Friday, May 7, 2010

May Tragedy

It is sadly ironic that May, the month of flowers, garlands and Our Lady, has historically been a month of sorrow for the Belgian royal family. The weeks to come will mark the 70th anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Belgium and the tragic "Eighteen Days' Campaign." Despite the heroism of the Belgian king and people, this campaign spelled the end for Leopold III and cast a long shadow on the history of the Belgian monarchy. Here are some related posts:

~King Leopold's Broadcast to the USA, October 27, 1939
~Leopold's Orders of the Day, May 10 and May 28, 1940
~Leopold's Letter to George VI of the United Kingdom, May 25, 1940
~The Belgians' Last Stand, May 25-28, 1940
~King Leopold III and Pope Pius XII: Correspondence on the Belgian Capitulation
~A Privileged Witness: Admiral Keyes on the Belgian Campaign and Capitulation

May-June, 2010 will also mark the 64th anniversary of the brief and tragic reign of Leopold's sister, Marie-José, as Italy's last Queen Consort. Upon ascending the throne, amidst postwar turmoil and political controversy, she prepared a magnificent address to the women of Italy. Here is an excerpt:
To the women of every region of Italy, I wish to join the expression of my passion as an Italian woman, and of my wish that the sacrifices, the wounds of your anguished hearts, the hardships of your lives and of those of your children, may be the guarantee and the pledge of a better future for our Italy. To you, Italian women, symbol of goodness and kindness, there remains a most noble part in the work of moral reconstruction, of pacification of spirits, in the salvation of Christian civilization. 
Sadly, despite these admirable sentiments, she, like her brother, was doomed to slander, dethronement and exile.


MadMonarchist said...

Two royal figures placed in impossible situations, not of their making and far beyond their control, who dealt with them in the most upright and honorable way possible -yet still receive scant appreciation for it. Thanks for appreciating them here -two people who had especially heavy crosses to bear- at The Cross of Laeken.

May said...

Yes, Albert I called being king a "crowned Cross..."

MadMonarchist said...

If I remember right Princess Stephanie was born in May -births are always a happy occasion, though it fits in with tragedy as well in some ways given the many crosses she had to bear in her life too.

May said...

You are correct- Princess Stephanie was born May 21, 1864.