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New Belgian King is crowned

Belgium's King Albert II has abdicated following a 20-year reign, handing over the throne to his son Philippe.

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Philippe sworn in as Belgian king after father abdicates

Belgium's former Crown Prince Philippe has become the seventh king in the country's 183-year-old history after his father Albert completed his pre-announced abdication.

Outgoing King Albert shared a hug with his son after marking Belgian National Day with his abdication. Credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Philippe, 53, ascends the throne in a nation which is split between a Dutch-speaking north, where some want to break free from Belgium, and a more pro-royal and pro-Belgian French-speaking south.

The 79-year-old signed an act of abdication during a ceremony at the Royal Palace to lead to the transition of power. Credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

He took his oath in Belgium's three official languages - Dutch, French and German - in parliament after Albert signed a legislative act to step down, becoming the second Belgian monarch to do so.

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