The Trouble with Prince Laurent, Part Deux

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According to several Belgian press reports, the recently retired King Albert ll and Queen Paola, seen here seated on the left of this photo taken at Sunday’s canonization of Popes John XXlll and John Paul ll, attended this Vatican ceremony with far more enthusiasm than they demonstrated when they rushed to the bedside of their recently hospitalized son, Prince Laurent. In fact, they didn’t rush to his bedside at all. Upon hearing that their youngest child had been placed in a medically induced coma, it took them more than a week before they finally decided to end their Italian vacation and return to Brussels to offer moral support to their unconscious son. Once there, Queen Paola made matters worse by authorizing a press statement that strongly suggested that Laurent was recovering from a suicide attempt, thus corroborating initial press speculation and calling into further question the Royal Palace’s official press release stating that the Prince was fighting a near fatal bout of pneumonia. Laurent has since awoken, and last Sunday attended an Easter service in Bonerz with his wife, Princess Claire. His wife’s parents reside there, so the presumption is that he was visiting his in-laws. One hopes they’re more attentive to His Royal Highness’ needs than his parents appear to be.

Prince Laurent, who appeared visibly frail during the church service, which was his first public appearance since being released from the hospital, told a reporter for the Sudpresse news agency afterward that his wife’s support was the only reason why he was able to attend the mass, and that his recovery will be very slow. When the journalist addressed the criticism his parents have received for not rushing to his bedside, he gave a very simple and direct reply: he didn’t need them! His specific answer was that as a fifty year old man, it wasn’t necessary for his parents to be near him while he was fighting for his life. Furthermore, his evasive response to the reporter’s question concerning his rumored recent suicide attempt was that he wasn’t aware that there were press reports that he’d been in a coma. When asked about the state of his mental health, Prince Laurent reiterated that his recovery would be a slow one.

In the photo above, King Albert ll appears to be lending an encouraging hand of support to Spain’s beleaguered monarch, Juan Carlos l. Perhaps His Majesty should make more of a visible effort to do the same for his younger son. Regardless of whether or not Prince Laurent is his biological child, and the author stands by his contention that the Prince probably is, the last thing that the Belgian royal family needs right now is another press scandal regarding how obviously f****d up they currently are. The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is making it increasingly hard through its actions for the Belgian government and people to justify its continued, constitutional existence.