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“Sire, I have the honour to greet in Your august person the dignified successor of a prestigious line of sovereigns. Since the proclamation of our independence, a brilliant line of kings presided over the supreme destinies of the homeland with a high consciousness of their responsibilities, a notable clairvoyance and an abnegation no matter what. They have sacrificed for the good of the country in the prosperous times as in the tragic years. They have left a glorious inheritance that Your Majesty has had to take over Your shoulders under such extremely painful circumstances.

“Heavy burden to which the Divine Providence had prepared You since your childhood through efforts that opened Your intelligence and Your heart to the pain of the life of men and the nations. But these efforts were softened by the atmosphere of tenderness of the home in which you were educated. Making Your soul flourish, these efforts gave You the cautiousness of kings, which in the brief years of your reign You have brilliantly manifested to have, in the national as in the international stage.

“Concurrently with a glorious line of sovereigns, the Providence has given Belgium the gift of a succession of finest queens, women notable for their natural qualities, sensible to the human suffering and friends of the arts, which have given the throne a diadem of esteem and popular love. Madam, You occupy with all deservedness, a place in the historic gallery of the wives and mothers of our kings.

“Sire, Madam, from now on united indissolubly one to the other through the most sacred knot, You will be joined in the earthly way, putting together Your thoughts and Your feelings, Your happiness and Your sorrow, all Your interests and Your hopes. You want to place this profound love that has attracted one to each other, without any human control, with all its compromises, under the religious protection. In effect, You have come to this old cathedral to ask from Whom all life and all grandness depends on, the consecration of the alliance You have contracted through the sacrament of matrimony, whose mystery symbolises, since the apostle Saint Paul, the mystic union of Jesus Christ and His Church.

“In name of this illustrious assembly, enlightened by the presence of a cardinal, pontifical envoy, and by a gathering of sovereigns, of royal princesses and princes, I have the honour of greeting, in name of the whole Belgium, represented by its Government, by all the episcopate, by all the authorities and institutions, and not less in name of all the people – whose eyes are turned in this moment to this altar, where You exchange Your vows, and that surround You with their applause and with their wishes of a new happiness which is unveiled here – I present You our fervent wishes of a long, happy and blessed life together.”

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