Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Joyeuse Entrée, Liège, 1935

In 1935, King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of the Belgians made their second round of Joyeuses Entrées into the different Belgian cities. On July 7, they visited Liège. Astrid wore a beautiful, pale, shimmering dress and was her usual radiant self. It turned out to be a very happy occasion, although it began as a difficult moment...these were troubled times, darkened by political turmoil, economic crisis and high unemployment rates. The crowds were initially grim and gloomy, but Astrid's winsome spontaneity relaxed the atmosphere and cheered everyone's spirits.

In her memoirs, Astrid mon amie, the Queen's best friend, Anna Sparre, remembered the day. As the royal party were settling into the car, and preparing to set off for Liège, Astrid, acting on a sudden inspiration, arrived with her youngest son, little Prince Albert, (titled "Prince of Liège"), in her arms. Leopold was worried about bringing the baby along, but Astrid smilingly insisted: "Yes, we're taking him...Liège is his city." Leopold yielded, and the car took off.

On the balcony, Astrid proudly lifted up the little prince. Wild enthusiasm instantly swept through the people of Liège. Cries rang out: "Long live Albert! Long live Belgium! Long live the King! Long live the Queen!"

Sadly, she would not live long. The very next month, this lovely young Queen's life would end tragically. Yet, the royal couple's Joyeuse Entrée is certainly a memory to cherish.


aaron davidson said...

Thanks again for an excellent post-I was wondering after her death did a cultus ever develop around the memory of Queen Astrid? She seems a model Catholic.

May said...

I read that on a discussion board that there was a report on German TV years ago that some Belgian Catholics had actually tried to introduce the cause for her beatification in Rome! But I haven't been able to find confirmation, or more information on this. She certainly was a devout Catholic and a good person, though. When she first came to Belgium from Sweden she considered becoming a Catholic just to fit in with her new family and people, but the priest she consulted told her not to do so until she really believed it was the true religion. So she waited, received instruction, and eventually became a convinced Catholic.