Kingship a poisoned chalice for King Filip? Author: Colin Clapson

VRT
Mon 22/07/2013 - 11:30 Colin Clapson King Filip's accession to the throne of the Belgians did not pass unnoticed abroad. The passing on of the baton at the royal house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha has triggered a number of noteworthy comments in the foreign dailies.

The London Telegraph believes that King Albert's abdication is a poisoned gift for King Filip, especially with the 2014 elections only around the corner. The London Guardian and Italy's La Repubblica noted the stay-aways. At King Filip's swearing-in ceremony there was only a limited delegation of Flemish nationalist lawmakers, while the far right Vlaams Belang boycotted the ceremony.

France's Le Monde wonders whether King Filip will be able to safeguard the future of a country whose unity is so fragile.

Spain's El Pais rakes up recent scandal at Laken dwelling on Dowager Queen Fabiola's foundation set up to spare her heirs having to pay Belgian inheritance tax and the court action by King Albert's love child by which she is trying to get official recognition. El Pais says that King Filip faces a challenge to show that he is up to the job and will be able to tackle political crises as happened in 2010 and 2011.

Sill in Spain El Mundo labels King Filip "one of the most controversial monarchs" in Belgium's admittedly short history, but also points to the cheap festivities in Belgium, which only cost 600,000 euros compared to 11 million euros in the Netherlands, when Queen Beatrix abdicated.

BBC’s website, finally, pictures the balcony scene at the Royal Palace of Brussels among the visual highlights of the abdication and the coronation. We are still to see a crown.