July 21 - King Philippe ascends the throne as his father King Albert II abdicates in a country divided over the role of its royals. Lindsey Parietti reports.
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Belgium's new ruler gets a warm greeting from cheering crowds in Brussels.
King Philippe took the throne Sunday with his wife Mathilde looking on.
His father King Albert II abdicated earlier in the day after 20 years in power, officially handing the reins to his 53-year-old son.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) KING ALBERT II DURING HIS ABDICATION SPEECH:
"Philippe, you have all the emotional and intellectual qualities needed to very well serve our country in your new role. Yourself, and your dear spouse, have all our trust."
Admirers gathered outside the palace to greet the royal family.
But not everyone is happy with the monarchy.
The country is split, with many Dutch speakers seeking greater independence for Flanders in the north and wary of a monarchy rooted in the south.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FLEMISH CATHOLIC COLLEGE BROTHERHOOD AND ANTI-MONARCHY MICHIEL DESCHEEMAEKER, SAYING:
"We do not believe in monarchy. We are here today to protest against the king. Kings belong in fairytales."
Even royalist Belgians feel they know little about Philippe, who has trained as an airforce pilot and led trade missions, but has appeared reserved in public.
Philippe's swearing-in coincides with national day festivities, which also marked 20 years of his father's reign.
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