Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Accession Speech of Leopold III

Daniel Wybo kindly sent me some excerpts from the practical speech the new King delivered on ascending the throne, on February 23, 1934.
I do not underrate the scope and importance of the responsibilities I have assumed...in taking before you the solemn engagement which, according to the Constitution, seals a pact of mutual confidence between the Sovereign and the Nation...
Devotion to public duties has always been the character of the Belgian Monarchy. It was my Father's constant care. The fact that all Belgians understand the value of this close association between the Nation and its King explains the signs of affection which have been shown to us everywhere...
The wise institutions given us by the authors of the Constitution and which have been tested for over a century, are sufficiently broad and supple to adapt themselves...to the changing necessities of different times.
The King [King Albert] was deeply convinced of this, and...I whole-heartedly share this conviction...
The task of government is difficult during these times of crisis. Obstacles are accumulating on all trade routes. On several occasions, the deceased Sovereign emphasized this danger...I shall actively support all efforts aiming at developing agricultural resources...increasing employment, commerce and industry, and helping the middle-class and the workers to emerge from the painful situation in which they find themselves...
The country's independence and the integrity of her territory are inseparable from her national unity. An indivisible and independent Belgium is an essential factor in the European balance of power.
Belgium will continue to associate herself with the organization of peace which she hopes will be maintained, according to the principles of honour and right, by closer cooperation between the peoples. She is resolved to make in the future, as she has done in the past, all the necessary sacrifices to safeguard her territory and her liberties...
I give myself body and soul to Belgium.
The Queen will help me, with all her heart, in the accomplishment of my duties. We will bring up our children in the love of the Motherland.
May Divine Providence assist us...(Emile Cammaerts, The Prisoner at Laeken, 1941, pp. 244-245)

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