Bel­gian prince at­tacks ‘Stasi’ roy­als for sab­o­tag­ing ca­reer

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE -

Prince Lau­rent, brother to Bel­gium’s King Philippe, at­tacked the royal fam­ily and their en­tourage Thurs­day, say­ing they were like the Stasi se­cret po­lice and had sab­o­taged his ca­reer for years.

“My fam­ily has never sup­ported me,” Lau­rent told RTBF public tele­vi­sion, com­plain­ing bit­terly that he had been hard done by de­spite the rich ex­ter­nal trap­pings of roy­alty.

“It started with my un­cle King Bau­douin. Then with my fa­ther Al­bert II. With them it was like the Stasi,” he said, re­fer­ring to the dreaded se­cret po­lice of Com­mu­nist East Ger­many.

“To­day, I have the im­pres­sion it con­tin­ues with my brother, King Philippe. Their mis­take (was) to have taken on an en­tourage which wished me harm and wanted to pre­vent me work­ing.”

The royal fam­ily has been a key uni­fy­ing fac­tor since Bel­gium gained in­de­pen­dence in 1830, help­ing hold to­gether its sharply di­vided French- and Dutch-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties, but it has not al­ways been popular.

The palace said Lau­rent had “some­what hurt his fa­ther, King Al­bert II, his un­cle King Bau­douin and his brother King Philippe,” in a state­ment re­leased Thurs­day evening by the Belga news agency.

“King Philippe nev­er­the­less wants to con­tinue with their joint ef­forts. Their projects are un­changed,” the state­ment added.

Lau­rent, 51, has a rep­u­ta­tion as the black sheep of the Bel­gian royal fam­ily af­ter run-ins with the law for speed­ing and his out­spo­ken­ness.

He now stands 11th in the line of suc­ces­sion to the throne af­ter Bel­gium changed the law in 1991 to end pri­mo­gen­i­ture.

Mar­ried with three chil­dren of his own, Lau­rent has tried to build a ca­reer in en­vi­ron­men­tal and an­i­mal pro­tec­tion but his choice of part­ners has turned out badly.

Ven­tures with a son of Libyan dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi with­out gov­ern­ment ap­proval raised more than eye­brows, lead­ing to a cut in his royal grant and a tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion of of­fi­cial du­ties in 2011.

A foun­da­tion Lau­rent set up to pro­mote sus­tain­able devel­op­ment 10 years ago is now in fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty.

Lau­rent told the Li­bre Bel­gique daily Thurs­day that his fam­ily con­tin­ued to “put a spoke in his wheels” af­ter sab­o­tag­ing his work for years.

“All my life, I have been blocked ... It is re­ally com­pli­cated to work in such a sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

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