maandag 13 maart 2023

Mathilde & Elisabeth's Visit to Egypt

Queen Mathilde & Crown Princess Elisabeth (21) made a working visit to Egypt, following in the footsteps of Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians who was present at the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1923 with her son Crown Prince Léopold.

A hundred years later, the current Queen of the Belgians and the Crown Princess highlight the historical ties between Egypt and Belgium in academic egyptology. 

- Arrival in the Valley of Kings.
- Queen Elisabeth & Crown Prince Leopold visiting Tutankhamun's grave.
- Queen Elisabeth and the famous Belgian egyptologist, Jean Capart.
- Gazing over Assiut.

Belgian state visit to Egypt in 1930:
- At the temple of Medinet Habu.
- Queen Elisabeth & King Albert I with a group of archeologists and researchers.
- Queen Elisabeth & King Albert I with Howard Carter who discoverd Tutankhamun's tomb.
- Queen Elisabeth  & Howard Carter at Tutankhamun's tomb. 

Mathilde & Elisabeth opened an exhibition on Queen Elisabeth and Belgian egyptologists in Cairo, and they visited Tutankhamun's grave and several sites in and around Luxor. 

13 March 2023

Court posted some snapshots from various exhibitions Elisabeth & Mathilde have been visiting these past months to prepare for the trip.

“Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt” at the British Museum in London, UK.

“Alexandrie: futurs antérieurs” at Bozar in Brussels.

and “Champollion, la voie des hiéroglyphes” at Louvre Lens, France. 

Back home, Queen Mathilde will also be visiting the exhibition "Expéditions d'Egypte" at the Art & History Museum in Brussels, which explores two centuries of fascinating archeological digs and discoveries, combined with the rich Egyptian collection of the Belgian museum.

14 March 2023

Mathilde & Elisabeth had a 40 minute delay and arrived at 15:10 in Cairo.

Queen Mathilde and Crown Princess Elisabeth opened the exhibition "1923-2023. Queen Elisabeth of Belgium in Egypt" at the Empain Palace in Cairo. They were given a tour and were offered a reception afterwards.

Elisabeth's entire outfit was by Armani, earrings and ring included, only her clutch was from Belgian brand KAAI. From the choice of their clothing it's clear Mathilde wanted her daughter to be the focal point of attention. 

The designers of KAAI revealed they had sent the clutch to Elisabeth as a promo/present. They were of course very pleasantly surprised to see Elisabeth actually using their clutch! 

15 March 2023

The visit continued in Luxor where the Queen & Crown Princess were staying at the same hotel Queen Elisabeth resided at in 1923: the Winter Palace. 

The day started with Elisabeth posing on the same spot at the hotel as her great-great grandmother 100 years ago. The rest of the day these reenactments of photos would take place now and then, as court had previosuly communicated would happen. 

Then mother & daughter were taken to Shaykh Abd al-Qurna for an on site visit. Professor Bavay of the ULB University guided the Queen and the Princess around two monumental tombs of the ancient city of Thebes, now known as Luxor. The excavations of the universities of Brussels and Liège help to uncover and understand the development of an entire sector of this necropolis.

Inside the temple of Amenhotep III.

Elisabeth was wearing a pair of trousers, belt and shirt by ba&sh. Her earrings were by Sézane and she was wearing Veja trainers. She was also wearing a necklace by Maje, with the representation of a scorpion. Her zodiac sign is scorpio! 

The Queen and the Crown Princess discovered the petroglyphs on the Rock of Vultures and posed outside the Temple of Amenhotep III, just like Queen Elisabeth in 1930.

In the famous Valley of the Kings, the Queen and Princess visited the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century: the tomb of Tutankhamun! The tomb was discovered virtually intact by Howard Carter on 4 November 1922. Queen Elisabeth and Crown Prince Léopold attended the opening of the burial chamber in 1923 and were among the first to visit it. Exactly 100 years after their visit, the Queen and Princess also visited the tomb of the most famous of all pharaohs. 

The day ended in the "Lost Golden City of Luxor", which was only discovered in September 2020. The site is more than 3,400 years old and its preservation is impressive. The Lost Golden City has yet to reveal all its secrets, but is considered one of the most important discoveries since Tutankhamun's tomb. Their guide was famous archaeologist Zahi Hawass, whom they had the pleasure of meeting for the second time as he had been the family's personal guide on a private visit in 2018 (here).

Mr Hawass talked very fondly of King Philippe, calling him a wonderful, simple man who loves his wife very much. At the time he showed Mr Hawass the portrait he was making of Mathilde. 

At night mother and daughter had some free time, no doubt a welcome moment to catch up after the weeks Elisabeth has spent in Oxford where she's living and studying nowadays.

16 March 2023

The Queen and the Princess traveled to the Dayr al-Barsha site, where researchers from the KULeuven University are conducting excavations. Their project became world-famous in 2007 when the four-thousand-year-old tomb of the senior official Henoe was discovered. 

Princess Elisabeth was wearing a polo shirt by Essentiel Antwerp.

The Queen and the Princess met with Professor Willems, Doctor De Meyer and students who were excavating and researching the site. Dayr al-Barsha is one of the 5 active sites in Egypt where Belgians are conducting excavations, in close cooperation with the authorities, and it offers important opportunities to young Belgian Egyptologists and archaeologists.

Lunch with the students.

The visit ended with interviews. Both Mathilde and Elisabeth talked, seperately, to the press. Elisabeth was asked the same questions in Dutch and in French. You could sense she was a bit nervous as this was her first real interview. In Kenya she'd rather given a statement to the press at the end of her visit.

The written press also got to make some interviews. Mathilde told them it had become rare for her to be able to spend so much time with her eldest daughter. 

After these interviews the visit had officially ended. A few hours later Queen Mathilde flew back to Belgium. Meanwhile Elisabeth stayed a few days longer in Egypt, enjoying some time off. She also asked the Belgian embassy to arrange a meeting with Belgian students who were studying in Egypt.

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