Belgian Royalty: Leopold III's Children

Figure 1.--King Leopold III is seen with his three sons Baudouin, Albert, and Alexander. I'm not sure about the year. It could have been 1945 after they were liberated by American soldiers in Austria where the Germans had taken them.

Leopold had six children all togrther, three with his first wife and three with his second wife. Leopold married Princess Astrid of Sweden in 1926. Princess Astrid of Sweden was born on November 17, 1905. She was the youngest daughter of Prince Charles of Sweden, Duke of Vastergotland, and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. Astrid was immediately adopted by the Belgian people as their own. The couple had three children. Queen Astrid was killed in a tragic car accident in 1935. Leopold married again several years later in 1941. He had three more children with his second wife Marie Lilianne Baels, Princess de Rethy, who was never really accepted by the Belgian people. We have little information on the realtionships among the children, but the available photographs suggest that they were close.

Children with Queen Astrid

Astrid gave birth to her first child in 1927. The Belgian press in 1930 gave extensive coverage to the birth of the long awaited royal heir. Leopold was on his way to visit some areas away from Brussels when the Duchess of Brabant went into labor. The royal palace immediately sent him a telegram that reached Leopold at a stop during his journey. The royal palace's message announced the impending birth of the couple's second child. Without thinking twice about the day's engagements, Leopold returned to Brussels immediately. Prince Leopold and King Albert walked anxiously in the garden at Stuyvenberg Palace while the Duchess of Brabant began her labor. Next to Astrid were her mother, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, and her mother-in-law Queen Elisabeth. At 4:15 pm the royal physicians proudly announced the healthy birth of a little prince. The sound of cannon silenced the general happiness expressed by the people of Brussels.

Children with Marie Lilianne Baels

King Leopold had three children with Princess Lilianne. Prince Alexander de Rethy was the younger half-brother of Baudouin and Albert. He was the son of King Leopold and his second wife, Marie Lilianne Baels, Princess de Rethy. Alexander was dressed very swwetly as a younger boy. We have little information about the family, but available photographs suggest that his older half brothers were very caring toward him. Princess Lilianne's relationship with Marie-Christine has been most unhappy. Marie-Christine became very upset with her parents. She emmigrated to America and squandered her money. She gas married twice and publicly criticized her mother. The relationship with their younger daughter has been more positive. Marie-Esmeralda has become a journalist. She has worked for both Vogue and Le Figaro, an important Paris newspaper. She was friendly with Sarah, Duchess of York. She married a British scientist and has had two children.


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Created: February 26, 1999
Last updated: 5:56 PM 7/27/2008