King Albert II
As you may have guessed from the flag, this is not about the famous railway station in London, nor about the equally famous story of Wallis Simpson hailing a taxi after a heated argument with Edward VIII. Tomorrow will be another National Day for Belgium without government – the second in row – and as usual, the King addressed the nation on the day before. A speech much anticipated by the political and royal-watching world, as it became increasingly obvious that the King was unhappy with the current situation. But the King isn’t just unhappy. This time there’s no mistake. The King’s cross.
In early March, Andrew, Duke of York, was – yet again – in the middle of a major controversy: the favourite son of Queen Elizabeth II was linked to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and many other dubious “friends”, putting his position as trade envoy for the UK (temporarily) in question. Some weeks later, his Belgian colleague, Prince Laurent, also caused havoc, after word came out the Prince had made a trip to Congo against the express wishes of the government and the King.
Today it made the front pages of most Belgian newspapers. King Albert has an illegitimate sister, born from a romance between King Leopold III and Austrian-Belgian ice skate champion Liselotte Landbeck. The information emerged in a new book about the Belgian monarchy which focuses on the period after Queen Astrid’s death until 2002, the year in which Lilian died. The Palace declines to comment on the subject. “We do not comment on personal issues,” the Palace spokesman says.
The times are changing, and – taking in account the age of many of the monarchs worldwide – it is safe to assume that the coming years, we will see at least a few changes in the succession lines. Time to take a closer look at all those heirs, how they have prepared for their duties and how they are perceived among the public. This blog will discuss Prince Philippe, the Duke of Brabant, heir to the – shaky – Belgian throne.
The First World War officially ended at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918 after the signing of the armistice by representatives of the Allied forces and the German government in the railway carriage of Marshal Foch in the Compiègne Forest, France. This war had been grinding on since August 1914 and there had been massive loss of life on all sides.
Belgium is a political mess, there’s no way around it. For about four years now, the country has basically been paralysed by the differences and tensions between the (politicians of the) two main populations of the country: the Flemish and the Walloon. After months of difficult negotiations, the water seems deeper than ever. And at the margins of the chaos caused by these childish politicians who put ego before country, the role of the one man who has been a constant in this political turmoil is brought into question.
Today, 29 August 2010, King Albert II of Belgium will not be found anywhere near Laeken, ready to pour oil on the turbulent political sea, all day long. The 76-year old King is in Küssnacht am Rigi, Switzerland, to visit the place where his beloved mother, Queen Astrid, died in a car accident, 75 years ago. Like King Albert in Küssnacht, we, at the Royal Universe, want to take a moment to commemorate the life and death of this beautiful Snow Princess.
On 30 June 1960, the Belgian colony Congo achieved its independence. Congo was one of the first countries in a long line of colonies which became independent in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, 30 June 2010, the country celebrates its 50 years of independence with grand festivities, at which the Belgian King Albert II and Queen Paola will be present.