Belgian royals visit Egypt to mark centenary of 1923 visit by Queen Elisabeth of Bavaria

A photography exhibition of former Belgian Queen Elisabeth of Bavaria's time in Egypt in the 1920s was visited by Belgium's current queen and her eldest daughter

The Belgian royals' visit to the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Valley of the Kings, Egypt, 1923. Getty Images
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Belgium's Queen Mathilde and her daughter Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant, arrived in Egypt this week to visit some of the country’s prominent archaeological sites.

The visit comes 100 years after Belgium’s former queen, Elisabeth of Bavaria, visited Egypt to witness the unveiling of King Tut’s famed tomb in 1923 and became enamoured by the country’s ancient relics.

The first stop on the Belgian royals’ Egyptian visit was the Baron Empain Palace in Cairo’s affluent Heliopolis neighbourhood where a retrospective photography exhibition showed the highlights of Elisabeth of Bavaria’s visit to Egypt in the 1920s.

The palace was the former residence of Belgian aristocrat Edouard Louis Joseph, the 1st Baron of Empain, who was also an avid Egyptologist. It was renovated and reopened to the public as a museum in 2020. The renovation cost about 175 million Egyptian pounds ($5.6 million).

The royals’ next stop was Luxor where they visited the tomb of Tutankhamun, one of the Valley of the Kings’ most visited sites, in addition to the Lost Golden City of Luxor, a 3,000-year-old city discovered in 2020 by Zahi Hawass.

In statements to the press, the queen and princess said they were in Egypt to follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth of Bavaria to mark the passing of a century since her visit. Queen Mathilde and her daughter stayed in the same hotel as her predecessor 100 years ago, Luxor’s Winter Palace.

The retrospective exhibition of Elisabeth's visit, which includes many photos of her stay in Luxor in the 1920s, a decade when the city was a popular haunt for colonial archaeologists, typified by the characters depicted in Agatha Christie novels. It will continue until April 14.

Updated: March 16, 2023, 11:28 AM