In the photos at right we see Princess Mathilde of Belgium, the future Queen of that Kingdom, on a trip to Tanzania visiting children affected by AIDS. A small boy infected by his parents with the disease was chosen to greet the visiting Princess and he timidly offers her a bouquet of orange and yellow roses. Compassion shines in her whole demeanor; the natural and unstudied approach, the warmth and honesty of her smile. The boy in his gown accomplishes his duty, and hands her the bouquet of welcome.
Princess Mathilde of Belgium visiting children with AIDS in Tanzania
Point de Vue, March 1, 2006
The Princess, touched with pity for her little host, shows her sympathy for his situation. Her openness to him and accessibility does not make it necessary for her to renounce her situation as Princess. On the contrary, it is precisely as a Princess that she drops down to her heels so she can embrace him and communicate with him at eye level. Doing this, she raises the boy to her level and imparts to him her dignity, rather than lowering herself to his simple level. It is this contact of souls that the little boy will remember forever with gratitude and appreciation. In the last photo, he seems to be feeling this already, by his more relaxed and content attitude. Judging by his smile, he is charmed with her. He became a Prince for a moment.
The appeal of the scene is undeniable. The dignity and accessibility of the Princess is remarkable. It is rare in these days to see such a beautiful expression of true Catholic charity.
It is also a lesson for us to understand that we do not need to abandon our dignity and be egalitarian in order to raise the admiration of the poor.
Posted May 10, 2006