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.