Princess Claire of Belgium

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Princess Claire
Born (1974-01-18) 18 January 1974 (age 42)
Bath, Somerset, England
Spouse Prince Laurent of Belgium (m. 2003)
Issue Princess Louise
Prince Nicolas
Prince Aymeric
Full name
Claire Louise[fn 1]
Father Nicholas John Coombs
Mother Nicole Mertens

Princess Claire of Belgium (born Claire Louise Coombs in Bath, England, on 18 January 1974) is a land surveyor married to Prince Laurent and the only sister-in-law of King Philippe of Belgium.

Biography[edit]

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). Her family relocated to Dion-le-Val, near to Brussels in francophone Wallonia in 1977. She has therefore lived in Belgium since age 3.[1]

Marriage and 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 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 couple have three children:

Royal role[edit]

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,[2] 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. The princess 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.

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 style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Madame

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). 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.

Honours[edit]

See also : List of state visits & List of honours of the Belgian Royal Family by country

Belgian honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ As a titled royal, Claire no longer holds a surname; although the media commonly refer to her as Claire Coombs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.jammart.be/coombs/coombs-frm3.htm
  2. ^ Huffington Post: Belgium National Day 2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/22/belgium-national-day-2012-royals-style_n_1692918.html
  3. ^ Photo from the Royal Family's official website – ribbon : Order of the Crown (Netherlands).svg
  4. ^ Photo from Website of Belga Pictures – ribbon : Den kongelige norske fortjenstorden storkors stripe.svg
  5. ^ Kongehuset
  6. ^ Photo from Website of Belga Pictures – ribbon : PRT Order of Prince Henry - Grand Cross BAR.png
  7. ^ Photo from the Royal Family's official website