Belgium’s Crown Princess Elisabeth will attend Oxford to study politics

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 The Daily Mail]

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.

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36 Responses to “Belgium’s Crown Princess Elisabeth will attend Oxford to study politics”

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  1. Harla says:

    It’s so inspiring how other royals train for their future roles compared to the BRF who don’t. I think it’s great that several future queens are going abroad to study, it will really benefit themselves and their people!

    • bros says:

      how nice for her that her parents can afford it. After brexit, UK universities became completely unaffordable for people living in the EU and their tuition went from like max 5-7k a year to 20k at least, and now only royalty and oligarchs from russia and china can afford it. my friends daughter in vienna dreamed of going to oxford law her whole life, got in, and now can’t afford to go. dumb privileging of the over-privileged now.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Many European universities have done the same, to UK students but also to students from Canada and the US.

      • Lex says:

        A friend of mine has dual Aus & UK citizenship but to go study in the UK she had to be treated as a foreigner for payment purposes as her schooling was in Aus… so she ended up paying something like 20000 pounds for her Masters degree rather than the local rates… even as a citizen!

        So yeah… it’s pretty normal for ‘outsiders’ to be charged more, even not-so-outsiders.

  2. Catherine says:

    I am fascinated by these three future Queens and the progressive (for royals) way they seem to be being raised. They will be on the throne at same time as William presumably. He already seems regressive. It will be interesting. The royalist keep painting the Cambridge’s as new life for the monarchy but compared to the other royals they will seem archaic. Even Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden who is around the same age as William seems more youthful and progressive. It was so interesting when the Cambridge’s went to Sweden and Victoria seemed so much more at ease and in control and sophisticated while the Cambridge’s seemed out of their depth in comparison.

    I don’t think citizens of Belgium will mind Elizabeth studying abroad. Belgium is the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. They have three official languages. They have a very Eurocentric viewpoint. They are not xenophobic the way the UK seems to be. No way would it be accepted for Prince George to attend university outside the UK. I think they will view her time abroad as good training for her future role as long as she maintains connections with Belgium which they emphasized she will.

    • notasugarhere says:

      There’s more, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway and Princess Estelle of Sweden. There should have been another, Aiko/Toshi of Japan, but that sexist country wouldn’t allow her her rightful place.

    • Shoes not blues says:

      You’re 100% correct. Actually Crown Princess Victoria is five years older than Prince William but she just seems so much more modern and relevant to today’s society.

    • Christine says:

      You absolutely nailed it, Catherine! Wills acts and sounds decades older than he is, apparently he thinks it is a good look. Meanwhile, all these other countries with really accomplished women next in line look and feel modern. The fact that they are getting good educations, while Wills does nothing, is striking.

  3. notasugarhere says:

    @Kaiser, they’re used to their royals going abroad. Her father has an undergrad from Trinity College Oxford and a Masters from Stanford.

  4. Belig says:

    I think studying in the UK is the safe choice, to avoid being seen to favor the French- or the Dutch-speaking side, that pretty much hate each other’s guts.

    • Courtney B says:

      I lived in Belgium when my hubby was at SHAPE. We were in the French part, Wallonia, and, yes, they do have serious issues with one another. There was a huge dust up when Pairi Daiza the zoo near Mons (in our area) got two pandas rather than the larger zoo at Antwerp in Flanders. The PM was the former mayor of Mons and there was outrage. This despite the fact PD was more visited than the Antwerp zoo.

  5. zinjazin says:

    God for her.
    Here is a link to the education of Victoria of Swedens education, she studied a lot! Amongst other things political science and history at Yale. She also have a complete military education and many language studies in Germany and a university in France, and she was an intern at the UN in New york.
    As well as education in inrernational diplomacy.
    https://www.kungahuset.se/royalcourt/royalfamily/hrhcrownprincessvictoria/biography.4.396160511584257f2180001679.html

    • notasugarhere says:

      Her studies in the US were mostly a cover to get her out of Sweden to start recovering from anorexia. She also did a year long diplomat training course.

      The current crop of young monarchs (or soon to be monarchs) are well-educated for their roles. Oxford, Stanford, Yale, Harvard. The exceptions being the UK royals.

  6. Catherine says:

    Also, if you look at the other royal families. It is actually pretty commonplace for them to study abroad. The UK and the US being likely destinations.

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      I was going to say this. A lot of people from royal families end up doing some semester/year long studies in the UK or US (not usually their whole studies, I’ve never heard of a European royal going to a US college for 4 years and getting their BA, minus Prince Albert of Monaco who went to Amherst College all 4 years (this makes sense given Grace Kelly was American). Also he probably had more anonymity going to school in the US than in Europe. Higher education costs an arm and a leg here in the US, but royals can afford it and we have some of the best universities in the world.

      • Ijsbeer12 says:

        Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg got his degree from a US college!

      • Villern says:

        King Felipe of Spain studied in Georgetown University and in Canada as well

      • Elizabeth Kerri Mahon says:

        Prince Haakon of Norway went to Berkeley in CA.

      • liz says:

        The Crown Prince of Jordan graduated from Georgetown (his father went to Deerfield Academy for high school).

        As for the cost of undergraduate education in the US – it’s obscene. I have a high school senior. We realized that sending them to university in Canada, Ireland or the UK will cost us less than half of what our alma maters now cost and will be around the same as sending them to the flagship state university as an in-state student. Even paying full-freight and buying into the national health insurance programs, it’s much cheaper to send our child abroad.

    • Couch potato says:

      Yes, the crown princes of Denmark and Norway and CP Victoria of Sweden studied in the US and i their home countries, in addition to military training. Everyone knows who they are in their countries, so it’s a good experience for them to study a place they’re more anonymous. In addition, they get to learn more about other countries culture in a way you can’t by just short visit. A learning experience it’s good to have as future heads of state, with lot of international contacts.

  7. Nic919 says:

    How interesting that a future head of state is studying something that will be of value to their position, instead of faffing about with art history and geography.

    William looks like a dummy compared to the young women already. And he hasn’t exactly proven he’s capable now that he’s going to be 40.

    It should be noted that all the girls are bilingual at minimum as well. Meanwhile William only speaks English and has awful French despite it being the official language for many of the commonwealth countries that still have the Queen as head of state. And it’s doubtful he can speak Welsh even though he will inherit the prince of Wales title.

    • notasugarhere says:

      His French doesn’t even qualify as awful. That would imply he speaks it with some level of fluency, which he doesn’t. He knows a couple of phrases which he mangles while on tour.

    • Couch potato says:

      It’s common in the other royal families in Europe. They educate themselves for their future job. The future monarchs in the late teens/early twenties seems more relaxed and better at official engagements than Willnot, and fare more socially aware than him. But then again, even the norwegian king( who’s in his 80s), are more “woke” than Willnot. The other monarchies seems to have a better understanding of what’s going on in society today, while the british royals are still living in the Victorian era.

      • Catherine says:

        Yes!!!! Their approach the education is a reflective of just how regressive and archaic the UK royal family is. Prince Charles didn’t even attend formal school until he was somewhere between 8-10 years old until then it was a governess and private tutors at BP. Diana is the one who pushed for William and Harry to attend school starting in nursery/pre school age. And that at the time was considered radical. William and Harry’s lack of fluency in any other language is shocking. You would have thought they would have had private tutors for that. I believe the Queen and Charles speak French and German. Not only are William and Harry not fluent in any other language but they struggle even when they have to give prepared greetings. You would think that basic level of competence would have been drilled into them. That has always struck me as odd.

      • Nic919 says:

        Charles has spoken in French during his tours in Canada and he’s decent. Same as the Queen. It’s a disgrace that William is so bad. There is no excuse for him to not have learned. He can do it even now. Plenty of canadian politicians with aspirations for being PM learn French as adults.

      • GrnieWnie says:

        oof I just listened to Charles speak French and I had a hard time hearing around his anglophone accent. A bit painful. But he’s clearly invested time in learning the language to some extent.

  8. bettyrose says:

    I think of Oxford as being where international heads of state go to college. Or Harvard.

    • sandy says:

      except for the british royals. I wonder if even with a title – they just couldn’t get in?

      • Fortuona says:

        No they have mostly gone to Cambridge except the ones who went straight into the army ,William who went St Andrews ,Beatrice went to Goldsmiths ,Eug to Newcastle and Anne who started work for her mother at 18

      • original penguin says:

        The younger ones wouldn’t have got in. Going to Eton helps, but there’s no legacy system.

    • Fortuona says:

      original penguin

      Most of them go to Cambridge (Charles and Edward ) and William attended St Andrews which is 600 years old

    • Nic919 says:

      Charles went to Cambridge but there were rumblings that he wouldn’t have gotten in without help. None of the BRF are intellectuals and they are academically weak. And while excuses can be made for the Queen because she wasn’t born to it and was from a time where getting married and having babies was most important for women, there is no excuse for William to be so poor intellectually since he was 2nd in line from birth.

      Even if he didn’t go to Oxford he should have studied politics and done other things relevant to being a future head of state. He’s done none of it.
      Charles at least made the effort to learn Welsh and he went to uni for a few semesters in Australia and Canada. William did none of that.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        However, Elizabeth was still a child when her father became king – and yet no real provisions were made to ensure a more comprehensive education for her. That was because her parents were against education – probably because the Queen’s father did VERY badly in school. Add in the sexist ideas that women didn’t need education.

        The Windsor anti-intellectualism runs deep – as does their reputation for being not very bright. The Queen’s grandfather was famously thought to be rather dim.

      • Fortuona says:

        William once again ,and whether he is an ass of not went to St Andrews which is 3 on the lists

  9. Noodle says:

    I was an exchange student in Belgium in high school, and I am not at all surprised she is undertaking history/politics at Oxford. Belgium is a very different place, with lots of tension and strife between the French-speaking half and the Flemish-half. The two very different cultures do not tolerate each other very well. I lived in Liege, with a French-speaking family, and when we traveled to the coast in the Flemish half, I was told not to speak French or English for fear I would be a target. I am sure a lot of things have changed since my time there, but the leader of that country has significant obstacles to their leadership, given the tension between the two cultures.

  10. Still_Sarah says:

    Does anyone else think she looks like Jennifer Lawrence? I saw the picture and thought “Wow, so what’ Jennifer Lawrence up to now?” Beautiful girl and apparently very smart too. Good luck to her in her studies.