When is the Royal Holiday/ Fête du Roi?
Belgium has celebrated the Royal Holiday (Fête du Roi) ever since November 15th, 1866, when Leopold II decreed it a special day. Nowadays the Royal Holiday is not a bank holiday but most government offices are closed on the day.
It’s the name day of Leopold (in the Germanic calendar) and Albert (in the general calendar).
It is also known as ‘Dynasty Day’ or the ‘Feast of the Dynasty’. The name Feast of the Dynasty (Fête de la Dynastie) was used during the regency of Prince Charles. This name was erroneous, however, as noted in a letter from the Minister of the Interior in 1953.
The holiday was celebrated for the first time in honor of King Leopold I (1790-186), who was the first monarch of Belgium.
King Leopold I was named after St. Leopold, whose name day is celebrated on this day in the German liturgical calendar.
Since 2001, the Belgian Federal Parliament holds a ceremony in honor of the King, in the presence of members of the Belgian Royal Family and other dignitaries. It is recognized as the official birthday of the King.
In Belgium the King and the Queen do not actually attend the King’s Feast, as the custom is that they should not be seen to celebrate themselves. Other members of the royal family will attend instead.