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Marengo 09-07-2007 08:17 PM

Prince Charles, Count of Flanders (1903-1983)
Prince Charles (1903-1983)

This thread is about Prince Charles of Belgium, Count of Flanders (Brussels, 10 October 1903 - Ostend 1 June, 1983)

Parents: King Albert I of The Belgians and Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria

Ill. daughter: Isabelle

Siblings: King Leopold III of The Belgians and Queen Marie-Jose of Italy

Note that the pictures posted in this thread by me are free of copyrghts.

Marengo 09-10-2007 12:07 PM

Prince Charles, Count of Flanders (Charles Théodore Henri Antoine Meinrad; 10 October 1903 – 1 June 1983) was the second son of Albert I, King of the Belgians and Queen Elizabeth. He reigned in lieu of his older brother Leopold III from 1944 until 1950 as Prince Regent until Leopold could return to the throne. Shortly after however, Leopold abdicated in favour of his Heir Apparent, his son Baudouin I.
Prince Charles was appointed Regent when the German occupation ended in 1944. The role of his brother Leopold III during World War II as well as his marriage to Lilian Baels was questioned and he became too controversial to remain on the throne.

Read the entire wikipedia article here.

Marengo 09-12-2007 07:54 AM

Charles Theodor Henri Anton Meinrad (10 October 1903 - 1 June 1983), Count of Flanders (from 1910), Prince of Belgium, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (untill 1915) was regent of Belgium form 1944 to 1950. He was the second son of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth, nee Duchess in Bavaria.

Below: two pictures of Charles/Karel and his elder brother Leopold, the future King Leopold III:

Marengo 09-13-2007 11:15 AM

The prince and his siblings are usually in the care of nanny´s, a governess and their teachers and had little contact with their parents. Summers they usually spend in the royal Chalet in Ostend, at the Belgian coast, with sometimes a fieldtrip to the Norwegian chalet in Raversijde. When WWI started the three children were brought to Great-Britain, Prince Charles would stay there for the entire war. First as a guest of Lord Curzon at Castle Hackwood in Hapshire and from 1915 at the Public School of Wixenford in Wokingham, Berkshire. In 1917 he started his education in the British Navy at the Royal Naval College in Osbourne, and later n Dartmouth. He joins the Prince of Wales on HMS Renown for a trip to the far East. In June 1926 he completes his last exams at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich and after his diploma he is under-lieutenant in the British navy.

Marengo 09-13-2007 11:24 AM

In 1926 he finally returned to Belgium and started lessons at the Royal Militairy School in Brussels. In the mean time he takes part in the official events of the family. After the death of his father in 1934 and due to the enormous polularity of his brother Leopold and his Swedish wife Astrid he slowly gets more and more in the background for the Belgian press and public. He did however make the press due to marriage speculations about Crownprincess Juliana of The Netherlands. dispite his catholic background the press considers him a perfect candidate for Juliana. Queen Wilhelmina however has a different opinion, but she suspects that in Brussels Leopold and Astrid are working against her and the Dutch diplomats who wanted to arrange a marriage between Juliana and Prince Karl of Sweden, brother of Astrid. It was suspected that the Belgian couple would prefer a marriage to the Belgian Charles, and thus tried to influence Swedish Carl to use his energies elsewhere. It is not known if the suspicions of the Dutch Queen and her diplomats had any truth, it is more likely that they were frustrated about their search for a suitable husband for Juliana.

Left, Prince Charles in a uniform and on the right Charles with his parents and siblings:

Marengo 09-13-2007 11:25 AM

Charles himself wouldn t have regretted the failed match with Juliana as he was madly in love with Jacqueline Wehrli, a daughter of a baker from Brussels who delivered bread to the court. His brother and his mother Queen Elisabeth absolutely forbade him to marry a commoner. Charles was bitter about this refusal, especially because Leopold himself married the commoner Lilian Baels during the second WW. He never forgave his brother.

In 1938 a daughter was born from this marriage, Isabelle. His family didn´t allow him to adopt her, but Charles became her godfather. His sister Crownprincess Marie-Jose of Italy, helped by her mother, arranged a marriage of Jacqueline with a retired militair with the last name Wybo. In 1947 Jacqueline became ill, Charles nursed her during her illness but to no avail, she died. His daughter Isabelle Wybo saw her father frequently but the two had a lot of arguments as they had the same stuborn character. Isabelle never married and lives anonimously in Brussels.

Charles at the vatican with his family, He is standing between his mother Queen Elisabeth and his sister-in-law Crownprincess Astrid:

Marengo 09-13-2007 11:27 AM

During the second World War the prince lived discretely in Brussels. During the war he was active in aid to prisoners of war. He spent the last months of the war in the Walloon village of Sart, near Spa where he was hiding in secret. Here he was known as ´Monsieur Richard´ and he helped the resistance in secret.

A pictures of Charles and his siblings Leopold and Marie-Jose:

Marengo 09-13-2007 11:27 AM

Due to King Leopolds absence (he was in Austria) Prince Charles was elected regent at September 20th 1944. He did his duties precisely and received all kinds of militairy leaders and heads of state like King George VI, Queen Wilhelmina, Eisenhower, Churchill, De Gaulle, Montgomry etc. In 1945 President Truman made him Commander Legion of Merit. The most important issue in Belgian politics was what to do with the King. As a result of heated debates no less then 9 different goverments succeed each other in the 6 years of Charles´ regency.

On May 12th a plebeside was held which resulted in the return of the King. When Charles was told about the result his bitterness appaerd: he became furious and turned red. Especially in the Walloon areas of Belgium this caused an uproar and fierce protests, which resulted in Leopold III´s abdication, he was succeeded by his son Baudouin.

Picture 1
Picture 2

Marengo 09-13-2007 11:28 AM

After King Baudouin was installed, Prince Charles felt brushed aside. He was regent in difficult times and had saved the monatchy, he hoped at least to become a sort of travelling ambassador for the country. But the court refused that, they didn´t need him anymore. They offered him a dotation of 4 million francs a year but he refused ´I am not doing anything for the country now´.

Prince Charles withdrew to his estate near the beach in Ravensijde. Under the name ´Karel van Vlaanderen´ he is dedicating himself to drawing and painting, under the supervision of the painter Alfred Bastien. He showed his works for the first time to the public at the gallery Racines in Brussels in 1973. Even critics were positive about his works and called him a ´Fauvist´. From that moment he has several exhibitions, the prince stopped his artitic carreer in 1981.

A picture of Ravensijde

A painting of Ravensijde:

Marengo 09-13-2007 02:27 PM

Charles received many women ar Ravensijde. The pretty Dutch Karine Vernooy for example. She was 20, he was 60 when he got her to move in with him. Ten years later, when the Prince got into financial difficulties she left him. Before Karine the Prince had a liaison with the French Renée Damoiseau. He couldn´t let her go and he had a caravan placed in his estaten where he could receive her. When Karine was beeping him he said that he was controlling the builders on his estate. It wasn´t that the Prince was a womaniser and he was after the women, but it was the other way around, the women were afetr him, for his money of course.

A picture of Charles and Karine

Below a postcard of Charles, his parents and siblings:

Marengo 09-13-2007 02:28 PM

In December 1981 Prince Charles sold his estate to the Belgian state. Two years later, June 1st 1983 he died in a hospital in Ostend. On June 7th he was burried with all the honours in Brussels and placed in his tomb in the Royal Crypt of Laeken.

Prince behind his desk

In old age

With his mother and brother:

Marengo 09-13-2007 02:34 PM

Mysterious flowers on the grave of an unmarried prince

´A mon cher epoux´ (To my beloved husband) is written on a ribbon that was attached to a flowerarangement that was placed on the grave of Pricne Charles in the Royal Crypt of Laeken. How is that possible, as far as is known Charles was never married.

It was Kucien De Cock, author of two books on burial places and burial rituals who discovered the ribbon sunday afternoon in the Crypt of Laeken. ´I was watching the flowers on the garve of King Baudouin but it was the large flower arrangement on Prince Charels´ tomb that caught my attention. I was completely surprised about the text ´A mon cher epoux´, to my beloved husband? Prince Charles never married, right?

Silent as a grave

Indeed, Prince Charles never officially married. Her wanted to, in the late 30-ties with Jaqueline Wehrli, a daughter of a baker from Brussels but his brother Leopold III forbade the marriage. A prince that married a girl who wasn´t a royal, not even an aristocrat, that was impossible. Charles and Jacqueline got a daughter in 1938. he wanted to adopt her but that wasn´t allowed either. An arranged marriage came from this, Jacqueline married a retired militair and Charles´daughter would be known as Isabelle Wybo.

Charles had a lot of friends, sometimes even several at the same time. There is a story that in his house at Raversijde he received the young Karine Vernooy while in a caravan in his garden a Dancer from Brussels, Renée Damoiseau was waiting for him.

But now there was supposed to be a real marriage. Supposed, as no prove was ever given for it. On September 14th 1977 he might have been married a Jacquenline de Peyrebrune in Paris. He met her during the war in the resistance, he was Monsieur Richard, she Madame Schaak. Charles himself never said a word about the marriage, documents that would prove that a marriage had taken place disappeared and the Belgian court doesn´t say a word about this marriage: ´no comment´.

But who gave the flowers that were placed on the tomb of Charles? In the royal crypt nobody is allowed to say a word about it. Lucien de Cock: ´They have to know because you can not just leave flowers at a grave´.

The flowers

Marengo 09-13-2007 02:35 PM

This timeline is from the website of the Royal Family and free of copyrights:

Birth on 10 October, in Brussels, of Charles-Theodore, Henri, Antoine, Meinrad, second son of Prince Albert and Princess Elisabeth, née Duchess en Bavière, future King and Queen of the Belgians.

On 31 January, King Albert I bestowed the title of "Count of Flanders" on Prince Charles.
Prince Charles received his primary education in Brussels.

Prince Charles, who was staying in the United Kingdom, continued his education there before joining the Royal Naval College at Osborne on the Isle of Wight.

The Prince was admitted to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, a cadet training school for future Royal Navy Officers.

Having completed his naval training in Dartmouth, Prince Charles spent periods on board various British warships.
The Prince continued his naval training at the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth, and completed it at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, which he left in April 1926 as an honorary Lieutenant.

He attended courses at the Royal Military Academy and was assigned to the First Pathfinder Regiment, where he was appointed Second Lieutenant. He regularly spent periods serving in this Regiment and attended training camps.
Like other members of the Royal Family, Prince Charles fulfilled various official engagements throughout the country.

On 19 September, he was made a Colonel. During the period of mobilisation, and then during the 18-day campaign, he was assigned to the Headquarters of the Cavalry Corps.

During the period of our country's occupation by German troops, Prince Charles led a quiet life in Brussels. During the months preceding the liberation of Belgium, he lived under a false identity in a Walloon village.

On the liberation of Belgium, King Leopold III was not in the country, having been deported to Germany by the occupiers. As the Constitution provides for the possibility of a Regency, Prince Charles was made Regent of the Kingdom by the Combined Chambers of Parliament.
On 20 September 1944, Prince Charles took the constitutional oath. He exercised the royal prerogatives until 20 July 1950.

During the Regency, home policy was dominated by the Royal Question, and the consequences of the Second World War; No fewer than nine governments came and went between September 1944 and August 1950.
Economic activity was quickly re-established. In October 1944, Finance Ministers Gutt implemented a package of budget cuts. Belgium also benefited from American aid under the Marshall Plan. Reconstruction of the property destroyed was stimulated by compensation for war damage and by the law of 29 May 1948, which made grants available for the construction of social housing.

An important political milestone was the introduction of votes for women in parliamentary elections (law of 19 February 1948).

In the social field, the Decree of 28 December 1944, for which the foundations had been laid before the war, gave rise to the social security system that we have today. Later draft legislation provided for the setting up of joint committees and works councils, the Central Economic Council and the National Labour Council.

On the international stage, a number of steps are worthy of mention: the Foundation of the economic union between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux) in 1944, as well as Belgian membership of the United Nations Organisation (UNO) in 1945, of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 1948 and the Council of Europe in 1949.

The war had pushed the quarrels between Flemish and Walloons into the background, but they did not disappear. In order to tackle the problem holistically, the law of 3 May 1948 set up the "Study Centre for the National Solution of the Social, Political and Legal Questions of the Various Regions of the Country" (the Centre Harmel, which takes its name from its founder, the Walloon Christian Democrat member of parliament, and future Prime Minister Harmel).

Prince Charles withdrew from public life. He stayed mainly in his village on the royal estate at Raversijde (Ostend). The Prince draws and paints, and has many contacts with artistic circles. His works, which he exhibited regularly between 1973 and 1981, are signed "Charles of Flanders".

Prince Charles died on 1 June in Ostend.

Marengo 09-13-2007 05:05 PM

The prince waiting on an airport for the arrival of the Prince of Wales:

Two more images:

ysbel 09-14-2007 05:44 AM

Thanks Marengo for sharing this story about Charles. I imagine he did resent being looked over when Badouin came to the throne. Why do you think that is? Was he not close to the rest of the family?

I also wondered if he and Leopold was multilingual in German and French (because of their Bavarian mother) or whether they spoke just French. I imagine that knowing German could have helped them with Flemish.

Marengo 09-14-2007 08:25 AM

Now, I think he was a bit of an outcast really. His relationship with Leopold III was rather restrained (he esp. blamed his brother for his refusal to let Charles marry Jacqueline Wehrli, while Leopold himself married a commonor in the middle of WWII too! And he even gave his children from that marriage full titles) His relationship with the pious Baudouin and Fabiola was not very good either. Not very surprising of course, Charles was a more loose tyoe, as is Laurent was also considered to loose for his uncle and aunt too and had/has a difficult relationship with them. We also have to bear in mind that Charles had a temper, a bad temper and probably wasn't much appreciated at court. His distaste of his Belgian relatives was taken into the grave, he left his few possissions to his sister Marie-Jose, among them a tiara that was recently auctioned of.

Charles made several remarks in public about the RF, most notably that he thought it was rediculous that some members who didnt do much for the country received a dotation. I presume he meant his brother with this. Charles himself refused a dotation from the state, but due to his mater nal grandmothers inheritance he was able to do that without coming into too great financial difficulties.

ysbel 09-14-2007 08:43 AM

Thanks Marengo. I imagine Charles would be upset at Leopold denying his marriage when he married Liliane during WWII. He appeared to be a very capable man who unfortunately rubbed some people the wrong way.

Its curious Leopold's reputation during WWII was not that good; what were Queen Elisabeth's leanings during the two world wars and do you think they influenced her sons at all? She was in a difficult position of her adopted country being at war with her native country. Some queens like Queen Alexandrine of Denmark totally adopted the loyalties of their new country while others retained some loyalties to their native lands.

LIII 12-11-2008 09:24 PM

The plebiscite on the fate of King Leopold III was held on March 12 1950.
Not the date you have shown .

Ralf 12-28-2008 05:57 PM

Looking for pics (NP)
I'm looking for pictures of Jacqueline Peyrebrune (b. 1921), wife of Charles, prince of Belgium, count of Flanders (1904-1983).
Does anyone have some?

Thanks for the reply.

MAfan 03-02-2009 02:27 PM

Was the marriage between the Count of Flanders and Jacqueline Peyrebrune legally valid? I've never understood it...

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