Prince Alexander of Belgium

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Prince Alexander
Born (1942-07-18)18 July 1942
Laeken, Belgium
Died 29 November 2009(2009-11-29) (aged 67)
Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium
Burial Church of Our Lady of Laeken
Spouse Léa Wolman
(m. 1991; his death 2009)
Full name
Alexandre Emmanuel Henri Albert Marie Léopold
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Leopold III of Belgium
Mother Lilian, Princess of Réthy

Prince Alexander of Belgium (French: Alexandre Emmanuel Henri Albert Marie Léopold, Dutch: Alexander Emanuel Hendrik Albert Maria Leopold; 18 July 1942 – 29 November 2009) was the eldest child from the second marriage of King Leopold III of Belgium. His mother was Lilian, Princess of Réthy. The late King Baudouin of Belgium, and former King Albert II of Belgium, were his two older half-brothers. Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg was his older half-sister.

Belgian Royalty
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg
Leopold I
Leopold II
Albert I
Leopold III
Albert II

Background and youth[edit]

Alexander was born in Laeken in Brussels. He had two younger full sisters: Marie-Christine and Maria-Esmeralda. His godmother was his elder half-sister, Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium.

Held under house arrest by the Germans until 1944, upon the invasion in Normandy, Léopold, his second wife, and his four children were transferred to Germany and Austria where they remained under house arrest, first in a fort at Hirschstein in Saxony during the winter of 1944–45, and then at Strobl, near Salzburg. They were freed by the U.S. Army in May 1945. After the war, the Royal Family was unable to return to Belgium and was forced to spend some years in Swiss exile before finally being able to return to Belgium in 1950 after a national referendum. Alexander studied medicine for a while, later pursuing a career in trade.


In Debenham, Suffolk, on 14 March 1991 Alexander married Léa Inga Dora Wolman, who had been twice-divorced. The marriage was kept secret until 1998 because the Prince apparently feared his mother would disapprove.[1] The initial secrecy surrounding this marriage has parallels with his father's wedding to his mother fifty years previously, in 1941. The Prince had two stepchildren, Laetitia Spetschinsky and Renaud Bichara, from Léa's previous marriages.

Royal status[edit]

There had been some friction between the children of the first marriage of King Leopold III of Belgium and those of his second marriage. Eventually, however, Alexander and the dynastic descendants of the first marriage seemed to have made their peace, and the Prince and his wife joined the rest of the Royal Family in public appearances. This does not appear to extend to the two younger children of the second marriage, Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium and Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium.

Although it has been assumed that the children of King Léopold's second marriage were barred from the Belgian throne, some constitutional scholars maintain that there was no legal ground for Alexander's exclusion.[2] Even if that is the case, Alexander's secret marriage in 1991 contravened Article 85 of the Belgian constitution, which deprived of the right of succession to the Throne any descendant of King Leopold I who marries without the Sovereign's permission.[3]

Nonetheless, in a May 2008 interview with Point de Vue, Alexander's wife noted, "...the children of the second marriage of King Leopold -- Prince Alexandre, the Princesses Maria Esmeralda and Marie-Christine -- have been raised in a certain manner: Prince and Princesses of Belgium, accorded the style of Royal Highness, yet excluded from the succession to the throne."[1] She added, "Alexandre received a very solid intellectual education...He waited to assume some official responsibilities. They never came."[1]


Alexander died on November 29, 2009 of a pulmonary embolism. His funeral was held on Friday, December 4, 2009, at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken. He was buried in the crypt.[4]


16. Leopold I of Belgium
8. Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders
17. Princess Louise-Marie of Orléans
4. Albert I of Belgium
18. Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern
9. Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
19. Princess Josephine of Baden
2. Leopold III of Belgium
20. Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria
10. Duke Karl-Theodor in Bavaria
21. Princess Ludovika of Bavaria
5. Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria
22. Miguel of Portugal
11. Infanta Maria Josepha of Portugal
23. Princess Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
1. Prince Alexander of Belgium
24. Petrus Paulus Baels
12. Julius Ludovicus Baels
25. Barbara Francisca de Vos
6. Henri Louis Baels
26. Jean Baptiste Mauricx
13. Delphina Alexandrina Mauricx
27. Joanna Theresia Thuyn
3. Mary Lilian Baels
28. Charles Joseph de Visscher
14. Adolphe Auguste de Visscher
29. Maria Geers
7. Anne Marie de Visscher
30. Jozef August Opsomer
15. Alice Victoria Céline Opsomer
31. Nathalia de Meulenaere


  1. ^ a b c Séguy, Philippe (2008-04-29). "Léa de Belgique: Il faut en finir avec le malheur". Point de Vue (in French): 18–21. 
  2. ^ Velde, François. "The Belgian Succession". Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  3. ^ Velde, François. "The Belgian Succession". Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  4. ^ The Telegraph

External links[edit]