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New Belgian king and queen greet crowds from royal balcony

Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 00:59

July 21 - Belgium's newly sworn-in King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and their four children make a balcony appearance to greet cheering crowds. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Belgium swore in Philippe as its new king on Sunday after his father Albert II abdicated, largely setting aside for one day questions about his ability to bring a divided country together. Newly sworn in King Philippe and wife Queen Mathilde left the palace in a convertible that paraded to the parliament through festive crowds gathered in readiness for the new king and queen. Philippe, 53, took his oath in Belgium's three official languages - Dutch, French and German - two-and-a-half weeks after King Albert, 79, announced that he would abdicate after 20 years on the throne. Albert could be seen mouthing the words "Vive le roi" (Long live the king) at the swearing-in ceremony in parliament. Fewer than half of people in Flanders believe Philippe will be a good king compared with two thirds in Wallonia, according to an opinion poll. The 183-year-old country is split across the middle, with many Dutch speakers seeking greater independence for Flanders in the north and wary of a monarchy seen rooted in the once powerful, but now poorer French-speaking Wallonia in the south. Belgian kings do plenty of handshaking and ribbon-cutting, but also appoint mediators and potential government heads to steer coalition talks after elections, no small task in Belgium. Even royalist Belgians feel they know little about Philippe, who has appeared reserved in public, in contrast to his more outgoing father.

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New Belgian king and queen greet crowds from royal balcony

Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 00:59