Heraldry in Belgium
Coat of Arms of Belgium
The Constitution of 1994 provides (
"The Belgian Nation adopts red, yellow, and black colors, while the
Coat of Arms* depicts the Lion of Belgium with the Motto: Union Makes Strength."
This picture comes from
which has more information on Belgium.
Arms of the Regions and Provinces
Monarchy in Belgium
The current king of Belgium is Albert II (born 6-6-1934), brother
of the late king Baudoin I and formerly prince of Liége.
His wife is Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, daughter of the prince Fulco Ruffo
di Calabria, duke of Guardia Lombarda, count of Sinopoli. Their
children are Philippe (b. 1960), duke of Brabant, Astrid (born 1962,
married to archduke Lorenz of Habsburg-Lorraine), and Laurent (born 1963).
Belgian constitution ratified in 1994 provides:
Article 85 [Dynasty]
(1) The King's constitutional powers are hereditary through
the direct, natural, and legitimate descent from H.M. Leopold,
Georges, Chretien, Frederic of Saxe-Coburg, by order of
(2) The successor described in Paragraph (1) shall be deprived
of his rights to the crown, if he marries without the King's
consent or, in the absence thereof, without the consent of
those exercising the King's powers in cases provided for by the
(3) His lost right may nonetheless be re-established by the
King, or, in the absence thereof, by those exercising the King's
powers in cases provided for by the Constitution, in the event
of agreement on the part of both Houses.
Article 86 [Succession]
(1) For lack of a descendant to H. M. Leopold, Georges,
Chretien, Frederic of Saxe-Coburg, the King may name his
successor, with the approval of the Houses, in such a manner as
prescribed in Article 87.
(2) In the absence of a nomination undertaken in the
above-mentioned manner, the throne shall be vacant.
Note that, by virtue of article 199, the disposition of article
85 only became applicable with the descent of the present king.
Titles and Nobility
The eldest son of the sovereign is titled duke of Brabant, his eldest son
is titled count of Hainault.
Nobility in Belgium exists: article 114 of the Constitution provides that
"the King may confer titles of nobility, while remaining unable to attach
privileges to the latter". The only
nobility and titled nobility is that recognized or conferred by William I king
of the Low Countries (1815-30) or a king of the Belgians (since 1831). From
1814 to 1994 1631 families have been declared noble:
- 761 nobility from before 1795 (when French laws abolishing nobility came
into effect), 403 remain
- 11 nobility under Napoleon (1808-14), 6 remain
- 37 nobility granted by William I (1814-30), 14 remain
- 758 between 1831 and 1994, 647 remain.
As of 1986, about 1000 families remained, with 9 princes, 5 dukes, 10 marquis,
85 counts, 35 viscounts, 317 barons, 113 knights. The non-titled nobility
use the title of jonkheer (jonkvrouw) or squire.
The princely and ducal families are:
- Arenberg: prince of HGE (Holy German Empire) 1576, recognized in Belgium in 1953
- Bernadotte: prince in Belgium in 1938
- Béthune-Hesdigneul: prince 1781, recognized 1888, extinct 1976
- Croÿ: prince of HGE 1742
- Habsburg-Lorraine: recognized in Belgium 1978
- Ligne: prince of HGE 1601
- Lobkowicz: prince of HGE recognized 1958
- Looz-Corswarem: prince 1825
- Mérode: prince of Rubempré and Everberg recognized 1823,
made prince of Grimberghe 1842, prince of Mérode 1930
- Riquet de Caraman-Chimay: prince de Chimay 1824
- Arenberg: eldest son of prince, duke 1612 recognized 1993
- Beaufort-Spontin: duke 1782
- Looz-Corswarem: eldest son of prince, duke 1734
- Ursel: duke 1716, recognized 1884
The crowns and coronets, very similar to the Dutch system, are roughly as follows:
- royal crown: closed crown with 8 acanthus leaves (5 visible) and 8 round
arches, topped with an orb
- princely crown: open crown with 8 palmettos (5 visible), cap and tassel
- ducal coronet: 4 leaves alternating with 4 pearls (3 and 2 visible),
cap and tassel
- marquis' coronet: 8 leaves (5 visible)
- count's coronet: 16 pearls (9 visible) raised on rays
- viscount's coronet: 4 groups of 3 clustered pealrs (3 visible) on rays
- baron's coronet: 12 pearls (7 visible) raised on rays
- knight's coronet: 8 pearls (5 visible) raised on rays, tortil of pearls
- jonkheer's coronet: 4 leaves alternating with 4 pearls (3 and 2 visible)
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Last modified: Mar 09, 2013