Baudouin of Belgium
|King Baudouin on a state visit to Washington, D.C. in 1969|
|Reign||17 July 1951 – 31 July 1993|
|Consort||Fabiola de Mora y Aragón|
|Baldwin Albert Charles Leopold Axel Maria Gustaf|
|House||House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Father||Leopold III of Belgium|
|Mother||Astrid of Sweden|
7 September 1930|
Stuyvenberg Castle, Belgium
|Died||31 July 1993
Villa Astrida, Motril, Spain
Baudouin (Dutch: Boudewijn Albert Karel Leopold Axel Marie Gustaaf van België [ˈbʌu̯dəˌʋɛi̯n ˈɑlbərt ˈkaːrəl ˈleˑjoˑˌpɔlt ˈɑksəl maˑˈri ɣʏsˈtaˑf vɑn ˈbɛlɣijə], French: Baudouin Albert Charles Léopold Axel Marie Gustave de Belgique [bodwɛ̃ albɛʁ ʃaʁl leopɔld aksɛl maʁi ɡystav də bɛlʒik]; 7 September 1930 – 31 July 1993) reigned as King of the Belgians, following his father's abdication, from 1951 until his death in 1993. He was the eldest son of King Leopold III (1901–83) and his first wife, Princess Astrid of Sweden (1905–35). Having had no children, the crown passed on to his brother, King Albert II of the Belgians (formerly HRH The Prince of Liège), following his death. He was the first cousin of King Harald V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, and Princess Ragnhild of Norway. Baudouin is the French form of his name, the form most commonly used outside Belgium; his Dutch name is Boudewijn. Very rarely, his name is anglicized as Baldwin.
Ascent to the throne
Baudouin was born in Stuyvenberg Castle, near Laeken, Brussels, in Belgium, in 1930, the son of Prince Leopold, the Duke of Brabant and his wife, Astrid of Sweden. His father became King of the Belgians, as Leopold III, in 1934. Baudouin's mother died in 1935.
Part of Leopold III's unpopularity was the result of a second marriage in 1941 to Mary Lilian Baels, an English-born Belgian commoner, later known as Princess de Réthy. More controversial had been Leopold's decision to surrender to Nazi Germany during World War II, when Belgium was invaded in 1940; many Belgians questioned his loyalties, but a commission of inquiry exonerated him of treason after World War II. Though reinstated in a plebiscite, the controversy surrounding Leopold led to his abdication.
King Leopold III requested the Belgian Government and the Parliament to approve a law delegating his royal powers to his son, Prince Baudouin, who took the constitutional oath before the United Chambers of the Belgian Parliament as Prince Royal on 11 August 1950. He ascended the throne and became the fifth King of the Belgians upon taking the constitutional oath on 17 July 1951, one day following his father's abdication.
The Congolese called the young king Mwana Kitoko ("beautiful boy").
During Baudouin's reign the colony of Belgian Congo became independent. The King personally attended the festivities; he gave a speech that received a blistering response by Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.
Baudouin attended the State funeral of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, as the head of state of Belgium, and one of many dignitaries at that state funeral, along with Paul-Henri Spaak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and former three-time Prime Minister of Belgium.
In 1976, on the 25th anniversary of Baudouin's accession, the King Baudouin Foundation was formed, with the aim of improving the living conditions of the Belgian people.
Baudouin was a devout Roman Catholic. Through the influence of Leo Cardinal Suenens, Baudouin participated in the growing Catholic Charismatic Renewal and regularly went on pilgrimages to the French shrine of Paray-le-Monial.
In 1990, when a law submitted by Roger Lallemand and Lucienne Herman-Michielsens, liberalising Belgium's abortion laws, was approved by Parliament, he refused to give Royal Assent to the bill. This was unprecedented; although Baudouin was nominally Belgium's chief executive, Royal Assent has long been a formality (as is the case in most constitutional and popular monarchies). However, due to his religious convictions, Baudouin asked the Government to declare him temporarily unable to reign so that he could avoid signing the measure into law. The Government under Wilfried Martens complied with his request on 4 April 1990. According to the provisions of the Belgian Constitution, in the event the King is temporarily unable to reign, the Government as a whole fulfills the role of Head of State. All members of the Government signed the bill, and the next day (5 April 1990) the Government declared that Baudouin was capable of reigning again.
Death, succession, and legacy
Baudouin reigned for 42 years. He died of heart failure on 31 July 1993 in the Villa Astrida in Motril, in the south of Spain. Although in March 1992 the King had been operated for a Mitral valve prolapse in Paris, his death still came unexpectedly, and sent much of Belgium into a period of deep mourning. Within hours the Royal Palace gates and enclosure were covered with flowers that people brought spontaneously. A viewing of the body was held at the Royal Palace in central Brussels; 500,000 people (5% of the population) turned up to pay their respects. Many waited in line up to 14 hours in sweltering heat to get to see their King one last time. Elizabeth II attended the funeral in person; by tradition the British monarch attends only those funerals which are of close family members (they were only third cousins) or such politicians as prime ministers who die while in office.
Titles and styles
- 7 September 1930 – 17 February 1934: His Royal Highness The Count of Hainaut
- 17 February 1934 – 10 August 1950: His Royal Highness The Duke of Brabant
- 10 August 1950 – 17 July 1951: His Royal Highness The Prince Royal, Duke of Brabant
- 17 July 1951 – 31 July 1993: His Majesty The King of the Belgians
Honours and awards
- Grand Master and Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
- Grand Master of the Order of the African Star
- Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Lion
- Grand Master of the Order of the Crown
- Grand Master of the Order of Leopold II
- Austria : Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1958)
- Iceland : Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Falcon (16 October 1979) 
- Italy : Knight Grand Cross decorated with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (11 June 1966)
- Japan: Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (1964)
- Norway : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav
- Portugal : Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry (24 August 1982)
- Spain : Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
- Spain : Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (6 December 1960)
- Spain : Collar of the Order of Charles III (15 November 1977)
- Thailand : Royal Knight of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri (Thailand)
- Thailand : Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of Chula Chom Klao
- United Kingdom : Stranger Knight of the Order of the Garter
- Sweden : Knights of the Order of the Seraphim
- Denmark : Knight with Collar of the Order of the Elephant
- Netherlands : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
- Luxembourg : Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
- Kingdom of Greece : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
- Iran : Commemorative Medal of the 2500th Anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire (14 October 1971)
- Religious entity
- Holy See : Knight of the Supreme Order of Christ
- Holy See : Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
- SMOM : Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
- Former Royal Families
- Italy : Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (House of Savoy, 1960)
- Italy : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (House of Savoy, 1960)
- Italy : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy (House of Savoy, 1960)
- Kings of Belgium family tree
- Crown Council of Belgium
- Royal Trust
- Herman Liebaers (Marshal of the Royal Household)
- André Molitor (private secretary)
- Jacques van Ypersele de Strihou (private secretary)
- Pierre-Yves Monette (advisor)
- Koningin Fabiola had vijf miskramen
- Suzanne McIntire and William E. Burns, Speeches in World History, Infobase Publishing, 2009, pp. 438-40
- "Belgium: Commoner for A Day, or Two". Time. 16 April 1990. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- Lyons, Richard D. "Baudouin I, King of Belgium, Dies at 62," New York Times. August 1, 1993.
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 53. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- Iceland Presidency Website, Baudoin, konungur Belgíu - Belgía - 1979-10-16 - Stórkross með keðju (= Baudouin, King of Belgians, Belgium, 16th October 1979, Grand Cross with Collar)
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- A. Molitor, La fonction royale en Belgique, Brussels, 1979
- J.Stengers, De koningen der Belgen. Van Leopold I tot Albert II, Leuven, 1997.
- Kardinaal Suenens, Koning Boudewijn. Het getuigenis van een leven, Leuven, 1995.
- Kerstrede 18.12.1975, (ed.V.Neels), Wij Boudewijn, Koning der Belgen. Het politiek, sociaal en moreel testament van een nobel vorst, deel II, Gent, 1996.
- H. le Paige (dir.), Questions royales, Réflexions à propos de la mort d'un roi et sur la médiatisation de l'évènement, Brussels, 1994.
Baudouin of Belgium
Cadet branch of the House of WettinBorn: 7 September 1930 Died: 31 July 1993
|King of the Belgians
|Duke of Brabant