Friday, September 18, 2009

Queen Louise-Marie & Young Prince Leopold

A Winterhalter portrait of the first Queen of the Belgians, with her son, the future King Leopold II, while still an innocent child. It is hard to imagine how, with this lovely and pious mother, he turned out to be such an unpleasant character! I suppose, though, he was rather young when she died, so perhaps she was not able to exert enough of an influence! What do you all think? In any case, it seems Leopold inherited his famous nose from his mother. In appearance, he resembled her greatly.

5 comments:

MadMonarchist said...

That nose was definitely a trait that was passed on. His Bonaparte grandson certainly had it. One look at him and there is no question that he took after his mother's side of the family.

Alex Engwete said...

Let me preface my comment by saying that being from Congo-Kinshasa, I'm no fan of King Leopold II.
But the fact remains that without him, the state formation known today as the Democratic Republic of Congo wouldn't have existed! Besides, I imagine that the entity "Belgian Congo" was also a financial windfall of sorts for Belgium without which that country wouldn't have such a huge footprint in the EU and NATO...
So, despite all the ills we do say today about the man, his legacy endures!

Matterhorn said...

I think almost anything in history has good and bad sides to it. But it's sad that with all Leopold's real talent and ability, he wasn't a better person.

Jorge said...

After reading Matterhorn's posts about Leopold II, I wonder if he had a certain grade of autism. He was a brilliant man but at the same time did not know how to handle relations with many important people in his life (wife, daughters), and didn't seem to be a man with many social skills. I'm not saying this to justify his actions at all, but I think there must have been something wrong in that mind to explain such behaviour, and I happen to know people with a minimum grade of autism. Their intelligence is outstanding, while their social skills are very poor. That can create a lot of frustration and anger.

Matterhorn said...

Jorge, what a fascinating idea! It might explain his self-centeredness, too. I also wonder if Prince Charles of Belgium (brother of the third Leopold) had some kind of social disability, he was very difficult and inward-turning (rather like Leopold II in some ways), while also being gifted and intelligent.