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Prince Wauthier de Ligne is dead: the Château de Beloeil is in mourning

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One of the sons of the late Prince Antoine de Ligne and the late Princess Alix of Luxembourg has died aged just 70. Prince Wauthier de Ligne succumbed to a long illness. His brother Michel is the current head of the illustrious Belgian princely family.

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The brother of the 14th Prince of Ligne has died

We learned of the death of Prince Wauthier de Ligne from Marlene Koenig, information confirmed by L’Avenir. Prince Wauthier de Ligne had just celebrated his 70th birthday in a sad context, on July 10. The brother of the head of the de Ligne family died on August 15, 2022, Assumption Day, in a hospital in Tournai “after having fought to the end against a long and painful illness”.

Prince Wauthier de Ligne (1952-2022) photographed in 1992 at the Château de Belœil (Photo: Belvaux/Belvaux/ISOPIX)

Prince Wauthier lived in one of the outbuildings of the Château de Beloeil. The de Ligne family, one of the oldest and most illustrious families of the Belgian nobility, is intimately linked to the Château de Belœil. It is for example here that the current 14th Prince of Ligne was born in 1951. There are traces of the existence of a Ligne family since the beginning of the 11th century.

In August 1950, Princess Alix of Luxembourg, daughter of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma, married Prince Antoine de Ligne, son of the 11th Prince of Ligne. In 1985, when his brother Baudouin died, Antoine became the 13th Prince of Ligne. Antoine and Alix have seven children. The first two are Michel, born in 1951, and Wauthier, born in 1952. Antoine de Ligne died in 2005 in Beloeil at the age of 80, making Michel the 14th Prince of Ligne. Alix from Luxembourg died in 2019 at the age of 89.

Prince Lamoral, Prince Michel and Prince Wauthier de Ligne at the funeral of their mother, Princess Alix of Luxembourg in 2019 (Photo: Frederic Sierakowski/ISOPIX)

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Prince Wauthier de Ligne leaves behind his wife, three children and young grandchildren

The cradle of the family is the village of Ligne, located in Hainaut, but the family will extend slightly to the south (8 km), when it takes possession of the stronghold of Beloeil, in 1394. The owner, Catherine de Condé and de Beloeil sold it to his nephew, the lord Jean de Ligne. There was already a medieval building on the estate. In the 15th century, the de Ligne family settled permanently in the Château de Belœil and over the centuries the château was transformed.

On May 1, 1976, Prince Wauthier de Ligne married Countess Régine de Renesse. They are parents of three children: Philippe, Mélanie, Elisabeth. Régine survived him. Prince Wauthier’s funeral will take place on Monday August 22 at 11 a.m. in the Saint-Pierre church in Beloeil.

Prince Philippe, born in 1977, married Laetitia Rolin in 2008. They are the parents of Prince Jean-Charles, Princess Aliénor and Prince Constance de Ligne. Princess Melanie married Austrian lawyer Paul Weingarten in 2011. They have one son, Felix Weingarten. Princess Elisabeth married Baron Baudouin Gillès de Pélichy in 2005 and are the parents of Baron Antoine, Baron Charles, Baroness Philippine, Baroness Marguerite and Baroness Marie Gillès de Pélichy.

Beloeil Castle has been the castle of the Ligne princely family for centuries (Photo: Jose Constantino/Wikimedia Commons CC by 4.0)

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Wauthier is the first of the siblings to die. Prince Michel, 14th Prince of Ligne married Princess Éléonore d’Orléans-Braganza, sister of the pretender to the throne of Brazil. Princess Christine de Ligne, sister of Michel and Wauthier, married Prince Antônio of Orléans-Bragance, brother of Princess Éléonore. The other siblings are Princess Anne de Ligne, Princess Sophie de Ligne, Prince Lamoral de Ligne and Princess Yolande de Ligne.

Count Lamoral 1st, Count of Ligne and Fauquemberghe, Baron of Wassenaer and Beloeil, Viscount of Leyde, who helped Emperor Rudolf II to defend himself against the French, received the nobility title of Prince for himself and his descendants, in 1601. Lamoral 1e is the 1st Prince of Line. More recently, in the new kingdom of Belgium, in 1923, King Albert 1st authorized family members to bear the predicate of Highness. The head of the de Ligne family had the privilege, along with only seven other heads of families, of being invited to the Blue Salon of the Royal Palace to have an audience with the King of the Belgians. The heads of these 8 families come in 34th position in the official order of precedence of the State, in the international version of this protocol. The order of precedence determines the protocol order granted to Belgian guests after the King.

Nicholas Fontaine

Chief Editor

Nicolas Fontaine has been a freelance web editor since 2014. After having been a copywriter and author for numerous Belgian and French brands and media, he specialized in royalty news. Nicolas is now editor-in-chief of Histoires royales. [email protected]