Monday, September 7, 2009

Birthday of King Baudouin I

On September 7, 1930, Prince Leopold and Princess Astrid of Belgium welcomed their first son, little Prince Baudouin. In her memoirs, Astrid's best friend Anna Sparre describes the happy event. Not expecting his wife to give birth that day, Leopold had just departed for an official ceremony in Ostende when Astrid suddenly went into labor...
...With humor, she described to me how (after bidding a tender farewell to Leopold) she went into the living room to read by the open fire and chat with her mother. But the baby announced his arrival before she had even sat down- she could still hear the car in the distance! Leaning against the chimney, she burst into a fit of laughter. Clasping her belly, she was laughing out loud. After a moment's hesitation, Princess Ingeborg could not keep from laughing herself... It was 10 o'clock. The doctor was sent for, the midwife was already there.
Upon arriving in Ostende, Leopold heard the news and rushed back to Brussels. A few hours later, he was holding his tiny son in his arms... A touching scene followed.
...When (Leopold) came in, later, with the child washed and dressed, he sat on the edge of the bed and placed the baby in his mother's arms. They could hear the canons proclaiming to the people the birth of a little prince. It was an overwhelming moment, impossible to describe. Little Joe-Joe entered, climbed into her mother's bed and could feel her little brother. She was a bit shy and thought it a pity maman was ill at the very moment of the baby's arrival. For several hours, Astrid enjoyed, in all tranquillity, this family idyll.
King Albert and Queen Elisabeth were delighted with their grandson, and the family was inundated with flowers and congratulations on the arrival of the long-awaited royal heir. Astrid sent a letter to Anna, proudly announcing the birth, and underlining the words "our son" several times. "You understand how happy we are that it is a boy," she wrote, "it is a joy not only for us, but for everyone here in Belgium. I am madly proud of having two children."

As a final charming note, the year of Baudouin's birth coincided with the centenary of Belgian independence!

3 comments:

MadMonarchist said...

Makes you wonder if the little prince was intentionally trying to play a trick on papa lol. I cause for celebration certainly and a day still worth remembering. In case I havn't mentioned it lately, King Baudouin may be the greatest monarch to reign since the end of World War II -in my opinion anyway.

The Anne Boleyn Files said...

Happy Birthday King Baudouin I and also happy birthday Elizabeth I! Two great monarchs born on the same date, although not the same year!

Matterhorn said...

Thanks, Claire! It is really a funny coincidence.