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Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, 22, formed ‘instant connection’ with 20-year-old Rochdale student at Oxford University, Belgian media reports – as rumours of a romance fly


The future Queen of Belgium has been romantically linked to a 20-year-old student from Manchester after the pair met at Oxford University.

Princess Elisabeth, 22, the eldest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium‘s four children, studies History and Politics at Lincoln College.

It is while at the university that she is thought to have met Nicholas Dodd, who reads History at the same college, according to Het Laatste Nieuws, a Dutch-language newspaper based in Antwerp, Belgium.

The local publication, quoting an ‘important source’, claims ‘ordinary’ Nicholas and the Princess had an ‘instant connection’ after finding themselves in the same study group and developed a relationship that ‘transcends friendship’.

The report included a photograph said to be of the heir to the Belgium throne standing next to Nicholas at the Matriculation Ceremony at the University of Oxford in October 2021, the event that marks the students’ formal admission to the school. 

The future Queen of Belgium has been romantically linked to a 20-year-old student from Manchester after the pair (thought to be pictured) met at Oxford University

The future Queen of Belgium has been romantically linked to a 20-year-old student from Manchester after the pair (thought to be pictured) met at Oxford University

‘Nicholas Dodd is remarkably often mentioned in the English Oxford in one breath with our Crown Princess Elisabeth,’ claimed the publication on Instagram.

The royal, who goes by the name Elisabeth de Saxe-Coburg when at university and is fluent in Dutch, French, German and English, is destined to be the first Queen of her young nation.

When asked about the rumours, the Royal Palace refused to comment, according to French-language, Belgium-based television station RTL

‘We do not react to rumours concerning the private lives of members of the royal family’, a statement apparently read.

Nicholas’s family shut down the romantic speculation, with a Whitworth-based relative telling Manchester Evening News: ‘No, that is false. 

‘They just go to the same college and study together. Just like all his other friends, I can’t comment any further.’

Nicholas has been described as an ‘intelligent and studious young man’, who appeared on the Rochdale Sixth Form College website after being accepted into Oxford University.  

He wrote: ‘I applied to Oxford because I wanted the opportunity to study at a world-class university.

Princess Elisabeth (pictured in October 2023), 22, the eldest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium 's four children, studies History and Politics at Lincoln College

Princess Elisabeth (pictured in October 2023), 22, the eldest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium ‘s four children, studies History and Politics at Lincoln College

A local media report on the claims included a photograph (pictured) said to be of the heir to the Belgium throne (pictured left) standing next to Nicholas (pictured right) at the Matriculation Ceremony at the University of Oxford in October 2021, the event that marks the students' formal admission to the school

A local media report on the claims included a photograph (pictured) said to be of the heir to the Belgium throne (pictured left) standing next to Nicholas (pictured right) at the Matriculation Ceremony at the University of Oxford in October 2021, the event that marks the students’ formal admission to the school

‘I felt I should apply because there was nothing to lose in trying! It was also worth it because the experience developed my analytical skills so even if my application failed, the skills I learned will still help me now and in approaching my work in the future.

‘I would recommend applying to Oxbridge even if you have doubts in yourself. You have nothing to lose and if you dedicate some time to it then it will be a worthwhile experience in itself,’ he added.

Born on October 25, 2001, Princess Elisabeth is the eldest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium‘s four children.

When her father became King in 2013, Elisabeth became the heir to the throne and Duchess of Brabant.

Elisabeth began attending royal engagements from a young age and was just nine when she delivered a speech at the opening of the Princess Elisabeth Children’s Hospital.

Princess Elisabeth in a new portrait released to celebrate her 22nd birthday

Princess Elisabeth in a new portrait released to celebrate her 22nd birthday

Princess Elisabeth is the eldest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium's four children

Princess Elisabeth is the eldest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium’s four children

When her father became King (pictured left) in 2013, Elisabeth became the heir to the Belgian throne and Duchess of Brabant

When her father became King (pictured left) in 2013, Elisabeth became the heir to the Belgian throne and Duchess of Brabant

Like a number of other European royals, including Princess Leonor of Spain and Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, Elisabeth attended Atlantic College in Wales before moving on to Oxford.

Nicknamed ‘Hippie Hogwarts’, the school curriculum has included unusual activities such as Tai Chi and Tibetan literature. It has a remarkable cliff-top location in a 12th-century castle in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Elisabeth enrolled on a £67,000, two-year course to study for her International Baccalaureate diploma at the school, which she has now completed.

Before her two-year course in Wales, she attended the Dutch-speaking secondary school Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege in Brussels. The Princess also went to the Yale Young Global Scholars Program at Yale University.

When Elisabeth ascends to the throne after her father, she will make history as she becomes Belgium's first ever Queen

When Elisabeth ascends to the throne after her father, she will make history as she becomes Belgium’s first ever Queen

Alongside her training, in October 2021, the Princess began studying History and Politics at Lincoln College, Oxford

Alongside her training, in October 2021, the Princess began studying History and Politics at Lincoln College, Oxford

She then completed a one-year course in social and military sciences at the Royal Military Academy which is said to teach in-depth about the four components of Belgian defence: Army, Air Force, Navy and Medical.

Alongside her training, in October 2021, the Princess began studying History and Politics at Lincoln College, Oxford. Here, she rows for Lincoln College Boat Club under the name ‘Elisabeth de Saxe-Coburg’.

According to Belgian newspaper Le Soir, the princess completed a written entrance exam in history ‘anonymously’ so that her social status would not affect her marks.

Elisabeth is believed to have chosen the course herself, in agreement with her parents, and reportedly consulted with graduates from various universities and made her decision based on what would be most useful to her in her role as queen later in life.

An accomplished 21-year-old by any measure, the official royal website says Elisabeth enjoys walking in nature, reading and playing the piano – although like ‘all youngsters her age’, writes the palace, ‘her taste in music is varied.’ 





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