At birth he assumed the title Prince of Liège. One sister, Princess Josephine-Charlotte (b.1927, today Grand Duchess of Luxembourg) and one brother, King Baudouin of Belgium (1930-1993). At the age of one, he lost his mother in a car accident in Switzerland.
He acceded to the throne as the sixth King of Belgium on August 9 1993 following the death his brother.
Family: On July 2, 1959 Prince Albert married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria (Queen Paola) of an Italian family with royal connections. They have three children: Prince Philippe (b. April 15, 1960), Princess Astrid (b. June 5, 1962) and Prince Laurent (b. October 19, 1963).
On May 10, 1940 when Belgium was invaded, Prince Albert, his brother and his sister went first to France, then to Spain. The Princes returned to Belgium on August 2, 1940 and pursued their studies until 1944 at Laeken and at the Château royal de Ciergnon in the Ardennes.
In June 1944, when the allied invasion took place, the royal family was deported to Germany and then to Strobl in Austria where American forces liberated them on May 7, 1945.
King Leopold and his family left Austria in October of the same year to live in Switzerland and remained there until July 1950. Prince Albert meanwhile continued his studies in a college in Geneva.
The royal family returned to Belgium on July 22, 1950. King Leopold III then decided to abdicate in favour of Prince Baudouin who took the oath on July 17, 1951 and reigned until his death in 1993.
Official duties /special interests
Belgium has a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The King rules without governing and according to the Constitution, King has immunity such that his deeds cannot have any consequence without its being countersigned by a minister.
In the course of his daily audiences in the Palace, the King meets representatives of the political, economic, social, cultural and sporting life of the country. Each year, the King receives more than twenty Heads of State or representatives of international organisations.
Certain subjects are of special interest to the King such as the problems of unemployment and social exclusion, and education and social security in general. Also, he closely follows private and public projects which aim to find solutions to these problems.
Since 1962 he has been President of Honour of the Council of Administration of the Belgian Office of External Trade. In this capacity, he has presided over almost a hundred economic missions in the world and carried out a large number of visits to Belgian export companies.
In 1984 he took up the presidency of the General Board of the General Bank for Savings and Pensions (from 1954 onwards) and the presidency of the Belgian Red Cross (from 1958).
He Prince Albert has also led projects in the field of urban planning, housing, protection of the countryside, places of interest and monuments and in environmental management.
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the King holds the rank of Lieutenant General and Vice Admiral.
Relations: King Albert II and King Harald V are first cousins – Queen Astrid and Crown Princess Märtha were sisters. He is also second cousin (tremenning) to Queen Margrethe II and second cousin once removed (tremennings barn) to King Carl XVI Gustaf. He is third cousin (firmenning) to Queen Elisabeth II and he is Grand Duke Henri’s maternal uncle.