Earlier this week King Albert II announced he is to step down from his position as the King of Belgium, abdicating in favour of his son Crown Prince Philippe.
Prince Philippe has now paid tribute to his father’s 20 year reign and expressed his commitment to his future role.
“I would like to pay tribute to the king’s reign over the last 20 years,” Prince Philippe said speaking for the first time since the announcement. “I’m aware of the responsibilities that weigh on my shoulders.”
“I will continue to invest my time in this role with all my heart”, the future king added.
On Wednesday, King Albert addressed the nation announcing he would be abdicating later this month.
“I realise that my age and my health are no longer allowing me to carry out my duties as I would like to,” Albert said in his televised speech. “Philippe is well prepared to succeed me.”
The Belgian Royal Family experience high approval ratings in the country, and son Prince Philippe and wife Princess Mathilde are hugely popular. It is expected the country will welcome the couple to become their next King and Queen.
The couple have four children, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eleonore.
King Albert’s abdication comes three months after Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands stood down in favour of her son Willem-Alexander.