Belgian prince faces punishment after attending party to celebrate founding of China’s PLA

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2017, 10:27am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2017, 8:33pm

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is taking action that could cut Prince Laurent’s allowance after the tearaway younger brother of King Philippe met Chinese officials without official consent to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the PLA, government sources said Monday.

Prince Laurent, 53, was photographed wearing a military uniform last month while attending the anniversary event for the Chinese military at Beijing’s embassy in Brussels – a photo he himself tweeted. He was pictured cutting a cake with PLA officers, also in uniform, and others.

Michel, who met with the king earlier Monday, “announced he would launch a sanction procedure” against Prince Laurent which could lead to a reduction in his annual allowance of 308,000 euros (US$363,000), a government source said.

Royal family members are required to obtain consent from the Belgian government for any meetings with foreign dignitaries, something the source said the prince had not received.

“It is in cooperation with the king that Charles Michel took the decision to ask for a penalty,” the royal palace told the Belga news agency.

Sometimes referred to as the “Prince Maudit” – the Cursed Prince – Laurent is widely reported to suffer from depression.

Fined several times for speeding and chided for fraternising with African leaders without the government’s consent, Laurent has long been considered the “enfant terrible” of the Belgian royal family.

The prince made headlines in 2013 when he was hospitalised with internal injuries after falling while skiing in Austria.

But he is also seen as a likeable figure, if something of an oddball, as an animal-lover who recently confessed he wished he could “converse with an octopus or a fly.”