The younger brother of King Philippe attended the military parade during Belgian National Day on Sunday with his wife, Princess Claire, but he seemed to be distracted by his phone

By Stephanie Petit
July 23, 2019 03:45 PM
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Prince Laurent of Belgium is under fire for an inappropriately-timed phone call.

The younger brother of King Philippe attended the military parade during Belgian National Day on Sunday with his wife, Princess Claire, but he seemed to be distracted by his phone during the playing of the national anthem.

Seated on a golden throne and wearing his naval uniform, Prince Laurent appeared to take a phone call during the song — much to the dismay of his wife, seated beside him. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde also appeared to shoot him looks from their position on a different stage, yet the call didn’t end until Princess Claire tapped her husband on the arm.

When everyone stood up, the British-born Princess Claire was clearly annoyed by the rude gesture and exchanged some heated words with him.

Prince Laurent and Princess Claire
| Credit: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty

This isn’t the first time Prince Laurent has found himself at the center of controversy. After attending a Chinese embassy reception last year without government permission, lawmakers voted for a 15% cut to his $378,000 annual allowance in March 2018, according to the BBC.

“This allowance, the reduction of which is being discussed as a result of political or media currents, is the price of a life — the price of my life, which is largely behind me now,” Laurent wrote in a letter to parliament, arguing that he could not have a normal job due to his royal status.

Prince Laurent and Princess Claire
Prince Laurent and Princess Claire
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Prince Laurent admitted in 2016 that, at times, he gets “a little tired” of royal life.

“It’s true that sometimes I get a little tired of it,” the 55-year-old royal told a class of sixth graders. “You do not learn to become a prince, it’s something that you must feel.”

As for any hopes of taking on the throne himself one day, the prince replied humorously that he could organize “the paratroopers to stage a coup at the Palace – after that we’ll see how it goes.”