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Since its independence in 1830, Belgium had 7 kings



The coat of Arms

 

H.M. King Leopold I

(16 Dec 1790 - 10 Dec 1865)
 

  • Leopold, Joris, Christiaan, Frederik was born in Coburg as son of son of His Ducal Highness François, reigning Duke of Saxe-Cobourg Saalfeld.

  • In 1815 Leopold acquired the British nationality and was made Field Marshall. He married Princess Charlotte. Less than a year later, she would give birth to a stillborn child, before dying herself.

  • On 21 July  1831, he took the oath as the first King of the Belgians. He devoted most of his reign to consolidating the young state.

  • 9 August 1832 Leopold married Louise-Marie of Orleans, daughter of Louis-Philippe, King of France.

  • In 1835 inauguration of the first railway line (Antwerp-Malines) in continental Europe. This was the culmination of a project on which the King had been working since 1832

  • In 1848 a Republican revolution removed Louis-Philippe from the throne of France. Its repercussions were felt throughout Europe, but spared Belgium, largely due to the diplomatic action of the King.

  • Queen Louise-Marie dies 11 October  1850.

  • King Leopold I dies 10 December 1865.


H.M. King Leopold II

(9 Apr 1835 - 17 Dec 1909)
 

  • On 9 April, birth in Brussels of Leopold, Louis, Philippe, Marie, Victor, son of Leopold I and Louise-Marie.

  • Prince Leopold entered the Senate, of which he was a member by right. On 22 August 1853, he married Marie-Henriette of Habsburg-Lorraine, Arch-Duchess of Austria. They had four children: Louise-Marie (1858-1924), Leopold (1859-1869), Stephanie (1864-1945), Clementine (1872-1955).

  • On 17 December1865, Leopold took the constitutional oath.

  • In 1878 Leopold II set up, with the cooperation of the British explorer Stanley, the Study Committee on the Upper Congo, converted in 1879 into the International Association of the Congo.

  • The Berlin Conference recognised the independent state of the Congo in 1885, of which Leopold II became the Sovereign. That same year, the Belgian Parliament approved the "personal union" of Congo and Belgium.

  • On 19 September 1902, Queen Marie-Henriette died in Spa.

  • The law of 18 October 1908 made the independent State of the Congo a Belgian colony

  • On 14 December 1909, the King signed the law on compulsory military service. He died three days later.


H.M. King Albert I

(8 Apr 1875 - 17 Feb 1934)
 

  • On 8 April 1875, birth at the Palais de la Régence in Place Royale, Brussels, of Albert, Leopold, Marie, fifth child of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders and brother of Leopold II, and of Princess Marie de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

  • Prince Albert married Elisabeth, Duchess en Bavière in 1900. The couple would have three children: Leopold (1901-1983), the future Leopold III, Charles (1903-1983), the future Regent, and Marie-Jose (1906-2001).

  • On 23 December 1909, Albert succeeded King Leopold II

  • On 2 August 1914, King Albert took effective command of the Armed Forces, in accordance with Article 68 of the Constitution.

  • After the Armistice on 11 November 1918, King Albert, Queen Elisabeth and the Princes made a triumphal entry into Brussels, on 22 November.
    In his speech from the throne on 22 November, King Albert announced major reforms: Introduction of universal suffrage, effective equality of the two national languages, and the switch to Flemish at the University of Ghent; recognition of trade union freedoms and the extension of social legislation

  • On 17 February 1934, the King died tragically following a fatal fall in the rocks of Marche-les-Dames. A large number of veterans of the Front accompanied their Commander to his final resting place.

H.M. King Leopold III

(3 Nov 1901 - 25 Sep 1983)

  • On 3 November 1901 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 in 1909. In 1915 Leopold joined the army, in the 12th Line Regiment. He entered the Military Academy in 1920 and he was made a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Grenadiers in 1922.

  • In 1926 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 1927, birth of Princess Josephine-Charlotte, Grand-Duchess of Luxembourg from 1964 to 2000. On 7 September 1930, birth of Prince Baudouin, future King of the Belgians (1951-1993).

  • On 23 February 1934, Leopold III succeeded Albert I.
    On 6 June, birth of Albert, future King of the Belgians (1993- ).

  • During a trip to Switzerland in 1935, the Queen died in a car accident at Küssnacht, and the King was injured.

  • 1936 - 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 1940, 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.

  • In 1941 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 1944, 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".

  • On 22nd July 1950, 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 in 1951 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 1983, death of Leopold III.


H.M. King Baudouin

(7 Sep 1930 - 31 Jul 1993)
 

  • Baudouin, Albert, Charles, Léopold, Axel, Marie, Gustave, Count of Hainaut, was born at the Chateau of Stuyvenberg, near Brussels, on 7 September 1930. He was the second child of H.M. Leopold III, King of the Belgians and of H.M. Astrid, born Princess of Sweden.

  • On the accession to the throne of his father, King Leopold III, on 23 February 1934, the young Prince received the title "Duke of Brabant".

  • On 17 July 1951, the Prince Royal swore the constitutional oath and became the fifth King of the Belgians.

  • On 15 December 1960 the wedding of the King and Doña Fabiola de Mora y de Aragon took place.

  • On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his reign in 1976 , the Sovereign decided to devote the funds donated to him by the population to setting up the King Baudouin Foundation, with the purpose of improving the living conditions of the people. It carries out projects and publishes documents in fields as varied as the battle against poverty and social exclusion, the environment, the architectural and artistic heritage, the training of young people, etc.

  • To mark the Sovereign's 60th birthday as well as 40 years of his reign, a national tribute was paid to him (" Fêtes 60-40 "). The festivities took place from 7 September 1990 (date of the King's birthday) until 21 July 1991 (Belgian national holiday).

  • On 31 July 1993, the King died in Motril in the south of Spain. The King suffered a heart attack while the royal couple were on holiday in their Spanish residence.

H.M. King Albert II

(6 Jun 1934)

  • King Albert II was born in Brussels, at the Chateau of Stuyvenberg, on 6 June 1934. King Albert II, who was given the title of "Prince of Liège" on birth, is the son of King Leopold III and of Queen Astrid, born Princess of Sweden. He is the grandson of King Albert I and of Queen Elisabeth.

  • On 10 May 1940, at the time when Belgium was being invaded, Prince Albert, his elder sister Princess Josephine-Charlotte and his elder brother Prince Baudouin, left the country for France and later Spain. The Prince and the Princess returned to Belgium on 2 August 1940. They continued their studies until 1944, either at Laeken, or at the Chateau of Ciergnon in the Ardennes. In June 1944, at the time of the Allied landings, Leopold III, Princess Lilian - who he married in 1941 - and the royal children were deported by the Germans to Hirschstein in Germany, and later to Strobl in Austria, where they were liberated by the American Army on 7 May 1945. Due to the political situation in Belgium, King Leopold and his family moved to the villa "Le Reposoir" in Pregny, Switzerland, when they left Austria in October 1945. They would stay there until July 1950. During that time, Prince Albert would continue his education in a secondary school in Geneva. King Leopold III, accompanied by Prince Baudouin and Prince Albert, returned to Belgium on 22 July 1950.

  • On 2 July 1959, Prince Albert married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, born of a princely family in Italy. King Albert II and Queen Paola have three children: Prince Philippe (born on 15 April 1960), Princess Astrid (born on 5 June 1962) and Prince Laurent (born 19 October 1963).

  • Prince Albert was asked in 1962 to exercise the function of Honorary President of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Foreign Trade Office, which he performed for 31 years. In this capacity, he presided over a hundred trade missions throughout the world and made many visits to Belgian companies operating in the export field.

  • After the death of his brother, King Baudouin, Prince Albert was sworn in before the combined chambers of parliament on 9 August 1993 as the sixth King of the Belgians.

  • H.M. King Albert II abdicated 21 July 2013 at 10h30 (08h30 UTC)

H.M. King Philippe

(15 Apr 1960)

  • Philippe (French: Philippe Léopold Louis Marie, Dutch: Filip(s) Leopold Lodewijk Maria) was born in Brussels on 15 April 1960. He is the first child of H.M. King Albert II and H.M. Queen Paola and the first in the line of succession to the throne, and as such he bears the title of "Duke of Brabant".

  • At the end of secondary school, which the Prince attended both in French and in Dutch, he continued his education at the Royal Military Academy from which he graduated in 1981. He then subsequently qualified as a fighter pilot (1982) and as a paratrooper- and commando officer before assuming command of over a paratrooper platoon. His military career further led him to his current rank of Lieutenant-General and Vice Admiral in the Armed forces (as from 2010)

  • Prince Philippe completed his academic training in Trinity College, University of Oxford (UK) and at the Graduate School of Stanford University (USA) where he took a "Master of Arts Degree" in political science in 1985. He hold an Honorary Doctorate of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), conferred in 2002.

  • On 6 August 1993, by Government decision, Price Philippe was appointed Honorary Chairman of the Belgian Foreign Trade Board (BFTB), which was replaced in 2003 by the Foreign Trade Agency (FTA). He succeeded his father, who has been Honorary Chairman of the BFTB since 1962. He has headed about 70 important economic missions.

  • On 4th July 1999,Prince Philippe married Countess Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz. They have 4 children: Princess Elisabeth (born 25 October 2001) - the 1st in line to become the 1st Queen of Belgium, Prince Gabriel (born 20 August 2003), Prince Emmannuel (born 4 Octobre 2005) and Princess Eléonore (born 16 April 2008).

  • After his father H.M. King Albert II abdicated on 21 July 2013, Prince Philippe was sworn in before the combined chambers of parliament on 21 July 2013 as the seventh King of the Belgians.

© Directorate-General External Communication
Federal Public Service (FPS) Chancery of the Prime Minister


Ziegelshiffer Joseph OP4K© 2014 - Last updated March 05, 2014