There was an explosive start to King’s Day in Belgium. Violence erupted as a group of Flemish extremists tried to prevent members of the Royal Family from entering Brussels Cathedral. Shouting for Belgium to be separated, their presence was only a small indication of the tense political atmosphere following the failure of Belgium’s Dutch and French speaking parties to form a ruling coalition since June’s election.
But inside the cathedral, several politicians put their differences aside to take part in the ceremony which the king himself does not attend, by way of tradition. For the past week, King Albert has been directly involved in negotiations between the main parties trying to form a government.