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The Queen in 2017
|Queen consort of the Belgians|
|Tenure||21 July 2013 - present|
|Born||Jonkvrouw Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d'Udekem d'Acoz|
20 January 1973
Uccle, Brussels, Belgium
|Father||Count Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz|
|Mother||Countess Anna Maria Komorowska|
Mathilde (born Jonkvrouw Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz - [matild dyd(?)k?m dak?] - on 20 January 1973) is the wife of King Philippe, who ascended the throne following the abdication of his father, King Albert II, on 21 July 2013. She is the first Belgian-born Queen of the Belgians.
Upon her marriage to Prince Philippe of Belgium, the Duke of Brabant in 1999, King Albert II of Belgium elevated the family d'Udekem d'Acoz from the baronial to the comital rank, hereditary in the male lineage. Upon the accession of her husband, Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant to the throne of Belgium she became the first Belgian queen consort of native Belgian nationality.
Mathilde attended primary school in Bastogne and secondary school in Brussels, and then studied speech therapy. She worked as a speech therapist in her own practice in Brussels from 1995 to 1999. She also studied psychology at the Université catholique de Louvain and earned a master's degree in psychology in 2002 with honours (cum laude).
She speaks French, Dutch, English and Italian. Her mother, who has lived most of her life outside Poland, did not teach her Polish, thinking that it would not be necessary. Therefore, Mathilde knows only a few words of Polish.
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The announcement of Mathilde's engagement to the Belgian heir-apparent Prince Philippe came as a surprise to the country. Mathilde married Philippe on 4 December 1999 in Brussels, civilly at the Brussels Town Hall and religiously at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. Mathilde's bridal gown was designed by Édouard Vermeulen. She was made Duchess of Brabant and a Princess of Belgium on 8 November 1999 (published on 13 November 1999 and effective from 4 December 1999).
The couple have four children:
Princess Elisabeth, the couple's eldest child, is the first in line to the throne and ahead of her younger brothers and sister, who are second, third, and fourth in line to succeed, owing to a change in Belgian succession laws in 1991, allowing for the eldest child to succeed, regardless of gender.
Queen Mathilde is concerned with a range of social issues including education, child poverty, intergenerational poverty, the position of women in society and literacy.
Since 2009, Queen Mathilde has been the honorary president of Unicef Belgium. She serves as the World Health Organization's Special Representative for Immunization. She also the honorary president of the Breast International Group, a non-profit organisation for academic breast cancer research groups from around the world.
She set up the Princess Mathilde Fund (now the Queen Mathilde Fund) in 2001, which promotes the care of vulnerable people and awards an annual prize for good works in a particular sector. The sector changes each year: examples include early years education, women's health, and protecting young people from violence.
Queen Mathilde deploys the Queen's Charities to offer help to citizens who are struggling to cope with financial hardship in their daily lives and often turn to her as a last resort. The Queen is honorary president of Child Focus, foundation for missing and sexually exploited children.
Queen Mathilde is a patron of YouthStart Belgium. Queen Mathilde is also a patron of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, an international competition founded in 1937 as an initiative of Queen Elisabeth and Belgian composer and violist Eugène Ysaÿe.
In 2018, Queen Mathilde became the honorary president of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development. According to the royal tradition, Queen Mathilde became an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium.
Queen Mathilde is a member of the Schwab Foundation Board for Social Entrepreneurship. She was a United Nations Emissary for the International Year of Microcredit 2005, which focused in particular on financial inclusion and financial literacy. The Queen also attends the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
Queen Mathilde was named a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Advocate in 2016, promoting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda for global sustainable development). As an SDG Advocate, she is particularly focused on mental health.
The Queen also presided at the ceremony awarding the King Baudouin International Development Prize.
Alliance Coat of Arms of King Philippe
and Queen Mathilde
Dual Cypher of King Philippe
and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
Coat of arms of the House of d'Udekem d'Acoz
Coat of arms of Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
She worked as a speech therapist at her own practice in Brussels, while studying psychology at the Catholic University of Leuven.