At the milestone age of 20, Prince Gabriel of Belgium finds himself intertwined with history in his unassuming manner. In previous generations of the Belgian royal family, he would have naturally assumed the role of direct heir to the throne.
However, the adoption of absolute primogeniture in 1991 has shifted the dynamics, enabling female heirs like his elder sister Elisabeth to take precedence in the line of succession, with her one-year seniority. Yet, this shift in status hasn't diminished Prince Gabriel's strong sense of duty.
Presently enrolled at the Royal Military Academy of Belgium, he exemplifies a model student, displaying proficiency in three languages, an ardor for sports, and a commitment to charitable endeavors. His private life, however, remains discreetly tucked away from the limelight.
Born on August 20, 2003, in Anderlecht, as Gabriel Baudouin Charles Marie, he shares his lineage with two younger siblings: Prince Emmanuel, aged 17, and Princess Eléonore, aged 15. His christening unfolded in the splendid surroundings of Ciergnon Castle in Wallonia, the royal family's rural haven.
On this occasion, his uncle Count Charles-Henri d'Udekem d'Acoz and second cousin Baroness Maria Cristina von Freyberg-Eisenberg assumed the roles of godparents.
Shared Ancestry: Royal Family Connections
The interconnectedness of the Belgian and British royal families traces back to the era preceding Queen Victoria.
Both King Chares and King Philippe share a common forebear: Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. This ancestral link connects to Queen Victoria through Franz's role as her grandfather and the father of King Leopold I of the Belgians.
Remarkably, Leopold I was also Queen Victoria’s uncle, further intertwining their family history. Prince Gabriel's formative years encompassed studies at St John Berchmans College in Brussels and later the International School of Brussels.
His residence at the Royal Palace of Laeken in Brussels, the principal abode of the Belgian Royal Family, marked this period. Transitioning to his academic pursuits, in September 2021, he embarked on a preparatory A-level course encompassing mathematics, further mathematics, and physics at the National Mathematics and Science College in Warwickshire.
The following year, he made his entry into the Royal Military Academy of Belgium to delve into social and military sciences. Demonstrating his commitment to both his education and public duties, Prince Gabriel, alongside his sister Elisabeth, participated in Belgium's National Day parade.
Their attire, black uniforms adorned with red stripes and gold accents, resonated with their nation's colors. Despite his consistent presence at various public engagements, Prince Gabriel manages to safeguard his private life with utmost discretion.
Fluent in Dutch, French, and English, he stands out as an accomplished pianist and a versatile sportsman, engaged in pursuits ranging from hockey, sailing, skiing, cycling, to tennis. In a testament to his values, Prince Gabriel, like his sister, has foregone his annual government salary until he assumes full-time responsibilities within the Royal Family. Amidst the public eye, he embodies both tradition and modernity, a figure both historic and contemporary.