Monday, September 27, 2010

Poignant Souvenirs


In 2005, royal commentator Sue Woolmans discussed her travels in Brussels, giving a lively account of her visits to a number of exhibitions on the Belgian and Russian dynasties. Although I'll admit that her contemptuous attitude towards King Leopold III, whom she mockingly dubs "the careless driver," made my blood boil, I still enjoyed the article, particularly the description of an exhibit on Queen Astrid:
This exhibit was done with much care and love and told her life story room by room. Each room had film footage on show as well, most of which I hadn’t seen before. There was a section dedicated to their tour in Congo, one to the Astrid effect – similar to the Diana one, one to her fashion sense, one to her children, and of course, one on her death. Heaps of photos. Items were lent from the Brussels palace but also much from the collection of Grand Duke Jean and included:
furniture from the playhouse she used as a child
exercise books
her wedding outfits inc shoes
several dresses inc one lovely pink affair with lots of feathers
loads of hats
jewellery – some costume, some real inc an emerald choker given to her by Queen Elisabeth on the birth of her first child
official letters from Leopold to various officials announcing their marriage and her death
personal letters inc one to Charles from Leopold after her death talking about the children, and an affectionate one from Albert to Astrid
postcards sent by Astrid to Josephine-Charlotte when they were on tour in the Congo, one of which began “Chère petite Joe”. Also the last postcard she ever sent the children from Switzerland
This exhibition was moving. I had tears in my eyes by the end. And I visited it twice.
How I wish I could have been there. It sounds as though this exhibition was the one entitled "Astrid et nous, regards croisés," held at the Royal Palace and the BELvue Museum to mark the 100th anniversary of the Queen's birth in 2005-2006.

3 comments:

Brantigny said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr89m_-Mi2U

Matterhorn said...

Thank you for the link! That is a beautiful video. What a pity Josephine-Charlotte and Astrid did not have more time together.

Brantigny said...

True.