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Julia 02-06-2003 06:02 PM

The Snow Princess: Queen Astrid Of Belgium, Part 1
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.

From:European Royal History

Julia 02-06-2003 06:20 PM

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Queen Astrid of Belgium...

Josefine 07-09-2003 04:41 PM

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Cathérine Bergeyck 08-17-2003 03:38 PM

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Cathérine Bergeyck 08-18-2003 06:53 PM

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Official portrait

Cathérine Bergeyck 08-18-2003 06:54 PM

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With her mother, princess Ingeborg of Sweden

Cathérine Bergeyck 08-18-2003 06:56 PM

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With her husband, king Léopold III

Cathérine Bergeyck 08-18-2003 06:59 PM

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With her children

Bianca 08-21-2003 02:15 PM

She looks a lot like my G-Grandmother Anna-Margarethe...I guess people really do have a twin in the world! Queen Astrid was like Diana, Princess of Wales in her day....young, beautiful, popular and died in a car accident at a young age.. :(

Julia 08-26-2003 09:56 AM

Wonderful pictures, Catherine! Thank you!

Cathérine Bergeyck 08-26-2003 10:17 AM

Engagement photo of crown prince Léopold of Belgium and princess Astrid of Sweden, 1926.}

Her first arrival in Belgium, after the announcement of the engagement. Belgium immediately fell in love with her.}

Cathérine Bergeyck 08-26-2003 10:27 AM}

Visiting a museum}

Cathérine Bergeyck 08-26-2003 10:31 AM

With her daughter, Joséphine-Charlotte, the former grand duchess of Luxemburg.}

At the baptism of her youngest son, prince Albert of Belgium, the actual king of the belgians. (1934)}

Cathérine Bergeyck 08-26-2003 10:44 AM

During the crisis years in the thirties queen Astrid started an action to help the poor.}

Etienne,DuchessofBurgundy 08-30-2003 06:58 AM

29 August 1935 Switzerland:
Queen Astrid of Belgium is killed in a motor accident. She was aged 30 years. The King, who was driving the car, was seriously injured.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-05-2003 01:07 PM

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Queen astrid on her death bed, 1935. She was pregnant of her fourth child.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-07-2003 11:14 AM

Princess Astrid of Sweden, 1926, picture made before her engagement.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-07-2003 11:38 AM

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Cathérine Bergeyck 09-07-2003 04:07 PM

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Astrid and Leopold around the time of their wedding, 1926.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-07-2003 04:11 PM

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Their wedding in Belgium, November 1926. Astrid waves to the crowd with her bouquet of flowers.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-07-2003 04:14 PM

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The official wedding picture

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-09-2003 02:20 PM

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Queen Astrid, painted by G. Bernhard Österman.

Princess_Elizaveta 09-10-2003 01:27 AM

Beautiful pictures for a Beautiful Queen! :heart:

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-12-2003 05:37 AM

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Cathérine Bergeyck 09-12-2003 05:52 AM

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Astrid and Leopold with Baudouin and Joséphine-Charlotte.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-12-2003 08:13 AM

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Astrid and Leopold

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-12-2003 08:14 AM

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Cathérine Bergeyck 09-12-2003 08:16 AM

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King Leopold, queen Astrid and her uncle, king Gustav V of sweden.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-12-2003 08:18 AM

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1934, Leopold and Astrid, the new king and queen of the Belgians, after the tragic death of Albert I.

Astrid was expecting her third child, prince Albert.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 04:01 AM

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Astrid and Leopold in 1926

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 04:05 AM

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queen Astrid and her youngest son, Albert.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 04:08 AM

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Astrid with Joe-Joe and Bobo (as they were called at home)

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 04:13 AM

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On 29th August 1935 queen Astrid of the Belgians dies in a car accident near Küssnacht, in Switzerland.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 11:26 AM

Army soldiers march through the streets at queen Astrid's funeral, September 1935.}

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 12:03 PM

With her first son, Baudouin, 1930.}

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 12:05 PM

with her second son, Albert, the present king of the Belgians.}

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-16-2003 12:06 PM

With her 3 children, 1934}

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-24-2003 02:00 PM

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At her very first arrival in Belgium, November 1926. Astrid kissing her fiancé Leopold.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-24-2003 02:04 PM

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1985, 50 years after her death, King Baudouin, his brother prince Albert (with his wife princess Paola), and his sister grand duchess Josephine-Charlotte pay an official visit to the place where their mother died.

USCtrojan 09-24-2003 04:53 PM

From the photo above, is that a photo of a monument to her or photo of her grave site in Switzerland? Or was she buried in Belgium in the family plot with the rest of the Kings and Queens?

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-25-2003 05:04 AM

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She was burried in Belgium (in the royal crypt with the rest of the belgian RF), but on the place where she died, Küssnacht in Switzerland, there's a monument and a chapel.

USCtrojan 09-25-2003 12:43 PM

What a beautiful memorial to remember such a beautiful woman. Thank You Catherine for your info and help.


Josefine 09-25-2003 01:02 PM

thank you for the many pictures

Etienne,DuchessofBurgundy 09-27-2003 01:34 AM

Amazing pictures. Thanks for posting. :flower:

solangedebn 10-07-2003 04:58 PM

Yes, thank you for the beautiful pictures. How very tragic for Queen Astrid and King Léopold. Did the king die shortly thereafter? I don't remember?

sara1981 10-07-2003 05:49 PM

me neither!

i cant remind about King and Queen Astrid and Leopard both died long times ago! what years both died ?

Sara Boyce

kristinvu 10-08-2003 04:48 AM

King Leopold died only in 1983.
He married Lilian Baels after the death of Astrid, remember.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-12-2003 08:28 AM

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Astrid with Joséphine-Charlotte and Baudouin, 1935.

Martine 10-12-2003 05:48 PM

did anyone else see the interview with Joshephine-Charlotte today?

I thought it was a bit freaky.

josephine-charlotte told how she one day found a grey hair in her mother's hair and that she said:"Now you have to die mumy" and that was just a few days before astrid's dead... Really strange...

(Joshephine-charlotte didn't remember saying that i think , she knows it from a letter that astrid send to her mother Ingeborg)

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2003 04:35 PM

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Leopold and Astrid on wintersport

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2003 04:36 PM

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Astrid received a doll for her daughter

Cathérine Bergeyck 12-06-2003 09:16 AM

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on their wedding day

Cathérine Bergeyck 12-11-2003 02:34 PM

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Astrid with her two oldest children.

Cathérine Bergeyck 12-11-2003 02:38 PM

1933, at the wedding of Prince Knud, second son of King Christian of Denmark, and Princess Caroline-Mathilde. Astrid is standing on the first row, completely on the right, next to her mother Ingeborg and her sister Märtha.}

martha-louise 12-12-2003 12:48 PM

King Leopold had, what you can say, a tragic life with high tops and deep downs.
In 1926 he married with the snowprincess. Astrid told a friend at the householdschool that she had met a prince. One day she asked her friend if she wanted to cut the onion because Astrid didn't want that her hands would smell. :)
A while later she said to her friend that the leopold was in love with her and astrid asked what to do. her friend asked: "But do you love him" Astrid told that she was terrible in love with this very hansom man. "So go and marry him!" her friend said.
a little anekdote I heard ones on tv:)
i think it was the first marriage of a crownprince with a couple that was really in love.
1930 crownprince Baldouin was born, juin 1934 prince Albert cried for the first time. They were a happy family with 3 kids, the crisis of the early '30 was fading away, there was place for happiness.
But in the same year, king Albert felt of the rocks in Marches-les-Dammes, some critics doubt if it was really an accedent...
Suddenly Astrid and Leopold had to become king and queen, unfortunaly not foro long. the royal couple was very loved by their people.
1935 another terrible accident, Astrid dies in a car-crash in Küssnacht in Switserland.
Joséphine-Charlotte, prince Baudouin andPrince Albert who is only one year old lose their mother.
May 10th of 1940, after the attact at Poland and the memorable attack at Pearl Harbour, their is also an attack on Belgian.
For 18 days Belgian soldiers were fighting against the troups of Hitler.
But 28 of may, king leopold does something he will regrett, he signs the capitulation of Belgian without permission of the gouvernment. The gouvernment goes abroad, Leopold stays at the palace in Laken.
The lonely man as a prisonner who wanted to defend the belgian soldiers, was quit popular.
But Leopold wasn't so lonely, he felt in love with lilian baels.
the belgians were mad about that, more and more of them were againt the attitude of Leopold III. Also the gouvernment, that was the Royal Question.
I think the rest of the story is known by the most of you.

bye, martha-louise

Cathérine Bergeyck 12-12-2003 12:58 PM


Originally posted by martha-louise@Dec 12th, 2003 - 11:48 am

i think it was the first marriage of a crownprince with a couple that was really in love.

Albert I and Elisabeth (Leopold III 's parents) were also very in love with each other.

Cathérine Bergeyck 12-20-2003 08:03 AM

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Queen Astrid as a little girl.

Hannelore 12-28-2003 03:20 PM

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Hannelore 12-28-2003 03:22 PM

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Clamshell 01-04-2004 01:50 PM

My name is Astrid... my mom gave me this firstname because she really loved the Queen of Belgium. I could not find a lot of pictures of her... thank you Catherine for all those beautiful pictures, and I know a little bit more about this queen's history... Now I know why my mom loved her! ;o)

Cathérine Bergeyck 01-09-2004 05:12 PM

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My pleasure, Astrid!

Cathérine Bergeyck 01-09-2004 05:14 PM

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A happy mother with her daughter

Cathérine Bergeyck 01-10-2004 05:53 PM

Astrid as a young woman.}

Cathérine Bergeyck 01-10-2004 05:54 PM

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wedding picture of Astrid and Leopold.

Cathérine Bergeyck 01-10-2004 05:55 PM

Around 1915, Astrid is the girl in white, 2nd from the right.}

Hannelore 04-12-2004 09:37 AM

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with Josephine-Charlotte on a boat

Cathérine Bergeyck 05-16-2004 03:52 PM

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Leopold and the beautiful Astrid in 1930, on one of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the existence of Belgium

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-24-2004 05:57 AM

Going for a walk with her daughter in the pram, on the front at Ostend, 1930.

Princess Astrid liked to take care of her children herself (something unseen at Belgian court in those days)}

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-24-2004 10:02 AM

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1.Astrid around the time of her confirmation (18 years old)
2.Holding flowers
3.Engaged to crownprince Leopold of Belgium, picture taken in her home in

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-24-2004 10:04 AM

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1.With Baudouin and Joséphine-Charlotte, in the royal greenhouses of Laeken
2.Hugging her daughter
3.with prince Albert
4.During a visit to Congo

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-24-2004 10:06 AM

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1.With Leopold, king Albert I and her daughter in the park of Laeken
2.Astrid and Leopold
3.Kissing a child, during one of her Joyeuses Entrées

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-24-2004 10:08 AM

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1.beautiful astrid of Astrid with her autograph
3.Leopold and Astrid on their wedding day

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-24-2004 10:10 AM

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1.With Leopold, 1934 or 1935
2.with her first child
3.At an official duty
4.Astrid's mother, princess Ingeborg, with Joséphine-Charlotte

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-24-2004 10:15 AM

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1.Astrid as a child, with her sisters and brother (she's the one kneeling on the floor)
2.Astrid's parents with Joséphine-Charlotte and Baudouin
3.Astrid as a child, with her mother, princess Ingeborg of Denmark

Cathérine Bergeyck 07-26-2004 01:37 PM

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Astrid and Leopold

Don't you think Astrid looks like Mathilde in this picture?

Dennism 07-27-2004 01:38 AM

Thanks for all of the photos, Cathérine. They are great.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-21-2004 05:31 AM

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Some more pictures of Astrid

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-21-2004 05:32 AM

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1. Astrid with her son Albert
2. Astrid with Leopold and her brother and sister in law, princess Marie Jose and prince Charles.

Cathérine Bergeyck 09-23-2004 05:49 AM

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At expo 1935

Hannelore 09-30-2004 01:50 PM

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15 years old

Hannelore 10-08-2004 04:10 PM

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Astrid and Leopold visiting a Belgian church in London, 1933.

Hannelore 10-08-2004 06:44 PM

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Astrid at her arrival in Belgium, embracing Leopold.

source:Koninklijk Filmarchief.

Hannelore 10-08-2004 06:46 PM

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On her wedding day in 1926. She's preparing to leave for the St. Michiel en St. Goedele cathedral in Brussels.

source: koninklijk filmarchief.

Hannelore 10-08-2004 07:18 PM

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Leopold and Astrid at an aviation show in Evere. Leopold III was a pilote himself (see second photo).

Hannelore 10-08-2004 07:20 PM

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A souvenir from their wedding: a box with soap with royal portraits on them!! :)

Hannelore 10-09-2004 09:42 AM

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painting of queen Astrid by Leon De Smet (1881-1966). This painting hangs in the townhall of Antwerpen. Under it, a dress is kept: the one she wore on her joyeuse entrée as new queen of the Belgians in 1934 in Antwerpen.

Hannelore 10-16-2004 01:31 PM

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Queen Astrid and king Leopold at the baptism of princess Hélène d'Orléans in 1934. Astrid was her godmother.

Hannelore 10-16-2004 01:32 PM

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princess Astrid on board of the boat Fylgia, that brought her to her new country, Belgium.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:40 AM

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15 years old, with her sister Märtha

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:41 AM

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with leopold

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:43 AM

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At an official occasion, with Leopold, queen Elisabeth and king Albert I.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:47 AM

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At home, castle of Stuyvenberg, arranging flowers. Astrid really loved these homely things.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:48 AM

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1. In a museum
2. Official presentation of prince Baudouin.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:50 AM

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1926, Leopold and Astrid engaged, walking in the streets of Stockholm.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:52 AM

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1907: The Swedish Royal family. Astrid sits completely on the right, on her mother's lap.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 09:53 AM

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well known state portrait of queen Astrid of the Belgians.

Cathérine Bergeyck 10-18-2004 10:01 AM

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Astrid's funeral, 1935.

1. Leopold walking behind the coffin of his wife, behind him: prince Carl of Sweden (left, Astrid's father) and prince Charles of Belgium (right, Leopold's brother). Behind them: prince Umberto of Italy (Leopold's brother in law) and prince Olav of Norway (Astrid's brother in law)

GrandDuchess 10-18-2004 07:22 PM

Thanks for all these great pictures Cathérine! Wonderful pictures of a great Queen who dies far to young.

Hannelore 10-20-2004 05:19 AM

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Queen Astrid at the beach with her daughter Josephine-Charlotte, and her best friend (the Swedish countess Anna Sparre) and her daughter Christina.

Hannelore 10-29-2004 09:40 AM

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1933. Brussels. The Belgian Royal Family at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, left-right, Prince Leopold, Queen Elisabeth, KIng Albert, Queen Astrid and Leopold's brother Charles.

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