The King’s holiday

In two days Brussels will be celebrating, once again, its cultural and historical heritage with a public celebration, the Fete du Roi (The King’s Holiday).

When King Leopold II was ruling the country, at the end of the 19th century, he created and celebrated the holiday on the 26th of November. The date changed when King Albert I took over, in the 20th century: his mother’s death occurred in the same day, pushing the king to move the holiday and the celebrations to a different date. He chose the 15th of November, Saint Albert’s day.

During the Second World War the holiday was named “Holiday of the Dynasty”, but the date got back to his original name in 1951, with King Baudouin, who stressed the importance of the day: it was not just a date devoted to the king, but also to the royal family and to the thousands of people who fought for Belgium.

Since the 1950’s, the holiday is celebrated with a Te Deum at the Saint Michel et Goudule Cathedral, at the presence of the royal family (although not of the ruling couple); with a celebration at the Palais National and with a military parade.