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'Confused' woman spends night in Royal Palace by mistake

08:32 23/01/2024

A 46-year-old woman managed to enter the Belgian Royal Palace by mistake and spent the night there before being discovered and removed by federal police.

Authorities said the woman was confused and did not have malicious intent when she accidentally trespassed, and no charges will be brought against her.

“A woman was found in the Royal Palace, next to Brussels Park, by federal police officers who were standing guard there,” said Brussels public prosecutor's office spokeswoman Yasmina Vanoverschelde.

The woman was found sleeping in one of the royal flats.

"She was woken, appeared to be speaking Spanish and was thoroughly confused," a source told Het Nieuwsblad.

Palace spokesperson Xavier Baert said it seemed to be an honest mistake.

“The woman appeared confused and was taken into administrative custody by the police,” Baert said.

"The Brussels public prosecutor's office was informed and the magistrate on duty initiated a procedure for compulsory psychiatric admission.

"The woman was admitted to hospital as part of this procedure. All measures have been taken so that this cannot happen again."

According to Het Nieuwsblad, the woman entered through the BELvue museum, located next to the Royal Palace.

The museum was originally a former hotel acquired by King Leopold II for his youngest daughter, Princess Clementine. The building was subsequently renovated and connected directly to the palace. Unlike the Royal Palace, there was no police surveillance in front of the museum.

“Following the incident, the Palace and the police met immediately,” BELvue museum director An Lavens told Het Nieuwsblad.

“We agreed to new protocols, and we can assure that this will not happen again. The investigation is not yet complete.”

Security for Belgium’s king costs about €15 million a year, according to 2021 figures, and involves 180 security personnel.

Federal police did not wish to comment on the incident.

Written by Helen Lyons