Welcome to the home page of OP4K
Since its independence in 1830, Belgium had 7 kings
The coat of Arms
H.M. King Leopold I
(16 Dec 1790 - 10 Dec
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
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
King Leopold I dies 10
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
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
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
H.M. King Albert I
(8 Apr 1875 - 17 Feb
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
On 23 December 1909, Albert succeeded King Leopold
On 2 August 1914, King Albert took effective command
of the Armed Forces, in accordance with Article 68 of the
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
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
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
On 25 September 1983, death of
H.M. King Baudouin
(7 Sep 1930 - 31 Jul
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
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
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 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
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