Friday, August 14, 2009

Children of Albert & Elisabeth

I think this is a beautiful photograph of Leopold, Charles, and Marie-José, the fruits of the first love-match in Belgian royal history. There was, in fact, a fourth child, stillborn during World War I. In her memoirs, Marie-José recalls: "(Towards the end of 1917), my mother had to take to her bed; the poor state of the roads of Flanders deprived us of the little brother we were expecting. They only told me my mother was ill, for, despite my eleven years, I still thought babies sprang up among the cabbages."

Very sad. I can only imagine the joy everyone (especially in those dark days) would have felt at the birth of a third prince. King Leopold III, in particular, might have greatly benefited from another brother- his relationship with Charles was marked by conflict and tragedy. The story of Elisabeth's wartime miscarriage reminds me of the fourth (unborn) child of Leopold and Astrid, reported by some to have perished along with the Queen at Küssnacht. Again, I wonder what this prince or princess (if he or she really existed) would have been like. Mysteries of Providence!

May this whole family rest in peace.

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