Most teenagers celebrate their 18th birthday with a party or first legal drink with friends.
But it was a rather more formal occasion for Crown Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, who marked the milestone with an official ceremony in Brussels today.
Elisabeth, heir to the Belgium throne, was joined by parents King Philippe, 59, and Queen Mathilde, 46, for the event at the opulent Royal Palace this morning.
Birthday girl! Crown Princess Elisabeth of Belgium marked her 18th birthday with an official ceremony at the Royal Palace in Brussels today. Pictured, Elisabeth with father King Philippe
Proud mother: Elisabeth, heir to the Belgium throne, was joined by parents King Philippe, 59, and Queen Mathilde, 46, pictured, for the event at the opulent Royal Palace this morning
Royal duties: The future Belgian queen posed for photos with dancers from the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp, who were invited to perform at the event in Brussels this morning
Esteemed guests: Prince Gabriel of Belgium, 16, (pictured far left) was seated alongside his mother and father (centre) for the ceremony marking his sister’s 18th birthday today
Poised: The Belgian princess, pictured at the podium, was applauded by her parents (seated far left) after delivering a speech at the celebration at the Royal Palace in Brussels
Entertainment: Dancers from the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp performed for guests. Eurovision singer Blanche – who came fourth in the singing contest – also took to the stage
The teenager, who attends a South Wales boarding school, demonstrated poise beyond her years as she stood to be presented with a medal by her father in a ceremony that was broadcast live on three of Belgium’s biggest TV channels.
Following the lead of her elegant mother, Princess Elisabeth donned a tailored white trench coat dress and nude suede heels for the celebrations.
King Philippe delivered a speech before attendees were treated to performances by Eurovision singer Blanche – who came fourth in the singing contest two years ago – and students from the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp.
Family affair: Queen Mathilde and King Philippe with daughter Elisabeth at today’s event
Loving daughter: Elisabeth gazed at her father as he presented her with a medal
Picture of pride: King Philippe kissed his daughter on the cheek following the presentation
Like mother, like daughter: Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth both looked elegant today
Quiet moment: Mathilde whispered something in her daughter’s ear after her speech today
Five teenagers – two Dutch, two French and one German speaker – were also invited to speak and expressed their dreams for the future and what they’d like from the future head of state. They were selected after the palace asked youngsters to send in letters that they’d like to read to the princess.
Queen Mathilde was the picture of motherly pride and stood to hug her daughter after she spoke to the audience – which included politicians as well as other youngsters born in 2001 – and viewers at home.
Usually, a live broadcast of a royal event in Belgium is reserved for weddings and funerals – unlike in the UK where the Queen’s Trooping the Colour parade for her birthday is aired on TV.
Marking the milestone: King Philippe of Belgium delivered a speech to the audience
Polished: Following the lead of her elegant mother, Princess Elisabeth donned a tailored white trench coat dress and nude suede heels for the celebrations, pictured
In the spotlight: Princess Elisabeth is now allowed to rule without a regent being appointed
Best foot forward: A young dancer prepares to perform a routine for the royal family
Shy smile: Princess Elisabeth, who studies in Wales, looked demure at today’s events
Guiding voice: The King spoke quietly to his daughter during a moment in the ceremony
Today’s milestone is particularly significant as the princess is now legally old enough to rule without a substitute regent being appointed.
Philippe and Mathilde also have three younger children, Prince Gabriel, 16, Prince Emmanuel, 14, and Princess Eleonore, 11.
On Wednesday, a selection of images, taken by photographer Michel Gronemberger, were published by the palace to celebrate Elisabeth’s birthday.
One showed her in an elegant blue gown standing on a set of grand steps found in the Royal Palace of Laeken, where her parents live, while another captured her sitting at a desk holding open a photo album.
The third and final image showed Elisabeth with her father Philippe, who acceded to the throne on 21 July 2013 after his father Albert II abdicated for health reasons.
Photo call: Princess Elisabeth posed with dancers and other invited guests at the ceremony
Beaming: Princess Elisabeth flashed a smile as she posed for the photos outside the palace