Friday, July 10, 2009

The Lost Heir

Here, we see Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant (1859-1869), the only son of King Leopold II of the Belgians and his wife, Queen Marie-Henriette. (I must say he looks like a sweet little boy.) A child of hope and promise, the focus of all his father's dynastic pride and ambition, he was also the cherished playmate of his sisters, Louise and Stephanie. Sadly, at age 10, he fell into a pond at Laeken Castle, and developed pneumonia and heart problems. After a long illness, he died. His parents were devastated. King Leopold, normally cold, haughty, and imperturbable, broke down completely at his son's burial. Without caring who was watching, he fell sobbing on his knees. He always remained bitterly disappointed by the loss of his heir.

4 comments:

MadMonarchist said...

Seems to look like his father to me. Leopold did look quite different before he grew his famous beard.

Matterhorn said...

Yes, you're quite right about that.

I wonder what this boy would have been like, had he grown up and become King. There could have been a whole different royal line. But I guess there was a danger he could just have ended up like his father, not a very nice character. By dying so young, he at least kept his innocence.

MadMonarchist said...

Only God knows. He might have been even worse than Leopold but on the other hand fathers and sons have often been complete opposites (George III and George IV of Britain, Francis Joseph and Rudolf of Austria, Charles I and Charles II of Britain, Wilhelm I and Frederick III of Germany etc). It's often seemed to alternate in Britain with a good father having an atrocious son and back & forth.

Matterhorn said...

True, and in this family, there were also often brothers that were complete opposites. (eg. Leopold II and Philip, Count of Flanders), and later, Leopold III and Prince Charles, the Regent. Leopold and Philip seemed to have nothing in common except blood lines and a shared taste for sarcasm (something that seems common to all the Saxe-Coburgs). But their private lives and families were totally different.