King Philippe succeeded to the throne in July 2013 on the abdication of his father, the 79-year-old Albert II, who stepped down on grounds of health.
Born in 1960, the future King Philippe graduated from the Belgian Royal Military Academy and went on to study political science at Oxford and Stanford.
He is a trained fighter pilot and paratrooper, and was widely expected to pass over his father and succeed to the throne on the death of his uncle Baudouin in 1993. But his apparent diffidence in public led to his father becoming king after all.
Prince Philippe became Duke of Brabant and went on to marry Belgian aristocrat Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz. They have four children, the eldest of whom, Princess Elisabeth, is heir to the throne.
As Duke of Brabant he served as honorary head of the Belgium's Foreign Trade Agency, and flew the flag for Belgian business on dozens of high-level trade missions worldwide.
Respect for the monarchy is one of the few factors that crosses the communal divide in Belgium, and King Albert exercised his constitutional authority in advising political leaders on the formation of a government during the 2010-2011 parliamentary stalemate.
King Philippe, on the other hand, is expected to have a difficult relationship with the hardline Flemish nationalists of the Vlaams Belang, whom he has publicly criticized.