Belgium representatives are high on the guest list for the Royal Wedding of Prince William of Wales and commoner Catherine Middleton tomorrow (April 29).
Members of some 28 royal families and dynasties, along with the Royal Family, friends and invited dignatories and politicians will be part of the 1,900 strong crowd who will gather in the Gothic glory of Westminster Abbey, close to the British Houses of Parliament and the famous clock tower of Big Ben.
Despite the marriage of Prince Albert II and South African sportswoman Charlene Wittstock in Monaco in July this wedding in London will be the highlight of the year for many of the attending royals with many of the European families sharing the same Saxe-Coburg-Gotha lineage. In fact the only family that is not directly related to the other European royals is the House of Grimaldi who will be celebrating the other big royal wedding this year.
By dint of protocol Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, and Princess Mathilde find themselves second on the royal invitation list which can be seen also as a family get together. The Belgian family line is descended from Queen Victoria’s uncle Leopold, Prince of Saxe-Coburg Gotha and later Leopold I of Belgium.
Relations between the British and Belgian relatives have at times been frosty, especially after King Badouin , uncle of Philippe, declined on a matter of protocol to attend the state funeral of King George V, the father of Queen Elizabeth II, who is also Prince William’s grandmother, but have improved more recently and the attendance of the Crown Prince and his consort will hopefully further improve feelings between the two royal families.