Friday, September 28, 2012


An interesting portrayal of King Albert I (bottom left) among the Allied heads of state during World War I.

Olive Muir

My apologies for my long absence here; it has been a difficult month. Nevertheless, I wanted to share some information about Olive Muir, kindly brought to my attention by Daniel Wybo of the Royal League of Veterans of King Leopold III. One of the more passionate, but less well known defenders of the King during World War II and the Royal Question, Mrs. Muir was arrested at one point for heckling Paul-Henri Spaak, the former Socialist prime minister of Belgium, at a political debate in Strasbourg. The Glasglow Herald of November 22, 1950 described the scene:
A British supporter of King Leopold of the Belgians, Mrs. Olive Muir, was taken into police custody after interrupting the debate by heckling the chairman, M. Paul-Henri Spaak (Belgium). She was released when the debate ended.

Mrs. Muir, a wealthy authoress painter, and owner of a Devonshire estate, interrupted the debate as Mr. Macmillan rose to speak.

From the visitors' gallery, Mrs. Muir called out: "M. Spaak, why do you allow a majority here...?" M. Spaak ordered the ushers to remove her.

While ushers tried unsuccessfully to remove Mrs. Muir, who stood passively in the gallery repeating the first half of her sentence, M. Spaak declared the session suspended. On her way down to the police room for questioning, Mrs. Muir told reporters she had wanted to say:-

"Why do you allow a majority here, when you do not accept it in your own country?"
Presumably, Mrs. Muir was referring to Spaak's refusal to abide by the results of the popular consultation that had recently decided the Royal Question in Leopold's favor.

Olive Muir was also the author of a book, Why I Defended a King's Honour (1955), containing excerpts from her diary and earlier articles and pamphlets on Leopold's behalf, such as the following:
It is a lamentable fact that at this moment some people believe that King Leopold had audience with Hitler in 1940. This information is entirely untrue. King Leopold only consented to see his enemy at Berchtesgaden in order to arrange more food for starving Belgium and the exchange of prisoners of war who had fought bravely for their country, and the Princess of Piedmont's (The King's sister) visits to Hitler were only undertaken for the same cause.

"King George," of Britain, writes Olive Muir, "and the Royal Family wish King Leopold's return to Belgium."

Olive Muir also states that M. Spaak must be labouring under some false illusions or misguided information and should be enlightened of the truth upon such an important matter as his King.

Britain should be magnanimous enough to face the truth, and if Churchill did his duty, he should come forward and announce to the whole world the greatness, ability, courage and heroic sacrifice of Belgium's Royal Sovereign.

Olive Muir adds:

"No one has any right to question the marriage of such a loyal King. Mademoiselle Lilian Baels was a great friend of the Royal Family. He could not have chosen a more suitable wife. The King of Britain married what we call 'a commoner', and she has proved a great success and a blessing to her country. Surely, King Leopold's wife will do the same.

Olive Muir ends:

"My sympathy with the present predicament of a brave nation who cannot make up its mind to receive back their great King and hero, who kept his Royal word to his troops and who is worthy of undying loyalty by his subjects, induces me to write this book." (pp. 25-26)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vierge des Pauvres

Another royal prayer card, showing King Leopold III with his tragically deceased father and wife and referencing the Marian apparitions at Banneux: "Virgin of the Poor, save Belgium!" 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Birth of a Princess

It is the 75th birthday of Queen Paola. The Radical Royalist gives a lovely summary of her life and work. I find it an interesting coincidence that Leopold III and Lilian Baels were married religiously on the fourth birthday of the future Belgian queen.

Here are samples of the handwriting of King Albert II and Queen Paola.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A New Archduchess

On September 8, 2012, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Imre of Habsburg-Lorraine, a grandson of Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, married Miss Kathleen Walker at St. Mary's Church in Washington, D.C.  We wish the Archduke and his beautiful bride every blessing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Birth of a Prince

Kronprinzessin Astrid von Belgien mit Sohn Baudouin
A tender image of Astrid, Duchess of Brabant, future Queen of the Belgians,with her infant son, Prince Baudouin, future King of the Belgians. Today is Baudouin's birthday. It was said that at the arrival of the little prince, her eldest son, his Swedish mother exclaimed: "Now I feel truly Belgian!"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Celebrating Belgium

75 Jahre Unabhängigkeit Belgiens
A postcard commemorating the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence in 1905, incidentally also the year the future Queen Astrid was born. The coats of arms of Belgium and her then nine provinces are displayed, along with a picture of the monument to Leopold I at Laeken, the Belgian flag and the national motto, "union makes for strength."

A Lost Princess

Gio reviews a new biography of the tragic first wife of Leopold I.
Charlotte was the daughter of the dissolute Prince Regent, who eventually became George IV, and his coarse wife Caroline of Brunswick. Their marriage was a disaster from the start. They separated almost immediately and did everything they could to make each other and, as a result their daughter, miserable. Despite this, Charlotte turned out well, and was very much loved by the people who hoped she would restore the image of the monarchy and the royal family.
Sadly, their hopes were too soon destroyed. Everyone rejoiced when Charlotte married her Prince. The couple cared deeply for each other and did everything together. But after a year and a half of marriage, Charlotte died after giving birth to a stillborn son. Leopold was distraught and even though he would go on to become King of the Belgians, and remarry, he never forgot his first wife. Had she lived, his niece Queen Victoria, would probably never have been born. Although George IV had several siblings, none of them had legitimate children, and, until this tragedy occurred, hadn't really shown any inclination to get married.
Chambers' biography reads more like a novel than a biography. It flows easily, is entertaining and is light without being shallow. However, it isn't in-depth. While we get to know Charlotte quite well, especially thanks to her correspondence which is amply cited in the book, we're not told much about Leopold. His life after Charlotte's death is summed up in just a few short pages, which is something that really disappointed me as I have a bit of a crush on Leopold and would have loved to know more about him. (Read entire post)
Here is an article discussing amniotic fluid embolism, the rare obstetric emergency that may well have caused Charlotte's death.