Princess Claire of Belgium

Princess Claire
Born (1974-01-18) 18 January 1974
Bath, Somerset, England
Spouse Prince Laurent of Belgium (m. 2003)
Issue Princess Louise
Prince Nicolas
Prince Aymeric
Full name
Claire Louise[fn 1]
Father Nicholas John Coombs
Mother Nicole Mertens

Princess Claire of Belgium (born Claire Louise Coombs in Bath, England, on 18 January 1974) is a land surveyor married to Prince Laurent and the sister-in-law of King Philippe of Belgium.


She is the daughter of Nicholas John Coombs (Bath, 14 April 1938), a British-born businessman, and his Belgian wife (Uccle, 9 April 1971), Nicole Eva Gabrielle Thérèse, née Mertens (Ixelles, 20 June 1951). Her family relocated to Dion-le-Val, near to Brussels in francophone Wallonia in 1977. She has therefore lived in Belgium since age 3.[1]

Marriage and children

On 12 April 2003, she married Prince Laurent of Belgium, the second son and youngest child of the then Albert II of Belgium and his wife Queen Paola of Belgium. The civil ceremony was held at Brussels Town Hall, and the religious ceremony at the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula.

The couple have three children:

Public life

Unlike her two sisters-in-law, Mathilde and Astrid, Claire has no defined official role.

She occasionally appears in public accompanying her husband, generally in support of environmental causes or animal charities. She is also a leading patron of the Brussels Choral Society, which sang at the religious part of her marriage ceremony. She is also active in organisations related to the United Kingdom in Belgium. She is a member of the Board of Trustees at the British School of Brussels and actively attends charitable and commemorative events hosted by the British Ambassador to Belgium.

Titles and styles

Styles of
Princess Claire of Belgium
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Madame

Claire Coombs received the title Princess of Belgium from the King ten days before her marriage, by Royal Decree of 1 April 2003 (effective as of the date of the wedding, on 12 April 2003).[2]

Prince Laurent does not hold a personal title such as Count of Flanders or Prince of Liège, as Belgium's cadet princes were formerly granted, so she has no other title as his consort.


See also : List of state visits & List of honours of the Belgian Royal Family by country

Belgian honours

Foreign honours


  1. As a titled royal, Claire no longer holds a surname; although the media commonly refer to her as Claire Coombs.


  2. This title is no longer automatic for a consort since a Royal Decree of 1991, abrogating the 1891 Royal Decree that accorded the wife of a Prince of Belgium the feminine version of that title upon approved marriage.
  3. Photo from the Royal Family's official website – ribbon :
  4. Photo from Website of Belga Pictures – ribbon :
  5. Kongehuset
  6. Photo from Website of Belga Pictures – ribbon :
  7. Photo from the Royal Family's official website
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