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King Philippe begins his royal rule after Sunday's swearing in celebrations

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King Philippe begins his royal rule after Sunday's swearing in celebrations

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Belgium’s new monarch King Philippe and his wife Queen Mathilde saluted the crowds from the palace balcony at the end of an emotional day.

Earlier the 53-year-old had been sworn in, taking over from his father King Albert II who decided to abdicate in his favour due to ill health..

Celebrations ended with a spectacular firework display as the old King looked on with his family.

Philippe became the country’s seventh King after taking his oath in Belgium’s three official languages – Dutch, French and German.

It was greeted with warm applause. Belgium has a constitutional monarchy in which the king plays a largely ceremonial role.

In a country split with tensions between the Dutch-speaking north and the French south, most appeared to overcome their differences for at least for one special day.