Prince Laurent of Belgium (Laurent Benoît Baudouin Marie) was born on October 16, 1963 at the Château de Belvédère in Laeken, Brussels, Belgium. He is the youngest of the three children of King Albert II of the Belgians, who abdicated in favor of his son Philippe in 2013, and his wife Queen Paola (born Paola Ruffo di Calabria). Laurent has an older brother, King Philippe of the Belgians, and an older sister, Princess Astrid of Belgium.
Prince Laurent began his education at Collège Saint-Michel d’Etterbeek (link translated from French) in Brussels where he was educated in French and then attended school in Loppem where he was educated in Dutch. In 1977, he began his studies at the Pius X Instituut (link translated from Dutch) in Antwerp and completed his studies there in 1980. Laurent then studied at the Royal Cadet School in Laeken, Brussels. He then proceeded to the Royal Military Academy where he was educated as an officer of the armed forces. Upon completion, Laurent joined the Belgian Navy as a naval trainee on a mine hunter. He trained to become a diver and helicopter pilot and his highest naval rank was Captain.
On December 19, 2002, the engagement of Prince Laurent and British-born, but Belgian-raised Claire Coombs was announced. The couple met at a mutual friend’s dinner party in 2000. Laurent was helping wash the dishes when Claire came in to lend a hand. The two barely talked and didn’t see each other again for two months. After their second meeting, Claire was impressed with Laurent’s generosity and sensitivity and Laurent knew Claire was right for him because of her honesty, spontaneity, and love for children.
Laurent and Claire married on April 12, 2003 at the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula in Brussels, Belgium.
The couple have three children: