Saturday, January 25, 2014
Here is some rare footage of the 19-year-old Prince Albert of Liège with his father, King Leopold III, and step-mother, Princess Lilian, on vacation in Panama. Albert's half-sister, Princess Esmeralda, is interviewed regarding her father's scientific expeditions, and speaks in English.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Cercle Léopold III is once more online. For a long time, it seemed to have disappeared from cyberspace. Founded on Belgian National Day, July 21, 2002, this Franco-Belgian association is dedicated to illuminating the controversial reign of Leopold III, and to preserving and defending his memory from false accusations. "A fidelity to the honor of a man," is the motto of the organization. Established in Prigonrieux, in Dordogne, and headquartered at the Château du Haut Pezaud, in Monbazillac, France, the Cercle Léopold III enjoys the patronage of Princess Marie-Esmeralda, the King's youngest daughter. The late French writer Marcel Jullian, a friend of Leopold and his second wife, Princess Lilian, served as honorary president before his death. Jacques Borgers, of the World Organization of the Periodical Press, was given the presidency. The association is open to membership by individuals of all nationalities. The website is replete with many fascinating historical articles, book summaries, news updates, and beautiful photographs. Unfortunately, the texts tend to be only in French.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Adrian Keppel features a stamp and miniature portrait, honoring Queen Louise-Marie, by the famous Belgian floral painter Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Note the inscription, "To Her Majesty Louise-Marie, First Queen of the Belgians," included in both French and Dutch, as well as the crown in the upper left corner with the Queen's monogram.
From History and Other Thoughts comes this charming description of the first Queen of the Belgians, Louise d'Orléans, by her husband, Leopold I. The King was writing to his niece, Queen Victoria, who became close friends with Louise.
She is extremely gentle and amiable, her actions are always guided by principles. She is at all times ready and disposed to sacrifice her comfort and inclinations to see others happy. She values goodness, merit, and virtue much more than beauty, riches, and amusements. With all this she is highly informed and very clever; she speaks and writes English, German and Italian; she speaks English very well indeed. In short, my dear Love, you see that I may well recommend her as an example for all young ladies, being Princesses or not.
Now to her appearance. She is about Feodore's [Victoria's half-sister's] height, her hair very fair, light blue eyes, of a very gentle, intelligent and kind expression. A Bourbon nose and small mouth. The figure is much like Feodore's but rather less stout. She rides very well, which she proved to my great alarm the other day, by keeping her seat though a horse of mine ran away with her full speed for at least half a mile. What she does particularly well is dancing. Music unfortunately she is not very fond of, though she plays on the harp; I believe there is some idleness in the case. There exists already great confidence and affection between us; she is desirous of doing everything that can contribute to my happiness, and I study whatever can make her happy and contented.(Read entire post)