Belgium’s former King Albert II was hospitalised earlier today with signs of dehydration, a palace spokesman has said.
The ex-king, 89, ‘was admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure,’ the spokesman, Xavier Vaert, told AFP, confirming reports by state broadcasters VRT and RTBF.
‘Examinations are being done. He is conscious,’ Vaert said.
Albert II, the father of Belgium’s current King Philippe, was the third and youngest child of King Leopold III.
He became monarch on August 9, 1993 at the age of 59, taking over after his brother Baudouin died without children.
Albert II reigned until his abdication on July 21, 2013, handing the crown to Philippe, who today is aged 63. The former king and his wife, Queen Paola, 85, have stopped making public appearances in recent years.
King Philippe cancelled his planned engagement at the University of Ghent in order to visit his father in the hospital, according to People.
Other relatives including Prince Laurent, King Albert’s younger son, and Prince Emmanuel were reportedly spotted arriving at the Saint-Luc hospital in Brussels to be by his side.
Speaking to the BBC at the time of his abdication, King Albert said: ‘I realise that my age and my health are no longer allowing me to carry out my duties as I would like to. Prince Philippe is well prepared to succeed me.’