On Wednesday, June 1, 2022, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium presided over the Francqui Prizes 2021 and 2022 held at the Palais des Academies in Brussels.
The recipient of the 2021 Francqui Prize, in the field of Exact Sciences, was awarded to Mr. Michaël Gillon, Astrophysicist and FNRS Senior Research Associate at the University of Liège, for his pioneering research in Exoplanetology and Astrobiology, which led in particular to the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanetary system.
The recipient of the 2022 Francqui Prize, in the field of Human Sciences, was awarded to Professor Veerle Rots, Archaeologist and Senior Research Fellow of the F.R.S.-FNRS at the University of Liège, for her pioneering research on prehistoric stone tools and the evolution of human behavior.
On the afternoon of May 18, 2022, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium attended the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Belgian Navy in the port of Antwerp.
The celebrations began with a fleet parade organized as part of the Fleet Days. Nine ships from the Belgian and Dutch navies sailed down the Scheldt River to highlight the excellent bilateral cooperation between the naval components of both countries. According to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, the Dutch and Belgian navies have been:
“…working together since 1948. In that year, the two countries agreed that their navies would operate under single command during times of war. This informal agreement was formalized on February 7, 1996, and is valid during both peacetime and war.”
On the morning of Wednesday, May 18, 2022, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium received Letters of Credence from newly appointed ambassadors to Belgium at the Palais Royal in Brussels.
The new ambassadors are: The Ambassador of Samoa, Her Excellency Ms. Francella Maureen Strickland, the Ambassador of Brazil, His Excellency Mr. João Mendes Pereira, the Ambassador of Argentina, His Excellency Mr. Juan Carlos Valle Raleigh.
On Monday, May 16, 2022, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium, and His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge traveled to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to convey their condolences to the new Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the State of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin al-Nahyan, passed away on May 13, 2022 at the age of 73.
Other monarchs and heads of state have also presented their condolences to the new Emir including His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II of Jordan, His Royal Highness Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein of Jordan, and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq bin Taimur Al Said of Oman to name a few.
Upon hearing the news of Sheikh Khalifa’s passing, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sent her condolences stating, “I am saddened to hear of the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin al-Nahyan… He will be long remembered by all who work for regional stability, understanding between nations and between faiths, and for the conservation cause…”
Immediately after the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin al-Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates government announced 40 days of mourning for the late ruler, who had been in power for 18 years, after succeeding his father in 2004.
On the morning of Monday, May 8, 2022, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium began their three-day state visit to Greece at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Greece, Her Excellency Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The purpose of the visit is to strengthen bilateral relations and investments, especially in the field of energy and renewable sources.
Upon their arrival at Athens International Airport, Their Majesties were warmly welcomed by a representative of the government of the Hellenic Republic. After the traditional inspection of the Guard of Honor, Their Majesties were welcomed by various Greek officials as well as members from the Belgian Embassy in Athens.
Soon, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier whereupon they placed a wreath and held a moment of silence.
In the afternoon, Their Majesties arrived at the Presidential Palace in Athens where they were warmly greeted by the President of the Hellenic Republic of Greece, Her Excellency Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and her partner, Mr. Pavols Kotsonis. After the national anthems were played, another inspection of the Guard of Honor, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were ushered into the Presidential Palace where they participated in the tradition of exchanging gifts.
Their Majesties also met with the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic of Greece, His Excellency Kyriakos Mitsotakis this afternoon. Discussions focused on regional and international developments along with immigration.
In the evening, there was a gala dinner hosted by President Sakellaropoulou in honor of Their Majesties visit to Greece.
On the morning of Tuesday, April 26, 2022, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium accompanied by the Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Mr. Frank Vandenbroucke, visited the headquarters of Sciensano, a research institute and the national public health institute of Belgium, in Ixelles.
According to the Sciensano official website, during today’s visit His Majesty was informed about the:
“…various scientific activities taking place within the company. Among other things, His Majesty took a detailed look at the One Health principle, which is the common starting point for all the institute’s scientific activities.
His Majesty was also particularly interested in the way in which Sciensano is constantly preparing to face different crisis situations in terms of public health and is at all times ready to assist the Belgian federal and regional authorities and the international authorities on the science so that they can manage a crisis. Some Sciensano scientists have illustrated it with the help of various subjects, such as the monitoring of Avian Flu in our country and the analysis of the risks associated with materials in contact with food sources.
His Majesty was also able to personally discover how Sciensano helps the authorities to control a crisis during a visit to our research laboratory for pathogens in food sources. He, therefore, carried out one of the experiments carried out by our scientists in order to detect Salmonellosis.”
On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 20, 2022, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium visited the City Pirates, in Antwerp, Belgium.
The City Pirates is a social football project that supports more than 1,400 young people in Antwerp. Football is the driving force behind social work, including home and school visits, homework supervision, guidance towards student work, workshops, music, and dance.