Princess Claire of Belgium

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Princess Claire
BornClaire Louise Coombs
(1974-01-18) 18 January 1974 (age 45)
Bath, Somerset, England
FatherNicholas John Coombs
MotherNicole Mertens

Princess Claire of Belgium (born Claire Coombs on 18 January 1974) is a British-Belgian[1] land surveyor. She has been married to Prince Laurent since 2003 and is the sister-in-law of Philippe, King of Belgium.


She is the daughter of Nicholas John Coombs (Bath, 14 April 1938), a British-born businessman, and his Belgian wife (Uccle, 9 April 1971), Nicole Eva Gabrielle Thérèse, née Mertens (Ixelles, 20 June 1951). She has an older sister, Joanna, and a younger brother, Matthew. Her family relocated to Dion-le-Val, near to Brussels in francophone Wallonia in 1977. She has therefore lived in Belgium since age 3.[2]

Marriage & children[edit]

On 12 April 2003, she married Prince Laurent of Belgium, the second son and youngest child of the then Albert II of Belgium and his wife Queen Paola of Belgium. The civil ceremony was held at Brussels Town Hall, and the religious ceremony at the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula.

The couple have three children:

Public life[edit]

Unlike her two sisters-in-law, Queen Mathilde and Princess Astrid, Princess 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. She is also active in organisations related to the United Kingdom in Belgium. She is a member of the Board of Trustees at the British School of Brussels and actively attends charitable and commemorative events hosted by the British Ambassador to Belgium.[citation needed]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 18 January 1974 – 12 April 2003: Miss Claire Louise Coombs
  • 12 April 2003 – present: Her Royal Highness Princess Claire of Belgium
Styles of
Princess Claire of Belgium
State Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg
Reference styleHer Royal Highness
Spoken styleYour Royal Highness
Alternative styleMadame

Claire Coombs received the title Princess of Belgium from the King ten days before her marriage, by Royal Decree of 1 April 2003 (effective as of the date of the wedding, on 12 April 2003).[3][4]

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.


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


  1. ^ Vaute, Paul (19 December 2002). "Claire, future princesse very British". La Libre (in French). Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Kwartierstaat van Claire Louise COOMBS".
  3. ^ royal decree of 1 April 2003. Moniteur Belge, 8 April 2003, p.17620
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ royal decree of 14 July 2004. N.74, Moniteur Belge, 27 February 2009 second edition, p.17188 .
  6. ^ "Photo".
  7. ^ "Photo".
  8. ^ "Norwegian State Visit To Belgium".
  9. ^ "Tildelinger av ordener og medaljer".
  10. ^ "Photo".
  11. ^ "Photo".

External links[edit]