s Lincoln College.
The Belgian royals announced the news in a statement on its Instagram page, adding that the princess will ‘regularly return to Belgium and remain involved in Belgian public life’ while she studies in the UK.
According to Belgian newspaper Le Soir, the princess completed a written entrance exam in history ‘anonymously’ so that her social status would not affect her marks. Elisabeth is believed to have chosen the course herself, in agreement with her parents, and reportedly consulted with alumni from various universities and made her decision based on what would be most useful to her in her role as queen later in life.
The princess completed her secondary education at UWC Atlantic College in South Wales – based at a 12th-century castle and dubbed the ‘Hippie Hogwarts’ – where she boarded for 18 months. She then headed home to Brussels in March ahead of the government lockdown, which she spent with her parents and siblings Prince Gabriel, 17, Prince Emmanuel, 15, and Princess Eléonore, 13. She then enrolled at the Royal Military Academy – where her father studied for three years as a teenager – in September. The princess, who received her International Baccalaureate Diploma last summer, completed a one-year course in social and military sciences.
From my admittedly limited understanding, Elisabeth going into the Royal Military Academy would be the equivalent of Prince William’s one-year program at Sandhurst. Most royal men across Europe choose some kind of military academy for their future roles. Didn’t Sweden’s CP Victoria also do some studying at a military academy too? Yes, I’m sure she did. As for Princess Elisabeth… on one side, I think it will be great for her to get out of Belgium and see even more of the world and have a normal university experience and meet all kinds of different people. But on the other side, I kind of wonder if Belgium’s prestigious universities are kind of bummed that their crown princess didn’t think they were good enough.
Photos courtesy of Belgium’s Royal Palace IG.