Palais Royal, Brussels
Sleeping and having lunch at the Palais Royal is one of the good souvenirs of my youth.
There are two King Palaces in Brussels. The Palais Royal de Bruxelles, in the centre, is the office of the King; the Palais Royal de Laeken (north of the centre) is the place where he lives surrounded by a very large park.
In the years that there was a military service in Belgium each battalion would send a company on guard for a fortnight to each of the King Palaces. Most conscripts liked it because it was an occasion to come back from Germany where the largest part of the Belgian army was located watching the "iron curtain".
In Brussels the officers of guard were career officers, in Laeken they were candidate reserve officers (COR). Nearly all soldiers were conscripts for who standing guard at the Kings Palace was considered as an honour. The drill was a bit complex but we did our best and never pretended to equal the British Guards at Buckingham Palace.
At Laeken the house of the guards from 19th c. was just right of the entrance under trees at a distance of 300 m from the castle.
The military guard was there only for the parade saluting the King when he would leave for the Palace of Brussels. The effective security was in hands of the Gendarmerie now Police Fédérale.
It was rather comfortable and the best night from all those I performed as officer of guard during my military service. Could sleep from 24 h till 6 h at Laeken! The funny thing was in the morning when we all would stand in our shorts in the guard's room, ironing our uniform after it had lost its crease by the humidity of the night.
It was the custom that the officer on guard from the battalion was invited for lunch at the Palace. I must say that this lunch with a countess and a colonel from the Maison du Roi was a deception for me because the food was on the light side for my big appetite and furthermore to be polite I had to talk to my guests not leaving me much time to eat.
The photo shows the "relève de la garde"; I'm the guy with black beret on the left.
Has this review any interest for the present tourist? NO, since several years there is no military guard anymore at the Palais de Laeken.
Le Palais Royal de Bruxelles est un des plus beaux bâtiments officiels de la capitale.
Situé en face du Palais de la Nation, à l'autre extrémité du Parc royal, le Palais Royal symbolise en quelque sorte notre régime, à savoir la monarchie constitutionnelle. Le Palais est donc l'endroit où le Roi exerce ses prérogatives de Chef d'Etat. C'est au Palais que le Roi accorde ses audiences et que les affaires de l'Etat sont traitées. Outre le bureau du Roi et celui de la Reine, le Palais Royal abrite les services du Grand Maréchal de la Cour, du Chef de Cabinet du Roi, du Chef de la Maison Militaire du Roi et de l'Intendant de la Liste Civile du Roi. Le Palais comporte aussi les Salons d'apparat où sont organisées les grandes réceptions, ainsi que les appartements mis à la disposition des chefs d'Etat en visite officielle.
The Royal Palace of Brussels is one of the most beautiful official buildings of the capital.
Situated in front of the Palace of the Nation, to the other extremity of the royal Park, the Royal Palace symbolizes our regime, to know the constitutional monarchy, in a way. The Palace is therefore the place where the King exercises his prerogatives of Chief of state. It is at the Palace that the King grants his audiences and that the business of the state are treated. Besides the King's office and the one of the Queen, the Royal Palace shelters the services of the Big Marshal of the Court, of the Chief of Cabinet of the King, of the Chief of the Military House of the King and the intendant of the King's Civil List. The Palace also includes the Lounges of pomp where are organized the big receipts, as well as the apartments put at the disposal of the chiefs of state in official visit.
I walked to the Royal Square where St. James church (look at the picture) and the neo-classical style Royal Castle (Palais Royal) were located. Interesting, impressive architecture although not my favourite in Brussels. Haha, the tower seen on my picture was not compatibile in style to the rest of the buiding - at least in my opinion.
The first castle was built at this place in 11th century and it was castle of Braban dukes. I think it looked more nice that time.
There were buildings of Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art on Royal Square there - I didn't visit them :-(.
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see the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is one of the most magnificent buildings of Brussels. Originally it existed of two separated pavilions. In 1783 the Abbey of Villers built a mansion, which was sold to the Austrian governor in 1784. A second mansion, built in a similar style, became the home of the commanding officer of the Austrian troops. When, in the 19th century, the Kingdom of the Low Lands (today Holland and Belgium) was founded, it became the residence of King Willem. It was him who conceived the idea to connect both mansions and in 1820 he assigned architect 'Van der Straeten'. However, it was 'Tielman' who executed this plan between 1827 and 1829.
King Leopold II rebuilt the Royal Palace in 1904. Since then the front is in a Louis 14th style. There you can also see a sculpture by Th. Vinçotte, which represents Belgium, sitting between agriculture and industry, which is holding the Belgian flag in one hand and a medal showing King Leopold II in the other. It is the official residence of the Belgian monarchs up to now.
THE ROYAL PALACE.
During the Austrian rule in the 18th century, empress Maria-Theresia preferred not to have the old palace rebuilt because she didn't want the Austrian governor in Brussels to feel himself like a king. Only four houses where built on the site where the palace now stands.
It was William I, king of the reunited Netherlands, who decided in 1815 to rebuild these houses to turn them into a royal palace. This was finished in 1829. One year later Belgium became independent and the new king of Belgium, Leopold I, decided to use the new palace as his residence. It was king Leopold II, who had the original building turned into the palace like we now know it. This transformation ended in 1903.
Favorite thing: Another huge building...the Royal Palace (Palais Royale)... It seemed that everything in Brussels was oversized/huge...I had never seen anything like it... ;)