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Belgian king abdicating throne

By CNN Staff
July 3, 2013 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
King Albert II of Belgium announced Wednesday, July 3, that he will abdicate the throne on July 21. His son, Crown Prince Philippe, will succeed him. Here the king attends a tribute to the unknown soldier on November 11, 2012, in Brussels, Belgium. King Albert II of Belgium announced Wednesday, July 3, that he will abdicate the throne on July 21. His son, Crown Prince Philippe, will succeed him. Here the king attends a tribute to the unknown soldier on November 11, 2012, in Brussels, Belgium.
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King Albert II of Belgium to abdicate
King Albert II of Belgium to abdicate
King Albert II of Belgium to abdicate
King Albert II of Belgium to abdicate
King Albert II of Belgium to abdicate
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • King Albert II's abdication will be effective on July 21
  • His son Crown Prince Philippe will succeed him
  • European Commission president praises King Albert in a statement

(CNN) -- King Albert II of Belgium is abdicating his throne, effective July 21, he announced Wednesday.

His son Crown Prince Philippe will succeed him, he said in a nationally televised address.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso issued a statement about the move.

"It is with deep emotion that I hear the announcement of the abdication of His Majesty King Albert II. On behalf of the European Commission and on my own behalf, I wish to express to him my sincere thanks for his tireless efforts in the service of Belgium and Europe," the statement read.

Throughout his 20-year reign, Albert "has never ceased to be a staunch defender of the values that are the basis of the European construction," the statement said.

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