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  #21  
Old 09-10-2009, 01:25 PM
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Thanks Lady Leana!

I can somewhat understand the nationalistic feelings but again the horrors of the Congo take away from that. Also taking in consideration that he was not the only one to act that way.

So how is he viewed by his fellow Belgians? With fondness? A sense of pride? Or more like he was human...did negative and positive things.

He definitely doesn't appear to have been a good father. And as Jackie O once said....really, your children are your best legacy. Paraphrasing.
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  #22  
Old 09-10-2009, 01:45 PM
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Well, he's a part of our shameful history. For most people he is associated with the horrors that were committed in his name in the Belgian Congo. I just wanted to point out that there were some less cruel sides to him as well. He certainly wasn't a good father, as you can also read in Marengo's article about Princess Louise.

He is generally described as a horrible personality, and I'm quite sure that that is exactly what he was. As to what Belgians in general think of him, like maria-olivia explained: no commemorations of his death, but celebrations for his successor. King Albert I was everything his uncle was not, and his reign has erased the impressions left by the king before him. More or less, anyway. We surely aren't proud of him, we just accept that he was once there and he left his legacy.
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  #23  
Old 08-15-2010, 07:26 PM
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Hi, I was very curious to know what kind of relationship he had with his three daughters... I read here that they weren't on good terms... Do anyone know why?
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  #24  
Old 08-15-2010, 08:24 PM
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He was a lovely father to his only son, who died early.
And really cold to his daughters. His wife Henriette was before their marriage a funny girl. After the years she became depressive because he was just a lousy husband.

Just Clementine, the youngest, had a good realtionship to him. First he and Henriette were disappointed, that she was a girl.
Stephanie, crown princess of Austria, married years after the death of crown prince Rudolf, a count Lonyay from Hungary. Leopold was very angry about that.
Louise, the most scandalous sister, had affairs and elpoed with her lover. She get caught and lived many years at the mad house (it was the idea of Emperor Franz Joseph I.). Then she escaped. Leopold rage about her was so big that she wasn´t allowed to come to her mothers funeral. Stephanie wasn´t allowed either.

I hope it helped a little bit.
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  #25  
Old 08-16-2010, 05:47 AM
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@ Fürstin Taxis
That was very interesting! I did know about Stephanie's second marriage, but was unaware of Louise's "forbidden" relationships! Thanks a lot
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  #26  
Old 08-16-2010, 11:48 AM
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Also Clementine has to wait her father's dead to marry the Prince Napoleon.
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  #27  
Old 09-09-2010, 05:06 AM
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But wasn't Clementine the only one who had a good relationship with her father?
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  #28  
Old 09-09-2010, 08:55 AM
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Leopold II was rather despotic with other people; he had good relationships with those who agreed with him and obeyed him, and terrible relationships with those who disagreed with him and acted against his wishes and wills.
He had bad relationships with his wife because they had opposite interests; Marie Henriette's main interests were Hungarian horses and music, and Leopold hated them; once it was clear that they wouldn't be able to have a male heir (after their son's death in 1869), they separated for good.
He had bad relationships with his eldest daughter Louise after she lefe her husband and family and eloped with Austrian officer Geza Mattachich, and this was unconceivable for Leopold, who eventually disinherited her.
He had bad relationships with his daughter Stephanie because she married secondly with a Hungarian Count (later Prince) against her father's wish; then Leopold cut all ties with Stephanie, and eventually disinherited her as well.
As for Clementine, it was different: they had good relationships because she respected Leopold's wishes, at least until Leopold was alive; he forbade her to marry the man she loved, Prince Victor Napoleon, and during her father's lifetime she didn't marry him. She never went against Leopold's wishes, thus the good relationships with him. What's more, Clementine enjoyed during her father's lifetime a considerable freedom, very uncommon for a unmarried girl at the end of XIX century; i.e. she could freely travel, when and where she wanted, without having to ask her parents' permission each time. She eventually married Prince Napoleon, but this happened after Leopold's death and therefore was ininfluential on their relationship.
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  #29  
Old 09-09-2010, 04:22 PM
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Thanks MAfan for sharing your knowledge! I avidly read all
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  #30  
Old 09-09-2010, 06:54 PM
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Mafan, Clementine was not that young when she married the Prince Napoleon, because she had to wait one year after his father's death.
There is a story she was in love for Prince Baudouin , King Albert 's older brother who died from illness when he was 21 yeard old.
Leopold II lost his second heir also in the month of January, he hated so much!
Leopold II refused the Prince Albert 's wedding with a Princess of Orleans because they were unhealty (Louise-Marie , Leopold and Baudouin) died from the same illness.
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  #31  
Old 09-10-2010, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maria-olivia View Post
Mafan, Clementine was not that young when she married the Prince Napoleon, because she had to wait one year after his father's death.
She was 38 (quite old to get married, for the standards of the time!) and he was 48.
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Originally Posted by maria-olivia View Post
Leopold II refused the Prince Albert 's wedding with a Princess of Orleans because they were unhealty (Louise-Marie , Leopold and Baudouin) died from the same illness.
But was Albert I in love with a Princess of Orléans?
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  #32  
Old 09-10-2010, 04:16 AM
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Albert was in love with Isabelle, the daughter of the Count and Countess of Paris, but Leopold II opposed to their marriage. I knew he was against it because he feared that the marriage would worsen the relationships between the Belgian and the (republican) French governments, and this was the same reason of his opposition to Clementine and Napoleon's marriage.

I didn't know he thought they were unhealthy, but he wasn't entirely wrong: his mother died aged 38, his eldest brother died aged 1, the Count of Paris died aged 56 and both his parents died young (his father the Duke of Orleans aged 32 after an accident, his mother aged 44); but it wasn't the case of Isabelle, who died aged 82.

Btw, Isabelle later married her cousin Prince Jean, Duke of Guise, and they were the parents of the late Count of Paris, of Anne, Duchess of Aosta, of Françoise, Princess Christopher of Greece and Denmark and of Isabelle, Countess Bruno d'Harcourt and later Princess Pierre Murat.
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  #33  
Old 07-02-2011, 08:54 PM
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I wonder would or has anyone in the current Belgian royal family publicly condemn the actions of Leopold II? This was a huge and largely ignored crime against humanity, the whole colonization of the Congo under him. It has been some generations but it would be deeply symbolic and maybe heal some very old wounds.
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  #34  
Old 09-11-2013, 09:30 AM
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King Leopold's Soliloquy

Hi,

I found this site as I'm researching background information to do an adaptation of King Leopold's Soliloquy by Mark Twain. I'd very much like to see pictures of the interior of Laeken where he died. I'd very much like my set to match the reading room/study/library there as much as possible.

Also, I see that the cause of death was unspecified, does anyone have any more information than that?

Many thanks in advance.
Thomas
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  #35  
Old 10-22-2013, 08:27 PM
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I had no idea that Albert I had wanted to marry Isabelle of Orleans before he met Elisabeth. I did know that he considered Elisabeth of Austria (Rudolf's daughter), but he didn't like her. It did seem as though she was not the easiest person to spend time with.
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  #36  
Old 10-23-2013, 04:53 PM
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Yes, Archduchess Elisabeth (Leopold II's granddaughter via his daughter Stephanie) was considered as a possible wife for the then Prince Albert; at the time Elisabeth was around 15.
But then in 1899-1900 Princess Stéphanie announced her intention to marry and eventually married to Count (later Prince) Elemer de Lonyay, a decision that deeply disappointed King Leopold who then decided to forbade Albert to marry Archduchess Elisabeth.
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  #37  
Old 04-01-2014, 10:24 AM
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Having been widowed a few years earlier, Leopold II married Baroness de Vaughan (a courtesy title) in 1909 in a religious ceremony. Because the religious ceremony was not preceded by a civil ceremony, the Belgian government of the day did not recognize the marriage. Particularly after Leopold II's death, therefore, many arguments ensued about inheritance rights for Baroness de Vaughan and Leopold's daughters respectively.

It may be said that, unwittingly, Leopold II was laying at least some of the foundations for Leopold III's poor relations with the Belgian government over 30 years later, when - similarly - without being preceded by a civil ceremony, he married Liliane Baels, Princess de Réthy in 1941 in a religious ceremony, although in this case there was indeed a civil ceremony some months later.

These religious services of union for both Leopold II and Baroness de Vaughan and for Leopold III and Liliane Baels were not strictly in accordance with Belgian law. (A big difference between these two unions, however, lay in that there was indeed a subsequent civil ceremony for Leopold III and Liliane Baels, Princess de Réthy, but none took place for Leopold II and Baroness de Vaughan.)

This may seem unusual to some North American readers, in that the legal and religious aspects of marriage ceremonies are often combined in a single occasion.
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  #38  
Old 04-01-2014, 03:02 PM
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You are right in Belgium first the civil Wedding and after the religious Wedding, except in this case where the King's Mistress was pregnant !
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  #39  
Old 04-01-2014, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maria-olivia View Post
You are right in Belgium first the civil Wedding and after the religious Wedding, except in this case where the King's Mistress was pregnant !
In 1941, Cardinal Van Roey was concerned for pastoral reasons that Leopold III, in captivity at Laeken, should marry Liliane Baels.

The Cardinal believed it was unsuitable for a Roman Catholic monarch to be pursuing his involvement with Liliane Baels without being married to her. Within the parameters of his ecclesiastical point of view, it is understandable how the Cardinal came to this conclusion. However, advice to Leopold III, while he was in captivity, was considerably less broad than if he had been in direct communication with the Belgian government. The voices of Cardinal Van Roey and of his mother Queen Elizabeth - both of whom favored Leopold marrying Liliane Baels in the circumstances that then prevailed - were thus proportionately much stronger than they otherwise might have been.

But we may recall what had occurred 32 years earlier. When Leopold II had wanted to marry - and indeed did religiously marry - Baroness de Vaughan, any preceding civil ceremony would in practical terms have had to have received ministerial approval. The fact that Leopold II did not marry Baroness de Vaughan firstly in a civil ceremony is probably highly indicative that such ministerial approval would not have been given.

Actually, if in 1941 the Belgian government in exile had been able to deliberate on the question of Leopold III's marriage to Liliane Baels and to have been able to maintain meaningful, private communication with him, it is doubtful that the aim of stopping Leopold at all costs from marrying Liliane Baels would have been regarded in the longer term as a high priority of its war effort. In which case, the Belgian legal order: first the civil ceremony, then any religious ceremony, could have been maintained. However, this is all highly hypothetical and the poor relations between Leopold III and the Belgian government in exile revolved also around various other unrelated matters, which somehow get caught up rhetorically around Leopold's evocative remarriage to Liliane Baels, whom he of course named Princess de Réthy.

If Leopold III, hypothetically with ministerial blessing, had firstly married Liliane Baels in a civil ceremony, then it is also doubtful that, in terms of its priorities, the Belgian government would have regarded the religious ceremony with the level of importance that Cardinal Van Roey did.

Leopold II did not live long after marrying Baroness de Vaughan. Leopold III lived for over 40 years after marrying Liliane Baels; and Princess de Réthy herself lived for over 60 years afterwards.
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  #40  
Old 04-29-2014, 04:54 PM
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In 1876 King Leopold II summoned Baron Auguste Lambermont to his palace.
Baron Lambermont was a civil servant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Leopold II said to him:

I would like to do something in Africa. You know exactly what the explorers have done there and together we shall see what we can make of it with a powerful humanitarian objective - my only concern and aim.
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