Monday, 24 December 2018

King Philippe of Belgium's Christmas Eve Speech (2018) - English Translation

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Christmas and New Year holidays are the perfect occasion to step back, to stop our race in the pursuit of time. To look where we are in life. But also to remember that life is a path that we do not follow alone, but with fellow travelers, who, like us, need companionship, someone to listen, and give advice.

For most of us, the Christmas holidays are a time to come together and share. Moments in which we take time for each other. For those who endure severe trials, are lonely or who have lost a dear one, the loving presence of another is invaluable.

Let us especially remember the most fragile in our society during the holidays. And also remember those who surround them, with their care and attention to ensure that they can live dignified.

With those who have children, the Queen and I share the desire to live with them in the moment, in the true and real presence of each other. We know how important these moments are, but also how easily you miss them. These are the moments when we can experience our children as they are and rejoice in rediscovering them.

Moments in which our children can understand that we, their parents, and everyone else who cares for their upbringing are equally vulnerable. That we do not retreat from our problems or flee from them, but try to overcome them - and draw from our inner strength. With this inner strength, we can really open ourselves up to the others and assume our responsibility.

Our country is going through a turbulent period [refering to the recent political drama in Belgium]. Our fellow citizens are rightly concerned about important issues. We are currently experiencing serious political tensions. I trust in the sense of responsibility of our decision-makers that they act in the interest of the country and its people.

Inequality, poverty, intolerance, and climate change are questions that require comprehensive answers. These crucial problems of our society require from us all listening, openness, courage and initiative.

Democracy requires listening and dialogue. In the run-up to the federal, regional and European elections, let us have open and honest debates, respecting each other. Because the moment of the vote must be the result of careful reflection.

"Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the Earth," said Archimedes [200s BC mathematician]. To fully inhabit our time, to cultivate an inner strength that opens us to others, these are the places to stand and levers that can move the Earth.

The Queen and I, and all our family, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Back to Christmas & New Year Addresses 2018

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