Thursday, October 6, 2011

Little Prince Albert

Here are some recollections of the future Roi Chevalier, by a German governess, who knew him as a child from 1877 to 1882. After his death in a mountaineering accident in 1934, she published her recollections:
My thoughts sadly linger on the young boy who passed a happy youth in Brussels in his father's Palace. The family usually spent the summer at the Amerois, and the little Prince's greatest joy was to romp in the meadows and among the bushes. He sometimes built small waterfalls by piling up stones across the brooks. He was absorbed in his games. Among my memories I see his crude drawings: trees and flowers, but mostly engines and railways. I still hear him, standing on a train made of chairs, his hair waving in the wind, shouting 'Départ pour Charleroi!' blowing his whistle and urging little Princess Joséphine to take her seat.
A great refinement of feeling, simplicity, kindness and a strong sense of justice, which distinguished his parents, were already noticeable in the child. All those who knew him remarked on his frankness; nothing would have induced him to tell a lie- a good omen for the future. (Quoted by Emile Cammaerts in Albert of Belgium: Defender of Right,  Macmillan Company, New York, 1935, p. 36)
These tender thoughts somehow seem especially poignant coming from a German, in the light of the fate of Belgium in the world wars.

4 comments:

Christina said...

What lovely, memories, Matterhorn -(and his hair looks so sweet! :-))

Matterhorn said...

Thank you, Christina. Cammaerts' biography is lovely all the way through.

gio said...

What an adorable boy he was! Love the photo.

Matterhorn said...

Yes, Gio, he was precious.