Sunday, March 25, 2012

Elisabeth and Lilian

Two of my favorite Belgian royal ladies, Queen Elisabeth and her daughter-in-law, Princess Lilian, had much in common. Both were vivacious, intelligent, spirited, elegant, charming, forthright, brave, determined and loyal. Each had an intense love for her husband and sovereign. Both were war heroines, although Lilian is rarely given credit for her courage during World War II, particularly during the royal family's deportation and captivity in Germany and Austria. Elisabeth, on the other hand, is generally admired for her tireless support of her people during two brutal invasions, her nursing efforts during World War I and her attempts to save Jews from the Nazis during World War II. Both Elisabeth and Lilian were generous humanitarians, passionate patronesses of medicine. Both created beautiful, cultivated environments. Each sought the friendship of the most interesting personalities of her time. It is not surprising that Elisabeth seems to have enjoyed Lilian and even to have played an important role in encouraging her romance and marriage with her son. It is also understandable that King Leopold III, who deeply admired his mother, would choose a similar woman to be his wife.

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