altApril 27 - Princess Astrid of Belgium today accepted an invitation from Sir Philip Craven to join the Honorary Board of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).


The Princess will join existing members, including Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Prince Albert of Monaco, Soprano Maria Guleghina, former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, business woman and lifelong Paralympic sport supporter Thérèse Rein and Hassan Ali Bin Ali, chairman of the Shafallah Centre for Children with Special Needs as an ambassador for the Paralympics.


Princess Astrid: “Courage is one of the qualities I value most in people.


"I found this to be the case when I spoke to athletes with a disability at Paralympic events.


"Their courage and dedication to sports should be inspiration to all human beings.”


The Princess was formerly head of the Belgian Red Cross, but stood down at the end of 2007 because of a power struggle in the organisation between its French-speaking and Belgian branches.


Sir Philip said: ”I am delighted that HRH Princess Astrid will be part of our family and help us to develop the Paralympic Movement.


"On behalf of the Paralympic Family, I would like to thank her for agreeing to join the Honorary Board and for supporting the IPC's goal in keeping the issue of Paralympic Sport high on the agenda of the global community."


The IPC, as the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement, decided in 2003 to create an Honorary Board to allow leaders of society an opportunity to support the vision of the Paralympic Movement.


The members assist the IPC in creating opportunities for raising awareness and funding, through the member’s network of contacts and sphere of influence.