Friday, August 26, 2011

Count Bernadotte on Queen Astrid

In the aftermath of World War II, the famous Swedish diplomat and relative of the Swedish royal family, Count Folke Bernadotte, spent time in Belgium. He later recalled:
What I remember most about this journey is the way in which the name of Queen Astrid is still so much alive among the Belgian people. As a Swede, this gave me a feeling of happiness and pride. I knew her very well as a little girl in Sweden. I remember her as a very shy and reserved young girl. It is quite amazing that from the moment she came to her new country, she could show such an unusual capacity for winning the hearts of the Belgian people through her charm and kindness. I, for my part, do not think it improbable that if she had lived, she could, through her winning personality, have prevented the Belgian royal problem from becoming so acute and from reaching such a precarious state as was the case. Queen Astrid was truly popular in the best sense of the word. This young woman's deeds are proof of what a person full of goodness and with a genuine desire to do her best can accomplish. It is also undoubtedly due to her that the Belgian people think so highly of Sweden today. The Swedish people have every reason to be very grateful to her for what she has done: her services benefited not only the Belgian people but also her own country.

~Instead of Arms (1949)

No comments: