On the evening of December 24, 2016, the Belgian royal court released His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium’s Christmas and New Year speech.
The pre-recorded message was filmed at Château de Laeken near Brussels, Belgium earlier this month.
Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s speech:
“Ladies and gentlemen,
For many of us the Christmas and New Year celebrations are a time of happiness. The illuminated streets and squares create a festive atmosphere. In the hearths reigns the joy of being together, of being together. Unfortunately this is not for everyone. For many, these are difficult days. I am thinking of those who are alone, those who are sick, those who bear heavy burdens. I think of all those who lost a loved one. And this year in particular to the victims of the attacks in Brussels and Zaventem, and to their relatives.
The events of the past year, in Belgium, Europe and elsewhere in the world, cast doubt on the future. Many people are worried about their jobs, their income, their safety. Too many young people think their lives and those of their children will be worse than their parents. Too many elderly people are wondering if they will still be able to keep up with current developments. This sense of uncertainty, disarray, even anger, can also lead to a loss of confidence in institutions.
And yet I want to send you today a message of hope. Throughout the country, the Queen and I are impressed by remarkable projects in which citizens are involved and who motivate others to become involved.
I see men and women who dare to interact with sincerity and truth. I felt this on my recent visit to a home that provides a family environment for adults with mental disabilities. To meet without prejudice and tenderness, to recognize the frailties of the other at the same time as his own. I was shattered by the energy that it releases in itself. Sweetness is a force.
I also see many examples of solidarity and generosity. In holiday camps that give their smile to children who are victims of mistreatment and harassment. In families hosting excluded people. In projects that bring together people of different generations and origins. Many do not hesitate to sacrifice their comfort to get closer to the other.
I see finally many young and old who have understood that to succeed, one must have the courage to start over. They refuse to remain on the margins of society. They do not resign themselves. They understand that to succeed is also to want the success of the other and to accept his help. I think of those who grasp with outstretched hands to learn, to resume their studies, to find a job. I am thinking of those retirees who are embarking on new meaningful projects. And the older ones who accept to be helped without seeing a loss of dignity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
All these examples express the will to build a society where one sustains one another in the ordeal and where one helps each other to succeed. They show that a more cordial society is within our reach. They deserve greater visibility. I am convinced that they can also create a dynamic that enriches the action of our institutions and builds confidence in the foundations of our democracy. This is what I sincerely hope for our country and for Europe on the eve of 2017.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Queen and I and all our family wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”