A book about the royal family is causing a stir in Belgium.
Media extracts suggest the book questions the succession and alleges that the marriage between Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde, who wed in 1999, is one of convenience.
But the author has defended his work, and hopes it will strengthen the royal family.
“There will be elections in 2014 and it will be a turning point and Belgium will need a strong monarchy,” said Frederic Deboursu, the journalist who penned the book. “It is an opportunity for the monarchy to get its house in order and prepare Philippe for the future. He needs to clear the air with his father.”
There is sympathy on the streets. “If you get rid of the Royal Family, then that’s the end of Belgium,” said one man. “I think they want to destroy the Royal Family to destroy Belgium.”
The rise of Flemish separatism is threatening Belgium’s unity. Traditionalists hope the monarchy will prove a unifying force for the small but troubled country.