Belgium’s King Albert Abdicates

It’s not Britain’s royal baby, but Belgium’s abdication will have to satisfy any royal-watchers for now. King Albert II abdicated on Sunday, making his son Philippe the new king of the Belgians. Despite the ever-growing divide between Belgium’s Dutch-speaking Flemings and Francophones, Philippe insisted “the wealth of our nation and our institutions consist into turning our diversity into a strength.” As he signed away his rights to the kingdom, Albert warmly embraced his son. Albert announced his plans to abdicate just three weeks ago, giving the country little time to prepare other than the normal festivities on Belgium Day, July 21. It’s quite the time to get out: the country will hold elections in June 2014, which promise to be fractious as more groups have called for autonomy. Well, at least everyone agree on frites.