Bye Bye Old King
Hello New King
If only he could have chosen his younger son Prince Laurent, who is a bit like one of those 18th-century lunatics you read about sometimes who ride bears and make their horses drink port and hunt their own children (do follow that link if you like those kinds of stories). He is like a Belgian Boris Johnson, a simultaneously hilarious and terrifying oaf, always getting into amusing scrapes by getting the Army to build his house or going on unauthorised trips to the Congo. We wouldn't get bored with Laurent, though he might very well sell Belgium to a Nigerian spammer.
After all the free beer and extra holidays that will surely be coming our way in the next few weeks, I would like to throw my hat into the ring as alternative sovereign, because in 2013, in an enlightened democracy like Belgium, surely primogeniture is a bit, eh, old news? A bit retro? Let's run this thing like modern civilisations do and elect a new monarch via a TV TALENT CONTENT AND RIGGED PHONE VOTE. 'Rex Factor' suggests Berlaymonster, or 'Who Wants to be a Belgian Heir'.
Failing this, here is my manifesto for royal elevation:
1. I like horses. I REALLY like horses. I would happily marry one if it would ensure dynastic stability. I can make that sacrifice. Easily.
2. I can describe a house in Dutch, thus proving my amazing multilingual credentials and making me a useful tour guide. A palace shouldn't be too much more difficult, I'll just add in a few more 'verdiepings' and 'kamers'.
3. I am really good at sitting still for long boring ceremonial occasions thanks to my many years of training at hour-long silent meeting at Quaker school.
4. Willing to change my name to 'Leopold'. Leopold Beddington Saxe-Gotha IV. Yeah. It has a ring.
5. Familiarity with wigs meaning large, Fabiola style hair is a very real and immediate possibility.
6. Willingness to reinstate the old system of giving people a driving licence as a royal gift on their 18th birthday without any form of testing. It can't make road safety any worse than it is now.
7. I am already feckless, spendthrift and functionally unemployable, so will fit right in.
I am stopping at seven because I reckon I need to get my candidature in early to maximise my chances. Would you like to be King or Queen of the Belgians? What qualities would you bring to the role?