Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Royal Patriot

König Leopold III. und Königin Astrid von Belgien, King and Queen of Belgium

A sensitive tribute to King Leopold III, dated November 17, 1940, from a former United States ambassador to Belgium, The Honorable William Phillips.
While my service as Ambassador in Brussels was during the reign of King Albert, I had the privilege of coming into frequent contact with the then Prince Leopold, and it was during those years that I grew to appreciate his sterling qualities.
The happy associations which I had with the Royal Family are very precious memories, for there one found a combination of simplicity and dignity and of unsparing effort to help every cause which had for its purpose the welfare of the people.
The Belgian Crown stood for all that is highest and noblest among nations and mankind, and King Albert had become one of the outstanding figures of the world.
It was through the period of the tragedies of the World War and in such a developing atmosphere that Leopold, the son, passed the formative years of his boyhood.
He must have been conscious of the powerful bond between sovereign and people which had grown through those years of tragedy and it is not surprising to find in him many of the same noble qualities of his parents - the high sense of responsibility, the utter devotion to duy, the spirit of willing self-sacrifice and love for his people- the same sterling qualities which make him also a symbol, to his people and to all the world, of Belgian independence.
Governed always by the highest principles, King Leopold may be counted upon to do everything in his power and judgment for the welfare and future happiness of his beloved people, for he is a true Belgian patriot, and the son of a great King. (The Belgian Campaign and the Surrender of the Belgian Army: May 10-28, 1940, Belgian American Educational Foundation, Inc., New York, 1941, p. 82)

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