Princess Elisabeth of Belgium has traded her dresses and everyday wear for military fatigues. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde ’s oldest child, who is first in line to the Belgian throne, started military initiation training on Sept. 2 at Elsenborn military camp in Butgenbach, Belgium. The objective of the military initiation phase is to effect a gradual transition from civilian to military life. It is also an important part of the Princess’ first year of education at the Royal Military Academy.
During the training, Elisabeth and her fellow classmates are taught basic military skills, as well as the values of defense, respect, courage, discipline and sense of honor. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s military initiation phase was shortened from six to four weeks. The phase will end on Sept. 25 with a blue berets ceremony. Students who pass the training will receive their blue beret in front of their family members.
Photos released by the Belgian Royal Palace show the 18-year-old future Queen sporting her camo uniform while partaking in drills, physical training and firing a military weapon. A press release noted that the training is a period during which “one is confronted with fatigue, stress and lack,” but it is also a time to make “lifelong friends” and to get to know oneself and surpass yourself. “Each soldier looks back on his military initiation phase with nostalgia and a good feeling,” according to a press release.
Elisabeth began her studies at the university of the Belgian Defense in Brussels on Aug. 31. The Princess is following in the footsteps of her father, who studied at the academy in the 118th promotion Toutes Armes from 1978 to 1981. The royal teenager is studying in the 160th promotion Social and Military Sciences (SSMW).
Lors des entrainements physiques, l’esprit d’équipe et l’importance du leadership sont mis en valeur notamment via une...Posted by Belgische Monarchie Monarchie belge Belgian Monarchy on Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Back in 2018, King Philippe, 60, reflected on his time at the academy. Speaking at the US’s West Point Military Academy, he said, “Seeing you all gathered here today brings back great memories of my time at the Royal Military Academy of Belgium. And of the pride I felt when I completed my fighter pilot and paratrooper training, nearly forty years ago. Just before studying for two years in the United States. So I know what you sometimes have to endure - and also how it makes you grow.”