Princess Claire was born in Bath, Somerset (England) on 18 January 1974. When she was three years old, her family moved to Belgium, settling in Wavre. She attended primary and secondary school at the Institut de la Providence in Wavre. She was interested in drawing, painting, music and horse-riding. She was an active member of a youth movement (the Guides), and sang in the local choir, with whom she played an active part in the Pope's visit to Brussels.
Princess Claire frequently travels to England to visit her grand-parents on her father's side and friends. Her grandmother on her mother's side of the family lives in Chaumont-Gistoux.
Having completed her humanities, she studied as a surveyor. She completed her training with a period of work experience at "Brone & Oldenhove" in Wavre and qualified as a chartered surveyor in 1999. "Brone & Oldenhove" then offered her the possibility of becoming a partner.
Princess Claire has dual nationality, Belgian and British, and trained at the Antwerp office of a chartered surveyors' firm.
Joanna, Princess Claire's elder sister, was born in Bath in 1972. She attended classical ballet classes at the Ecole des Petits-Rats in Brussels under Jacques Saussin, while completing her secondary education. At present, she is working as a "Management Assistant" at the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Brussels. Joanna is married to Steve Grant. They have a daughter called Emma. Steve is a lecturer at the United Kingdom Representation at the European Union.
Matthew, the younger brother of the Claire, was born in 1976, also in England. He attended primary and secondary school at the Institut de la Providence in Wavre. Having completed his secondary education, he obtained a diploma in marketing. He is now working in the family business in Perwez. He devotes his free time to enduro racing (trail-bike racing). He has already had occasion to distinguish himself as a motorcycle rider both in Belgium and at international events throughout Europe.
Princess Claire's parents married in Uccle in 1971.
Her mother, Nicole Mertens, was born in Ixelles in 1951. She studied in Belgium and in England, where she completed her training as a secretary in 1970. She is a partner in the family business. She is active in parish life and does charity work with the elderly.
Her father, Nicholas Coombs, was born in Wimbledon in 1938. She studied at St. George's College in South London. At the age of eighteen, he set off for Canada where he worked for the Bell Telephone Company. At the same time, he started studying rubber and electricity. Five years later, on returning to the United Kingdom, he worked for the Lindustries Group of Companies, and became the manager of one of their subsidiaries. At present, he is the manager of the family firm.
The marriage of Prince Laurent and Miss Claire Coombs took place on 12 April 2003 in Brussels.
Miss Claire Coombs was raised to Princess of Belgium, on the day of her marriage, by Royal Decree of April 1st 2003.
The couple have a daughter, Princess Louise, born on 6 February 2004, and two sons, Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric, born on 13 December 2005.
Princess Claire was born on 18 January 1974