Dust-Up Over Belgium's Threat to Cut 'Wayward' Prince's Pay

Prince Laurent's endowment could be cut over an unauthorized event involving China
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2017 9:53 AM CST
Scolded Prince Says Belgium Is Violating His Human Rights
Belgian Prince Laurent shows thumbs up to his daughter after she gave a speech at the St-Gudule cathedral, during the funeral service for Queen Fabiola, in Brussels, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014.   (AP Photo/Yves Herman, Pool)

Belgium's Prince Laurent has barely been on speaking terms with his family, and that doesn't look likely to improve. The "wayward" younger brother of the country's King Philippe claims his human rights are being violated, and the Guardian reports the mess apparently relates to his purported penchant for making announced visits with foreign officials—in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, and Sri Lanka, previously—and a proposed punishment related to that. The recent issue dates to July, when Laurent attended the 90th anniversary of the Red Army at the Chinese embassy in Brussels in full naval dress, in defiance of a ban on him meeting with foreign dignitaries without the government's OK. The Telegraph reported the 53-year-old himself publicized his presence there by tweeting photos of the event to his roughly 5,000 followers.

Prime Minister Charles Michel set up a meeting with Laurent to discuss it, and the media reported Laurent's annual government endowment, which is currently about $375,000, could be slashed up to 15% as a penalty. Laurent was a no-show for the meeting, instead sending a 7-page letter that claimed the ban on such meetings was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights as it would cause forced "social isolation." The letter alleged that publicizing the potential punishment was illegal, and "that the court of human rights would make short work of such violations of the right to a fair trial." Cutting his endowment would "deprive him and his family of all livelihoods," he argued. His suggested resolution: That he be required to provide a 10-day heads-up of planned meetings with foreign officials. (Major drama is tearing at Romania's royal family.)

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