Princess Claire of Belgium, (born Claire Louise Coombs, in Bath, England, on 18 January 1974) is the wife of Prince Laurent of Belgium and is a land surveyor.
She is a daughter of Nicholas Coombs, a British-born businessman, and his Belgian wife, Nicole, née Mertens. Her family relocated to Dion-le-Val, near to Brussels in francophone Wallonia in 1977. She has therefore lived in Belgium since age 3.
Wedding and descendance
On 12 April 2003, she married Prince Laurent of Belgium, the second son of Albert II of Belgium. The civil ceremony was held at Brussels Town Hall, and the religious ceremony at the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula. The wedding gown was an Edouard Vermeulen design. The bride was created a Princess of Belgium in her own right shortly before the ceremony, on 1 April 2003 and upon her marriage, she became Her Royal Highness Princess Claire.
The royal couple has a daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Louise Sophie Mary, who was born on 6 February 2004. On 28 June 2005, they announced that Princess Claire was pregnant with twins. She was expected to give birth in January 2006 but, following complications, she gave birth to Prince Nicolas Casimir Marie and Prince Aymeric Auguste Marie on 13 December 2005.
As a member of the royal family, Princess Claire has been awarded the Order of Leopold. She takes part in public events such as the celebrations for Belgium's National Day, and royal family events such as weddings and christenings.
Unlike her two sisters-in-law, Mathilde and Astrid, Claire has no defined official role.
She occasionally appears in public accompanying her husband, generally in support of environmental causes or animal charities. She is also a leading patron of the Brussels Choral Society, which sang at the religious part of her marriage ceremony.
Titles and styles
- Miss Claire Louise Coombs (1974–2003)
- Her Royal Highness Princess Claire of Belgium (2003–present)
Claire Coombs received the title Princess of Belgium from the King ten days before her marriage, by Royal Decree of April 1, 2003 (effective as of the date of the wedding, on 12 April 2003). This title is no longer automatic for a consort since a Royal Decree of 1991, abrogating the 1891 Royal Decree that accorded the wife of a Prince of Belgium the feminine version of that title upon approved marriage.
Since Prince Laurent does not hold a personal title such as Count of Flanders or Prince of Liège, as Belgium's cadet princes were formerly granted, so she has no other title as his consort.
See also : List of state visits & List of honours of the Belgian Royal Family by country
- ^ As a titled royal, Claire no longer holds a surname although the media commonly refers to her as Claire Coombs.