Queen Mathilde turns 45: Fun facts about the Belgian royal

By Robert Peterpaul

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex isn't the only royal that celebrates a birthday on January 20. As the British royal turns 53 Saturday, one of her counterparts, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, turns 45. The mother-of-four, who has been married to King Philippe since 1999, is a regular fixture at royal weddings and events around Europe. Often praised for her elegant style and worthwhile charity work, the Queen has delighted royal fans everywhere. In honor of her birthday, read on for ten fun facts about the Belgium beauty!

Queen Mathilde, 45, is known for her charity work and elegant style Photo: Getty Images

1. Her birth name has a unique meaning. The future queen was born Jonkvrouw Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz on January 20, 1973. Jonkvrouw means "young lady."

2. She met her match during a match! Mathilde, the daughter of Count and Countess Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz, was born into nobility. She met Prince Philippe while playing tennis in 1996 (talk about a love match) and the couple now have four children, Princess Elisabeth, 12, who is first in line for the throne, Prince Gabriel, 10, Prince Emmanuel, 8, and Princess Eléonore, 5.

3. She's had several name changes. During her engagement she was made a Princess, and when she married, Mathilde was given the title of The Duchess of Brabant, before becoming The Queen of the Belgians after her husband's coronation in July, 2013.

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Mathilde is the first Belgian-born Queen consort of the Belgians Photo: Getty Images

4. Mathilde is connected to other royal families. She is godmother to Princess Alexia of the Netherlands and Princess Isabella of Denmark.

5. The royal is among the world's 'best dressed.' Like other royals, Queen Mathilde has been praised by the press and fans alike for her elegant, sophisticated style. The mom has frequently been named one of the world's 'best-dressed' women.

6. She attended a very special royal wedding. Mathilde often supports her husband King Philippe on royal duties overseas, including an economic mission to Vietnam in 2012, and the couple attended the wedding of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in London in April 2011.

The Queen represents Belgium on many state visits and serves as patron of numerous charities

7. She speaks several languages. The European royal speaks several languages, including French, Dutch, English and Italian. Before marrying Philippe, she worked as a speech therapist at her own practice in Brussels.

8. She's an honorary president! Since becoming a member of the Belgium royal family, Mathilde has dedicated her time to royal duties, taking part in the annual World Economic Forum in Davos and becoming the honorary president of UNICEF Belgium.

Queen Mathilde and King Philippe married in 1999 Photo: Getty Images

9. Mathilde's got talent! She is a music-lover who plays the piano. The Queen also includes literature among her passions, as well as all kinds of sports.

10. She's had an adventurous past. During her younger years, Mathilde spent time backpacking with friends in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Happy Birthday, Queen Mathilde!

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