Prince Laurent's visit to Congo last month caused quite a political stir in Belgium – far more so than in Congo. He was criticized for promoting his personal activities under official cover. His brief meeting with President Kabila who paid for his mission, after the Royal Palace and the Government explicitly asked him not to undertake the trip, sparked new debate about the future of the monarchy.
His father, King Albert II attended the high-profile 50-year independence ceremonies in Kinshasa and was criticized for lending credibility to Kabila and thus supporting his electoral ambitions in the upcoming presidential elections.
|Prince Laurent in Ibi village, DRC|
Recalcitrant at first, Laurent finally accepted to respect his royal responsibilities – for the sake of maintaining his stipend. Indeed, the Belgian taxpayer provides him with 26,000 Euros every month.
A summary of the debate is available at: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/benelux/110411/belgium-prince-laurent-congo
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