Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Abdication of the King of the Belgians

The announcement yesterday by the King of the Belgians that he will abdicate for reasons due to his health and age - he is 79 - on July 21st, the kingdom's national day, makes this the third voluntary abdication, after those in the Netherlands and Papacy, this year.

King Albert II
King Albert II, of whom there is an online biography here, has worked faithfully to keep his kingdom together, like his brother and predecessor King Baudouin. He, and the Belgian people, have had to endure the frequent failure of the Belgian political class to find a means of co-operating in government, with long periods with caretaker governments whilst negotiations dragged on behind the scenes. On one occasuion the King refused to sanction the honours list as ameans of drawing attentuion to this paralysis of political life.

The task of being King of the Belgians now falls to Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant as heir to the throne. It is not an easy inheritance, but he has been able to observe his father and uncle in their discharge of the duties on monarch. There is an online account of him here.

File:Prince Philippe of Belgium, Duke of Brabant cropped.jpg

Prince Philippe Duke of Brabant
Image: Wikipedia
The excellent blog Cross of Laeken is a valuable and positive commentary on the Belgian monarchy and its history.

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