Belgian Royalty: Albert I's Children

Figure 1.--Queen Elizabeth is seen here with Princes Leopold and Charles. The photograph looks to have been taken about 1908.

A little over a year after their felicitous mairrage, on November 3, 1901, Albert and Elizabeth were delighted with the birth of a little prince, the future King Leopold III of the Belgians. Two more children would join Leopold in the royal nursery in Brussels.


Leopold was born in 1901. He ascended the throne, but his reign was ruined when he surendered to the Germans in 1940 after only a few days resistance. Most Belgians compared him unfavorably to the valiant resistance to the first German invasion led by his father in 1914. After the war he was cleared of charges of colaboration, but the Belgian people refused to accept him as king.


Charles was born on October 10, 1903. Charles as a younger brother of King Leopold III never ascended to the throne. His brother's reputation was, however tarnished by the colapse of the Belgian Army in World War II. Thus after World War II Charles served as regent while the debate swirled over King Leopold.

Marie Jose

Marie Jose was born on August 4, 1906. She was in 1930 to mary Prince Umberto of Italy and briefly reign as Queen in 1946. Umberto (Humbert) II, Victor Emmanuel III's son, reigned briefly (1946)after his father abdicated. Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in May 1946 and Italy became a republic. For decades, the Italian Republic banned the return of the Savoys. In exile, Umberto II and his wife Marie-Josť separated. He settled in Cascais, Portugal; she in Switzerland. Umberto never again set foot in Italy.


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Created: May 7, 2002
Last updated: May 7, 2002