Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stolen Royal Documents

This happened a number of years ago. Still, it seems incredible. In March, 2002, La Libre Belgique and RTBF revealed that the death certificate of King Albert I had disappeared. Like any other citizen of the judicial district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, the monarch's death was recorded in the Court of First Instance in Brussels. A historian came to consult the archives, looking for Albert's death certificate in the registry for early 1934. It was missing, torn out of the books. Apparently, the theft dated from a period when people had easy access to the registry, to consult family records. It seems amazing that royal records were not kept in a more secure place!
At Marche-les-Dames, at Namur, there were no legal traces left of the King's death. Luckily, though, the City Archives of Brussels (harder to access) had a copy of the stolen document. Yet, even from here, 20 years or so earlier, the marriage certificate of King Albert II and Queen Paola went missing...

No comments: