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Josefine 01-09-2003 12:59 PM

The Snow Princess: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Part 2

The Snow Princess:
Queen Astrid of Belgium (1905-1935)
By Art Beeche

At an evening ball, Astrid, a ravishing Swedish princess, danced all night with one of Europe's best looking princes, Leopold of Belgium. A little timid, Astrid did not dare look into the eyes of her handsome companion. Leopold's furtive eyes only made Astrid feel that all control was being lost to the charms of her dance partner. And as the night progressed, Leopold and Astrid never left each other's side.

Princess Astrid of Sweden was born on November 17, 1905. She was the youngest daughter of Prince Charles of Sweden, Duke of Vastergotland, and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. Astrid's grandparents were King Oscar II of Sweden and King Frederick VIII of Denmark. Astrid's sister, Princess Martha, married the future King Olaf V of Norway. Her eldest sister, Princess Margaretha married Prince Axel of Denmark, while her only brother Prince Carl, Duke of Ostergotland, married morganatically.

Some months later, King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium invited the press to the royal palace in Brussels. "The Queen and I, declared Albert, would like to announce to you the impending marriage between Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant and the Princess Astrid of Sweden. We are convinced that the princess will bring joy and happiness to our son. Leopold and Astrid have decided to join their lives without any pressures or reasons of state. Theirs is a true union among people with the same inclinations." Queen Elisabeth, incorrigible romantic that she was, insisted in saying "It is a marriage of love...tell it to our people. Nothing was arranged. Not a single political consideration prevailed in our son's decision." Leopold and Astrid were married in Brussels on November 10, 1926.

Astrid was immediately adopted by the Belgians. She was tender, understanding and profoundly human. Her public and official engagements irradiated enthusiasm. Leopold was her most fervent admirer. The love shared by the young couple was evident to all. In more than one occasion people could see them holding hands, even during official engagements.

Queen Astrid of Belgium (1905-1935)

On October 11, 1927, the Duchess of Brabant gave birth to her first child: a beautiful baby baptized with the name of Josephine-Charlotte. Almost three years later, an heir was born. He was given the name of Baudouin in memory of his deceased great-uncle who was supposed to have been king. Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium married Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg; while Baudouin married doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón. The couple's youngest child, Albert, married donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria and inherited the Belgian throne from his brother Baudouin in 1993. The present heir to the Belgian throne, Prince Philippe, is the eldest son of Albert and Paola.

In 1930, the Belgian press gave extensive coverage to the birth of the long awaited royal heir. Leopold was on his way to visit some areas away from Brussels when the Duchess of Brabant went into labor. The royal palace immediately sent him a telegram that reached Leopold at a stop during his journey. The royal palace's message announced the impending birth of the couple's second child. Without thinking twice about the day's engagements, Leopold returned to Brussels immediately.

Prince Leopold and King Albert walked anxiously in the garden at Stuyvenberg Palace while the Duchess of Brabant began her labor. Next to Astrid were her mother, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, and her mother-in-law Queen Elisabeth. At 4:15 pm the royal physicians proudly announced the healthy birth of a little prince. The sound of cannon silenced the general happiness expressed by the people of Brussels.

At Stuyvenberg, not far away from Laeken Palace, the young Duchess of Brabant, raised in the simplicity of the Scandinavian courts, joyfully raised her growing family. At a small villa in the palace grounds, Astrid cooked for her family. And every time she could, Astrid would stroll along the Avenue Louise with her children. The Court Marshall vehemently protested against these promenades. "They break protocol," he would say. Yet in her simplicity, Astrid would retort by saying "But I'm just another mother, am I not?" She even went as far as joining the crowds during a military revue in an effort to see her promenading husband at the head of his regiment.

On February 23, 1934, just days after the tragic climbing accident which claimed King Albert's life, Leopold and Astrid made their solemn entry into Parliament. The new monarchs were accompanied by Josephine-Charlotte and Baudouin. Leopold swore allegiance to the country's constitution while claiming that he "would give myself entirely to the country." Astrid, transported by the events she was witnessing lifted her young son and offered him to the country. A new reign was inaugurated.

A few months later, on June 6, 1934, Astrid gave birth to yet another little prince, Albert. The popularity of the Belgian royal family new no bounds. Astrid's only regret was not being able to spend more time with the children. In August, 1935, the royal couple, accompanied by their two eldest children, traveled to their villa Haslihorn, on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The placid vacation allowed Leopold and Astrid to spend considerable time walking and climbing in the countryside. The day before their return to Brussels, Leopold and Astrid decided to go for one last excursion. Like his father, Leopold was an avid mountaineer, and had climbed the Dolomites several times. The children had already returned to Brussels.

On August 29, 1935, the monarchs left their villa for a last fateful climb. Driving his sports car along the winding, narrow roads of the region, Leopold was looking forward to the day's events. Seated next to him, Astrid helped her husband with directions to their destination. Just a few minutes before arriving at the village of Kussnacht-am-Rigi, Astrid pointed out something to her husband. Leopold took his eyesight away from the road for an instant. Suddenly, the car plunged down a ravine. Queen Astrid was violently ejected from the automobile. Her lifeless body laid on the grass near the wreckage. Witnesses recalled a single scream, "Astrid," as a devastated Leopold held her bloodied body next to his chest.


Josefine 01-09-2003 01:38 PM

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Josefine 01-09-2003 01:50 PM

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great pictures

Josefine 01-09-2003 01:52 PM

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one more pictures

Josefine 01-09-2003 01:53 PM

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before the wedding

Josefine 01-09-2003 01:54 PM

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just before the wedding

Josefine 01-09-2003 01:58 PM

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prays fro queen Astrid

Mary Anne 01-09-2003 04:14 PM

Those are beautiful pictures

Josefine 12-29-2003 02:56 PM

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Josefine 11-18-2005 12:41 PM

was she a well known princess in sweden before her marrige?

elenaris 01-30-2006 04:07 PM

Yes, I think she was
She and her sisters, were well known for being 3 beautiful sisters in age of getting married and of very good family. All of them made beautiful weddings...

Royal Fan 01-30-2006 08:02 PM

Man she sure was Beautiful :)

soCal girl 01-30-2006 10:07 PM

It's such a shame she died such a tragic death. It's sweet that they truly loved each other, so many royal marriages were arranged that it was questionable whether royal couples loved each other or not. Leopold and Astrid seemed to have been such a romantic couple. <3

Daneborn 01-31-2006 05:24 AM


Originally Posted by soCal girl
It's such a shame she died such a tragic death. It's sweet that they truly loved each other, so many royal marriages were arranged that it was questionable whether royal couples loved each other or not. Leopold and Astrid seemed to have been such a romantic couple. <3

This is what you get for wreckless driving.

Death doesn't care if you are beautiful or romantic.

soCal girl 01-31-2006 08:25 PM

Yes, it was reckless for Leopold for not watching the road. But everybody once in a while will look at something off the road, especially if someone is pointing something out and accidents happen.

juliamontague 06-05-2006 04:10 PM

The Snow Princess: Queen Astrid Of Belgium, Part 2

Originally Posted by Lisele
Thank you for a tribute in words and in pictures to a wonderful woman that was cut down in the prime of her life, leaving a husband, 3 children under 10 and another on the way that died with her, at the beginning of her husband's reign. Truly a tragic tale. I wonder if her children even vividly remember her they were so young :(

I don't know if any of you noticed but 52 years later, another princess died in an automobile accident roughly the same time of the year? Chlling coincidence or history repeating itself.

Astrid was pregnant?
I didn't know that.

Kelly 06-05-2006 04:34 PM

Yes, whe was pregnant with her fourth child. So sad...

Fie 06-27-2006 06:34 PM

Mmmm, it was never made official that she was pregnant. Also a longtime friend of Astrid, Countess Anna Spärre born Adelswärd never talks about the possibility, although she was allways one of the first to hear about Astrid's pregnancies. The book "Astrid, my friend" also states that Anna spend part of their summer holliday of 1935 with them in the Italian Dolomites climbing. I don't think that a pregnant woman would have been given the ok to go climbing, not as shortly after King Albert's climbing accident in 1934. Personally I really doubt that she was pregnant although there has been some speculation ever since...

alejandro_sk 07-11-2006 05:34 AM

I know queen Astrid died in a car accident but does anyone know how it happened? Who was driving? Was another car involved? Did she fall off the car? Where did the accident take place? Was anyone else hurt?
Sorry for so many questions and thank you in advance for the answers!

martha-louise 07-11-2006 11:22 AM

Queen Astrid was on holiday in Küssnacht in Switserland with her husband. Leopold III was driving a cabriolet car and Astrid was sitting next to him. Nobody is really shure how the accident went, but they guess that Astrid had a map on her knees while she was pointing at a mountain. The king looked at the map and lost his sight on the road. He hit the border, the car went down to the lake. Astrid flew out the car against a tree, she was killed immediately. When the police and the ambulance came they first didn't realise it was the king and queen of Belgium. Afterwards the king wanted the car to be thrown in the lake, so today the car is still in the lake.

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