The British royals aren't the only ones opening up their palace doors to the public

By Erin Hill
Updated August 14, 2015 11:05 PM
Credit: Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty

The British royals aren t the only ones opening their palace doors to the public this summer – the Belgian royals have also put out the welcoming mat for visitors.

For the past 50 years, the royal family has opened the palace to the public during their annual summer holidays.

The beautiful, historic building, which dates back to the late 1700s, is open from July 22 to September 6. And unlike Buckingham Palace, visits to the Royal Palace of Brussels are free of charge!

Visitors can wander around certain rooms, corridors and sweeping staircases in the grand palace, including the famed Mirror Room that boasts a ceiling covered in beautiful wing shells of a million Thai jewel beetles.

Among the works of art and furnishings on display are Goya tapestries and a Rodin sculpture in the Throne Room.

Before you plan your trip to Belgium, here s the 411 on the Belgian monarchy.

King Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde, have four children: Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess El onore.

Philippe became king in July 2013 after his father, King Albert II, then 79, abdicated his throne over concerns about his advanced age.

“I have noticed how my age and my health have not permitted me to exercise my duties the way I would like to,” he said in an address to the nation.

As for his British counterpart, Queen Elizabeth, 89, will soon pass her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (who ruled for 63 years and seven months) as the longest-serving monarch in British history. The historic event will take place on September 9.

In the meantime, the Queen is enjoying her annual summer break at her country retreat, Balmoral Castle.

The royal residence in Scotland is also open to visitors throughout the year.

Want to keep up with the latest royals coverage? Click here to subscribe to the Royals Newsletter.