King Albert, Queen Paola, Crown Prince Filip and Princess Mathilde at a final lunch with the members of the federal government. The last government under King Albert II was only formed after a difficult process of almost endless negotiations lasting 18 months.
The various ministers gave the king a warm greeting, expressing their appreciation for his role as mediator. It took a year and a half to get the Di Rupo administration on the rails, a world record to form a coalition government. This was a big frustration for King Albert, who could hardly hide his disappointment during his 2011 nationwide 21 July address.
Several deputy Prime Ministers and ministers expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the crucial role that he played during the formation. Deputy PM Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) was responsible for the collapse of the previous government and called the final meeting “an historic moment.” “When we finally had a government, I could see that it was a big relief to him. I expect to see the same today”, he said.
Deputy PM Joëlle Milquet (Francophone Christian democrat) said that the lunch was “a good opportunity to be together in a more relaxed atmosphere than when the king announced his abdication.”
The king and queen received a bunch of flowers. The king, who is a passionate photographer, also received a new lens. Crown Prince Philippe and Mathilde were also invited. They will receive the government members themselves next Monday, after he accedes to the throne on 21 July.