Royal families — what fun would they be without a few black sheep? Prince Laurent plays the part in Belgium’s monarchy. As the youngest child of the former King Albert II, he’s never had much interest or respect for typical royale protocol. Combined with his affinity for environmental causes and animal welfare, it’s led to some in the country calling him the écolo-gaffeu (aka the “eco-blunderer”). He also has a habit of publicly shading other members of his family, and is reportedly barely on speaking terms with the rest of the royals.
For the most part, however, he’s viewed as an eccentric figure. For example, he once lost his license for speeding, and his wife complained that maybe there ought to be “a special license for those driving a fast car,” according to The Guardian. It’s relatively harmless, all things considered. Well, except for his occasional habit of visiting controversial world leaders without informing anyone else. He has tried to go into business with Muammar Gaddafi’s son, once visited Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, and has committed other rogue acts of diplomacy. In his most recent escapade, he showed up at the Chinese embassy in full naval regalia to 90th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Army.
Well, the Belgian Prime Minister had had enough, and moved to cut the Prince’s royal income (or “dotation” in fancy terms) of $370,000 by 10 to 15 percent. The Prince’s lawyer responded by comparing the fines to human rights violations because he had no right to defend himself. He also claimed that restricting him from meeting controversial foreign leaders would amount to forced “social isolation,” because apparently getting new friends is out of the question (in his defense, Belgians don’t tend to like their royal family as much as other European countries).
Indeed, the Prince’s lawyer, Laurent Arnauts, sent an outraged seven-page letter to the Prime Minister.
“It goes without saying that the court of human rights would make short work of such violations of the right to a fair trial,” he writes, before going on to claim that the penalty also goes “against the most fundamental human rights in a developed society”.
The lawyer also argues that it would be near unthinkable for the Prince to actually have a job of his own.
“In this traditional view, a prince was not allowed to work (it would testify to ‘a desire for money’, a reproach that some people dare to repeat today, which is the world upside down!).”
Apparently, trying to go into business with a Gaddafi son isn’t considered a job. For the record, the Belgian Government made changes to the law about 10 years ago that would encourage members of the royal family not directly in line for the throne to get a real job.
The lawyer argues that the“deprive him and his family of all livelihoods” and that it could affect his “image and, dare I add, his health.” Though, he does offer up a bit of a concession. The Prince would, in the future, offer up 10 days notice about any future meetings with foreign officials.
The kicker to all of this is that the Prince’s visit to the embassy likely would have gone unnoticed in the first place except for the fact that he tweeted a picture of himself at the event. The Prince was also supposed to meet with the Prime Minister over the situation, but instead sent a note explaining that he was sick.
Perhaps we have a solution that could work out for everyone: the Prince should just accept an endorsement deal from a waffle company.
The Definitive Guide to the Most Fashionable Royal Kids, Beyond Princes Louis and George and Princess Charlotte
Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella of Monaco, now 2-year-olds, are the children of Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene. Although Princess Gabriella is the older twin, her brother, Prince Jacques, is the heir apparent. The twins are pictured here with their parents during the annual Christmas gifts distribution at Monaco Palace last December.
Thirteen-year-old Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, is the heir apparent to the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ throne. She and her younger sisters, Princess Alexia, age 12, and Princess Ariane, age 10, are the daughters of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The sisters are pictured here at Kagerplassen in Warmond, Netherlands.
Countess Luana and Countess Zaria of Orange-Nassau with their mother, Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau. The young countesses are the daughter of the late Prince Frisco of Orange-Nassau, a younger brother of King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands.
Leonor, Princess of Asturias, is 11 years old and the heir apparent to the Spanish throne. She and her younger sister, 10-year-old Infanta Sofía, are the daughters of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. Here, the sisters attend Princess Sofía’s first communion.
HRH The Crown Prince of Morocco is 13 years old, and he is the oldest son of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and his wife, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco. Here the young prince welcomes former French president Francois Hollande to Morocco, a former French colony, in 2013.
Fifteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth is the heir apparent to the Belgian throne and is the eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde. The young royal became next in line in succession only after her grandfather, King Albert II, abdicated his throne for health reasons in 2013.
Prince Hisahito of Japan, a 10-year-old prince, is a dapper young man and often seen wearing a suit. He is the youngest child and only son of Fumihito, Prince Akishino and Kiko, Princess Akishino. The young royal is third in line to become Emperor, behind his uncle and father. Here, the young prince visits Nagasaki with his family in December of last year.
Prince Hisahito’s eldest sister, Princess Mako, recently announced her engagement to a commoner, which will result in the young princess losing her royal status. Pre-1947, the decree that forbids women in the royal family to inherit the throne—or even remain a royal—if they marry a commoner did not exist.
Princess Estelle of Sweden, now 5 years old, is the elder child and only daughter of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband, Prince Daniel. She is the second in line of succession to the Swedish throne. Here she is attending the 40th birthday of her mother at Solliden Palace in Borgholm, Sweden.
One-and-a-half-year-old Prince Oscar, Duke of Skåne, is the youngest child and only son of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband, Prince Daniel. He is the third in line of succession, after his mother and sister, to the Swedish throne. Here he is attending the 40th birthday of his mother at Solliden Palace in Borgholm, Sweden.
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden welcomed Prince Gabriel into the world just this last August. The baby prince is sixth in line to the Swedish throne, after his older brother, Prince Carl Philip.
Prince Carl Philip of Sweden carries his 18-month-old son, Prince Alexander, to the royal palace in Stockholm as they prepared for Crown Princess Victoria’s birthday festivities this past July.
Prince Christian of Denmark is the eldest child of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary. He is the grandson of Queen Margrethe II and the second in line to the Danish throne, after his father. Here the young prince attends an equestrian event in July in Denmark.
Ten-year-old Princess Isabella is the eldest child of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary. She is the granddaughter of Queen Margrethe II and third in line to the Danish throne, after her father and brother. Here the young princess attends her grandmother’s 77th birthday celebration in Denmark with her mother.
Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine of Denmark are 6-year-old twins. Prince Vincent is the elder of the two, and he is fourth in line to the Danish throne; Princess Josephine is sixth. The twins are pictured last summer at the Grasten Castle in Denmark.
Prince Nikolai of Denmark, Count of Monpezat, climbs aboard the royal ship Dannebrog for his 18th-birthday celebrations in Copenhagen. He is the first son of Prince Joachim of Denmark and his ex-wife, the Countess of Frederiksborg. Here he is being tailed by step-sister Princess Athena.
Prince Philip of Serbia and his wife, Danica Marinkovic, debuted their new son in early March. Prince Stefan is held close by his mother in the Royal Palace of Belgrade, Serbia. Crown Prince of Serbia, Alexander Karadjordjevic, announced the news of his grandson’s birth on social media on February 28.
Crown Prince of Haakon of Norway and the Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway attend the Nordic World Ski Championshop with their two children, heir apparent Prinvess Ingrid Alexander, age 13, and Prince Sverre Magnus, age 11.
Thailand’s Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, pictured center, is the son of Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkunis, better known as King Rama X, and his third wife, Princess Srirasmi Suwadee. The young heir to the throne is now 12 years old.
Princess Amalia of Luxembourg is now 3 years old, but here she is the day her parents, Prince Felix of Luxembourg and Princess Claire of Luxembourg, left the hospital and presented her to the world. She is third in line of succession for the crown of Luxembourg and has a younger brother, Prince Liam, born in 2016.
Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her husband welcomed their third baby, Princess Adrienne Josephine Alice, Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Blekinge, in March. The royal mom Instagrammed this candid shot of Princess Leonore and Prince Nicolas cuddling with their new baby sister, in Stockholm.
The 4-year-old prince is the eldest child of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. He is third in line for the British throne, behind his father and then grandfather, Charles, Prince of Wales. Here he departs the Berlin military office in 2017 after an official tour of Poland and Germany.
The 2-year-old princess is the younger child and only daughter of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She is fourth in line for the British throne, behind her brother, Prince George; her father; and her grandfather, Charles, Prince of Wales. Here she departs the Berlin military office in 2017 after an official tour of Poland and Germany.
Meet Prince Louis Arthur Charles, the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The newborn prince is currently fifth in line for the throne, after his grandfather, Prince Charles; his father; and both his older siblings. Here he is pictured outside the famed Lindo Wing, on his way home for the first time.