Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Condolence Letter

As Léopold III was himself no stranger to sorrow, it's interesting to see the delicate manner in which he consoled others who lost loved ones. Here is a condolence letter by the 75-year-old former King of the Belgians to a friend of Claudio Barbier, a renowned young Belgian alpinist who had been mysteriously killed climbing the cliffs of the Meuse. (The news must have given Léopold something of a chill, since his own father had been mysteriously killed climbing the cliffs of the Meuse.)
Domaine d'Argenteuil 
Waterloo, June 11, 1977.
Dear Monsieur Bourgeois,
I have just learned from the press of the accidental death of Claude Barbier.
This sad news has moved me all the more, as I personally knew this man, who was so particularly sympathetic.
It was enough for me to meet him once to retain the memory of a personality very endearing for his qualities of simplicity and integrity.
I can fully imagine what your pain must be at losing such a dear friend.
As for his inconsolable fiancée, I would like you to tell her how much I was moved by the message you were asked to give me. Please convey to her the expression of my deep sympathy and please tell her that, when time has been able to appease, a little, her great grief, I would be happy to meet with her and talk with her of the career of the man whom she mourns today.
Please believe, both you and your wife, dear Monsieur Bourgeois, in my most cordial remembrance.
(s) Léopold

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