New King, New NH90

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Belgium celebrated both independence day and the coronation of a new king, Philippe, yesterday and the traditional flyby included the country's new NH90 helicopter.

Netherlands Ministry of Defense photo by Bart Nijs

The Belgian NH90 troop transport helicopter was accompanied by a Royal Netherlands Navy NFH90 naval version. On the day marking the declaration of independence of Belgium from the Netherlands in 1831 by Philippe's great great grandfather, Leopold I, Dutch army soldiers, including a flag bearer, and two Fennek armored reconnaissance vehicles participated in the traditional 21 July military parade, symbolizing close Dutch-Belgian military cooperation. Luxembourg also participated with a flag bearer, soldiers, including its musical corps, and two Dingo II vehicles.

Philippe has shown keen interest in the Belgian military since he was prince and is a qualified Mirage 5 pilot and paratrooper. I actually met him on a 2006 press tour to Bitche, France, where his humorless press officer explained royal etiquette -- not speaking to the prince unless first spoken to -- and did not understand that I was joking when I asked about my interview with the prince.

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