King Leopold III of The Belgians (1901-1983)
King Leopold III (1901-1983)
This thread is about King Leopold III The Belgians (Brussels 09 Nov 1901- Woluwe-Saint-Lambert 25 Sept 1983)
Parents: King Albert I of The Belgians and Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria
1st wife: Princess Astrid of Sweden
2nd wife: Lilian Baels
Children 1st marriage: Grand-Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, King Baudouin I and King Albert II of The Belgians
Children 2nd marriage: Prince Alexander, Princess Marie-Esmeralda and Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium
Siblings: Prince Charles of Belgium, Count of Flanders and Queen Marie-Jose of Italy
Note that all images posted in this thread by me are free of copyrights, unless stated differently. The TRF policy conserning copyrights has not changed
Leopold III (Léopold Philippe Charles Albert Meinrad Hubertus Marie Miguel (French) or Leopold Filips Karel Albert Meinrad Hubertus Maria Miguel (Dutch)) (November 3, 1901 – September 25, 1983) reigned as King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951, when he abdicated in favour of his Heir Apparent, his son Baudouin.
Leopold III was born in Brussels as Prince Leopold of Belgium, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke in Saxony, and succeeded to the throne of Belgium on February 23, 1934 on the death of his father, King Albert I.
Crown Prince Leopold, while still a teenager, fought as a private during World War I with the 12th Belgian Regiment. After the war, in 1919, the Crown Prince Leopold was enrolled at St. Anthony Seminary in Santa Barbara, California.
In Stockholm, on November 4, 1926, he married Princess Astrid of Sweden who later became Queen Astrid of the Belgians. She was born in Stockholm on November 17, 1905, the youngest daughter of Prince Carl of Sweden and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark.
The marriage produced three children:
On September 11, 1941, King Leopold III married morganatically, Lilian Baels, who was born in Highbury, London on November 28, 1916. Known as Princess de Rethy, she died on June 7, 2002.
Read the entire wikipedia article here.
From the website of the Belgian RF and free of copyrights:
Birth in Brussels, of Leopold, Philippe, Charles, Albert, Meinrad, Hubert, Marie, Miguel, son of Prince Albert and Princess Elisabeth, future King and Queen of the Belgians. He was the great nephew of King Leopold II, who was reigning at the time, and was his godfather.
On the death of Leopold II, Albert acceded to the throne and Leopold became the Duke of Brabant, the title given to the heir to the throne in Belgium.
Leopold joined the army, in the 12th Line Regiment.
He entered the Military Academy.
He was made a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Grenadiers.
He undertook a long study trip to the Congo.
In Stockholm, Prince Leopold met Princess Astrid of Sweden, born on 17 November 1905, daughter of Prince Karl and niece of King Gustav V. The wedding took place in November of the same year.
On 11 October, birth of Princess Josephine-Charlotte, Grand-Duchess of Luxembourg from 1964 to 2000.
On 7 September, birth of Prince Baudouin, future King of the Belgians (1951-1993).
On 23 February, Leopold III succeeded Albert I.
On 6 June, birth of Albert, future King of the Belgians (1993- ).
During a trip to Switzerland, the Queen died in a car accident at Küssnacht, and the King was injured.
King Leopold announced a neutrality policy for Belgium, which had until then been an explicit ally of France and the United Kingdom. The Sovereign hoped that this would spare Belgium from the imminent German threat.
On 10 May, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium nevertheless. On 28 May, King Leopold, Commander-in-Chief of the Belgian Army, was compelled to surrender unconditionally. He took this decision against the wishes of the government (which had withdrawn to France), and it would be one of the reasons for the "Royal question" that would lead to the abdication of the Sovereign.
Leopold married Mrs. Lilian Baels, who then took the title of Princess de Rethy. Three children were born of this marriage: Alexandre, Marie-Christine and Marie-Esmeralda.
On 7 June, the day after Allied troops landed on the Continent, the King and his family were deported to Germany and later Austria. They were liberated on 7 May 1945 by American troops. The King did not return immediately to Belgium. Due to opposition from part of the population, Prince Charles, Count of Flanders, and the King's brother, continued to rule as regent due to Leopold III's "impossibility of reigning".
In the absence of a political solution to the controversy about the King, the government adopted a law organising a referendum on whether or not the King should return. The response of the electorate was 57.68 % in favour, with sizeable regional disparities.
On 20 July, with a majority "yes" vote in the country as a whole, the government asked the Chambers of Parliament to vote that it was no longer impossible for the King to reign.
On 22nd July, the King returned to Brussels.
But on 11 August, after violent incidents, of Leopold III proposed to transfer his royal powers to his son, Prince Baudouin. On 11 August, Prince Baudouin became the "Prince Royal".
Leopold III decided that it was impossible to reconcile Belgians about him as their King. So in a spirit of reconciliation, he renounced the Throne. Prince Baudouin succeeded him on 17 July. After that, King Leopold devoted his time mainly to scientific research and journeys of exploration.
On 25 September, death of Leopold III.
Free of copyrights, from Columbia encyclopedia:
Leopold III, king of the Belgians 1901–83, king of the Belgians (1934–51), son and successor of Albert I. In 1936, Leopold announced a fundamental change in foreign policy; Belgium abandoned its military alliance with France in favor of a return to neutrality. In May, 1940, Germany—which in 1937 had guaranteed Belgian neutrality—invaded the Low Countries. Leopold led the Belgian army in resisting the invaders. After the defense became hopeless, Leopold, over the opposition of his cabinet, surrendered unconditionally (May 28), thus provoking accusations of treason. A prisoner of war at his castle at Laken, Leopold refused to exercise an active rule under German tutelage. After his first wife, Astrid, was killed in an automobile accident while Leopold was at the wheel, he married (1941) a commoner, whom he later created princess of Réthy. Removed (1944) to Germany, Leopold was freed by Allied troops in 1945. His return to Belgium was a burning political issue. The Liberal and leftist parties accused him of cooperation with Nazi Germany and of fascist sympathies, and his main support came from the Catholic Conservatives. In 1945, Leopold was barred from returning without the permission of the parliament. He spent his exile mostly in Switzerland while his brother, Prince Charles, acted as regent. A referendum held in 1950 favored the king’s return by a slight majority. However, Leopold’s arrival in Belgium was followed by such unrest that he transferred the royal powers to his eldest son, Baudouin. In July, 1951, Leopold formally abdicated.
Two pictures of a young Leopold in uniform:
King King Leopold and his wife Astriud, born Princess of Sweden:
King Leopolds wife Queen Astrid died in a car accident in Switzerland. Here some pictures of Leopold at the funeral:
King Leopold III married during WWII with Lilian Baels. This marriage caused a lot of controversy and was one of the reason that the King had to abdicate in 1950:
1950: Government falls as Belgians vote for king
The Belgian government has collapsed over a referendum on the return from exile of King Leopold III.
Sunday's vote showed a narrow majority of 57.7% of votes in favour of the king being allowed back from Switzerland. But the result highlighted sharp divisions within the country and cabinet.
There was no majority for the king in the Walloon region or in the Brussels district - but in areas like Flanders, there was a 72% majority for the king's return.
In cabinet, the Liberals argued the king could return to the throne only if a majority in all areas had voted for him. They refused to recall a joint session of both houses of parliament to rescind the regency law and then pulled out of the Catholic-Liberal coalition, prompting the government's collapse.
Read the entire BBC article here.
King Leopold III, Queen Juliana of The Netherlands, Princesses Esmeralda, Marie-Christine, the princess de Rethy, Crownprincess Beatrix of The Netherlands, King Baudouin:
With Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands:
The King with his two sons:
Leopold III with his brother Charles and his eldest son:
The King honouring doctors of WWI at a memorial:
Two more of Leopold III and his glamorous second wife:
Leopold and his parents, Queen Elisabeth and King Albert I:
King Leopold III, his second wife Lilian and his children from his first marriage:
Liddell Hart about King Leopold III
Liddell Hart about King Leopold III
Although the British military establishment has never publicly acknowledged that King Leopold III and his army, by their prolonged resistance, saved the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in may 1940, the world famous military expert Liddell Hart saw no reason for such reticence.
In 1960, delivering a lecture to students and faculty at King College, Liddell Hart bluntly declared:
“The British army at Dunkirk was saved from destruction by King Leopold III of the Belgians”.
Captain Liddell Hart said that Sir Arthur Bryant’s claim that “the saving of the BEF was mainly due to Lord Alan Brooke” did not stand up to examination.
Hart went on to say: “The unfortunate Belgian Army absorbed the weight of the German frontal attack from the north. By the time the Belgian front had turned, the BEF had slipped out of reach and were nearing Dunkirk”.
Liddell Hart went further to say: “ If King Leopold III had left Belgium on May 25th , as his ministers and Churchill had urged him to do so, the Belgian army would have surrendered immediately, instead of fighting on until early morning of May 28th.
IF SO, THE BRITISH WOULD HAVE HAD VERY LITTLE CHANCE OF ESCAPING ENCIRCLEMENT, SO THAT IT COULD VERY REASONABLY BE CLAIMED THAT THEY WERE SAVED BY KING LEOPOLD III, WHO THEN WAS VIOLENTLY ABUSED BY BRITAIN AND FRANCE “
The Royal National Union for Soldiers (Koninklijke Nationale Strijdersbond) held a mass to commemorate King Leopold III on May 10 in Machelen.
Announcement from Het Nieuwsblad.
is it true he had an affair even when he was married to astrid???
I only heard of affairs when he was married to Lilian thus far (though I haven't read a biography about the king); but it is said that the king had a very active sexlife. I wouldn't be surprised if he cheated on his first wife too, esp. as in those days that was more accepted than now. '
Anyway, maybe somebody else knows more about the matter.
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