Friday, June 12, 2009

Queen Astrid & Diana, Princess of Wales

On the internet, I keep encountering comparisons of Astrid and Diana. The Belgian queen has been called the "Princess Diana of the 1930's." Yet, despite some parallels, the two ladies were tragic in very different ways.

Astrid and Diana were both the youngest daughter in their families, with two older sisters and a younger brother. Both were shy and emotionally vulnerable girls, placed in a high profile position beyond their expectations. Both were very attractive, fashionable, graceful and gifted women. Both had a deep need and capacity for love and affection and were famous for their charity work. They shared great charm and popular appeal; both were called "Queen of Hearts." Tragically, both died young in car crashes, in foreign countries, at the end of August, leaving orphaned children behind. Strangely, the site of Diana's accident, the Alma Tunnel, is close to a square called the Place de la Reine Astrid.

Yet the similarities end here. The differences between the two women are even more striking. Astrid was a royal Swedish princess; Diana, a British aristocrat. Astrid was raised a Lutheran, converted to Catholicism after marrying the Belgian Crown Prince, and found peace and serenity in her faith. Diana belonged to the Church of England, but never seems to have had the deep and comforting religious life Astrid experienced. At any rate, she appears to have suffered much more emotional turmoil than Astrid ever did. In their family background and marriages, Astrid and Diana cannot be compared at all. Diana came from a broken home, suffering severely from her parents' divorce. Astrid grew up in a loving, united family, the daughter of happily married parents. The two women's own marriages recalled their early experiences. The Prince and Princess of Wales differed considerably in age, interests, and temperament, and the Prince was in love with another woman. The marriage, not surprisingly, proved unhappy. Tragically, both spouses became unfaithful and their union ended in divorce. King Leopold III and Queen Astrid, by contrast, were close in age, kindred spirits, and deeply in love. They formed a happy and devoted couple separated only by death.

So, in the end, I think Astrid and Diana were very different. May God have mercy on both and give rest to their souls.


MadMonarchist said...

IMHO there was also a difference when it came to putting self before the interests of the monarchy as a whole. Not a popular view, but that's mine.

Brantigny said...

The only thing these princesses sahare is that the one was killed under a bridge in Paris named for the other.


M.L. Littlefield said...

Diana was severely traumatized as a child and she developed an unbalanced way of looking at relationships. It tugs at your heart.

In those days, one did not discuss a marriage going badly, nor the affect it may have on the children. It's too bad, really, because she may have benefited greatly from psychological support as a child and a teen. Trying to get psychological support in your 20s and 30s is not as helpful. By then, the damage is done!

May said...

M. L. Littlefield, welcome and thank you for your comment. Yes, I agree, she was traumatized and certainly needed help and support early on.