Today marks the centenary of the accession of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth to the Belgian throne. On December 23, 1909, six days after the death of his uncle, Leopold II, Prince Albert swore his accession oath before Parliament, becoming the third King of the Belgians. Previous monarchs had taken the oath only in French; Albert innovated by doing so in Dutch as well. Belgians joyfully welcomed their retiring, studious, conscientious and progressive new sovereign and his lively, artistic, philanthropic, Bavarian-born consort. Their unassuming ways and happy family life, which stood in marked contrast to the haughty, aloof manners and irregular private life of Leopold II, had already won the young couple great popularity. In the years to come, this would only increase, thanks to the family's bravery during World War I.
Click HERE for excerpts from Albert's accession speech.