Author Topic: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden  (Read 216638 times)

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Offline KentKim

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2005, 01:42:54 PM »
Part I: Life

Life for Astrid Sophie Louise began on November 17, 1905, in Sweden. Her parents, Prince Charles (brother of the king of Sweden) and Princess Ingeborg (sister of the king of Denmark), reported raised Astrid in a fashion typical of children in average upper-middle class Swedish families. She was the third of four children. Along with her older sisters Margaretha and Martha, Astrid attended high school and had private instruction in domestic skills. Margaretha, later in life married Prince Axel of Denmark, and Martha, was, until her death in 1954, the Crown Princess of Norway. Astrid's only brother, Carl Gustaf Oscar, Prince of Sweden, will soon celebrate his ninetieth birthday. Like most royal children in Scandinavia the daughters and son of Charles and Ingeborg were brought up in the Lutheran church, educated and trained to serve the people of their country.

           Late in 1925, rumors started to circulate about Astrid's engagement-to-marry. The Prince of Wales was often spoken of as the likely future husband of the Swedish princess, but on September 21, 1926, it was the Belgian king, Albert I, who announced Astrid's engagement to his son, the Crown Prince, Leopold III. The courtship had been completely private - it is known for sure that there were many covert visits to the Swedish capital undertaken by the Belgian Prince. He traveled third class and carried his own luggage in order to avoid publicity and notice. In the engagement announcement the queen - Elizabeth of Bavaria - Albert's wife, made it known that this was a love-match and that the two young people were acting with complete liberty and independence without interference from anybody.

           The royal couple were married in two different ceremonies, the first being on November 4, 1926, in the throne room of the royal palace in Stockholm, the day after Leopold's twenty-fifth birthday. The official church wedding happened in Brussels on the tenth of November, 1926, with the kings of Sweden, Belgium, Norway and Denmark present. Along with the official United States ambassador to Belgium, several hundred invited family, guests and dignitaries saw the bride and groom, amid scenes of jubilation and pomp, exchange their vows in the cathedral of Sainte-Gudule. Wedding pictures of the royal couple show the twenty year old bride in a white flowing gown, with a floor length train, that would have been the envy of any bride of that era.


           Astrid soon felt completely at home in her new country. Stories about the new princess were well circulated by newspapers and retold by word-of-mouth. Such tales made Astrid a much beloved public personality nearly overnight. The happening that prompted such a story, which today would seem like a total non-event, took place on the day before Leopold's and Astrid's first wedding ceremony. It was Leopold's birthday. He was in Stockholm for the ceremony the next morning, and naturally, was present in the palace for a birthday dinner-party. After dinner, Princess Astrid presented the Crown Prince with a birthday cake that she had baked herself. It was a chocolate frosted birthday cake. Frosting made with Belgian chocolate.


           On February 17, 1934, Leopold's father, Albert I, king of the Belgians died as the result of a fall while mountain climbing on Marche-les-Dames, near Namur. He was only 59, and his death sent the Belgian people into a state of deep mourning. Leopold and Astrid learned of the king's death while traveling in Switzerland. They returned to Brussels immediately and Leopold became king on February 23, 1934. The start of their reign as king and queen of the Belgians began with Queen Astrid and her two elder children (Princess Josephine Charlotte and Prince Baudoin) sitting on the dais, dressed in mourning clothes, and the Queen Mother Elizabeth sitting opposite her son as the oath was administered by government authorities. Sad times indeed.


           Another story that brings a smile to modern faces is the fact that Astrid insisted on pushing her own baby carriage. On June 6, 1934, just three months after becoming queen of the Belgians, Astrid gave birth to the third of their children - Albert, Prince of Liege - the present king of Belgium. There are many photographs of the Queen, on the grounds of the palace in Brussels, with her children, and the fact that she would maneuver a hundred pound baby carriage around the streets of Brussels caused the burghers of the city much satisfaction.

           During those early months of the king's reign, he too was often seen with the Queen and his children around the city of Brussels. The king was by tradition the commander-in-chief of the Belgian army, and he was usually seen wearing a khaki uniform, the same as his troops would have worn at any given time. His role as a leader of the army would be one that would come to haunt him in later years.

           Leopold was an avid and daring sportsman, much like his father, and the queen and their children would often accompany him on automobile and sailing trips. Astrid, too was an enthusiastic sportswoman. As a young girl in Sweden, she had learned to ski and toboggan on her father's estate in Vestergoetland. She was also a very accomplished tennis player - a skill she learned from her uncle Gustaf V, the king of Sweden.

           These were good times for the Belgian royal family and the people of their country. Most of the social problems that plagued the Belgians for years were solved by constitutional agreement. The Flemings and Waloons each had achieved their goal of making Belgium a bilingual country. The only problem was that the economic crisis that gripped America in a strangle hold of depression also engulfed parts of Europe. Little did the people of Belgium know that just over a year from those days in the spring of 1934, their whole world would again be changed by the terrible death of a member of their royal family.

                       

Offline KentKim

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2005, 01:44:36 PM »
Part 2: Death

  The news no Belgian wanted to hear came in the evening of August 29, 1935. Astrid was dead. Killed in an automobile accident along the shore of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. She was 29 years old.


           It happened at 9:14 AM. The king was driving along a half-mile straight-away that was a well asphalted, two-lane highway. It seemed from the condition of the car after the accident, that the king couldn't have been driving much more than thirty miles per hour at the time of the crash, and as witnesses recounted the event, everyone felt that the accident was nothing more than incredible bad luck. The road edge was lined by an eight inch concrete curb with eighteen inch drainage gaps every fifty feet. Beyond the curb the ground, covered by smooth grass, sloped about thirty degrees to the lake fifty feet away.


           Apparently the royal car's right wheel left the road in one of those drainage apertures and continued some ninety-five feet straddling the curb but with the right side of the car some three feet below the level of the left wheels. At that place the car came to a pear tree about ten inches in diameter and about the width of a car distant from the highway. The two-seater coupe struck the tree with the upper center of the right door exactly where the queen was riding as passenger. The jolt threw the queen from her seat, hitting her head against the tree in the process. She died minutes later.


           Doctors who performed a hurried autopsy late that Thursday afternoon identified the injury that caused the queen's death as a fractured skull. According to the nurse who prepared the body for burial, except for the injury to her forehead, Astrid's face suffered almost no other disfigurement except for a slight bruise under her chin.


           At 10:15 PM, in the Lucerne railroad yard, two funeral cars were added to the train that travels regularly between Milan and Brussels. Astrid's body, in a plain oak coffin, was placed in a baggage car that was quickly turned into a chapel. She was accompanied by two Catholic nuns. The king and his party were alone in the last car. As the funeral train crossed the Belgian frontier, the church bells in the nearest village began to toll in mourning and as the train progressed the tolling was taken up in the next village. After the train arrived in Brussels on Saturday morning, a simple black and silver hearse took the coffin from the train to the palace where the dead queen's body was removed and placed on a bed of white silk, covered with flowers and strewn with violets. Thousands of Belgians, of all stations in life, entered the Thinker's Hall of the palace and filed by to catch a glimpse of Astrid's pale, bandaged face. Only her face was visible to the visitors. The forehead and right cheek were covered with bandages giving her the appearance of a wartime nurse at rest.


           The funeral services, held the following Tuesday, brought the people of Belgium to the streets of Brussels. Still stunned by the magnitude of the tragic event that had befallen them, the mourners wept openly in the streets for their queen. The bells of Sainte-Gudule, which rang for the royal marriage only nine years before, now tolled slowly and dismally. Crowds of people stood silently and bareheaded to watch and listen for the funeral procession to the burial site in Laeken, Belgium. Flags were at half-staff everywhere. There was an endless steam of people who made their way to the palace to express their sympathy.


           The fame and fortune of royal families and governments are at best fleeting and this story does not end with the death of Queen Astrid. Leopold III continued as King of the Belgians for another sixteen years, but in the end was forced to abdicate his throne because of his actions on behalf of the Belgian people during World War II. He died in exile in 1983. Baudoin I, Astrid's oldest son took the crown from his father in 1951 and wore it proudly until his death in 1993. Baudoin had no heirs, so today Albert II, Astrid's second son, who was born that happy summer of 1934, is now king, thus making Astrid the mother of two Belgian kings.


           On the night of the accident, in a radio address, the Belgian Premier Paul van Zeeland, told his nation, "Our queen is no more. We have lost her only for a few hours, but already the greatness of the void she left has caused a deep impression of anguish and consternation. It was hardly nine years ago that she came to us, like a fairy princess in an atmosphere of grace, love, youth and happiness. Who would not have envied her - beloved Queen, gifted woman, mother of three fine children? Yet a single moment was enough for a tragic accident to sweep away everything - both the reality of the present and the promises of the future. Is there really some mysterious law that insures that everything that is the greatest, the purest, the most beautiful should last only for a short time?"


Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2005, 09:23:55 AM »


She is still greatly loved in Belgium.
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2005, 09:28:13 AM »




« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Prince_Lieven »
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

Offline Aliss_Kande

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2005, 12:13:32 PM »
Has anyone else noticed that Astrid rarely ever smiles?

Offline Lucien

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2005, 02:03:19 PM »
On official photo's,no she doesn't,but on private ones she can smile abundantly/warm/genuine.


« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 11:20:56 PM by Svetabel »
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2005, 02:10:08 PM »
Quote
Has anyone else noticed that Astrid rarely ever smiles?


Well, in those days, it took so long to take a photo who can blame her!  ;)
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

Offline Aliss_Kande

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2005, 02:18:53 PM »
Well, I've seen her in other pictures with her sisters and they're smiling, but she's not.

Offline Lucien

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2005, 03:02:06 AM »
Today King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians,accompanied by all members of the RF,
as well as
TTMM The King and Queen of Sweden,The King and Queen of Norway and the
GrandDuke and GrandDuchess of Luxembourg,will open the  exhibition,"Moments with Astrid" at the Royal Palace and the  Bellevue Museum of the Dynasty(adjacent to the Royal Palace)in
honor of the 100th anniversary of the late Queen's birthday.

The exhibition reflects on Queen Astrids family life,her country and era.
http://www.monarchie.be/nl/index.php


« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 11:21:59 PM by Svetabel »
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Offline thijs

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2006, 09:44:52 AM »

Offline La_Rainha

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2006, 03:54:18 AM »
Astrid was really a wonderful woman!
Many years ago, I was in an antique shop, where I found a big framed official photo of Astrid and her husband Leopold! The Photo of Astrid, I bought, but not the one of Leopold, what the shop owner didn`t understand! But a photo of King Leopold I don`t want to hang up in my rooms!

Offline thijs

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2006, 09:47:43 AM »
Wedding picture of Astrid and Leopold.


Offline KarlandZita

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2006, 09:06:29 AM »
Pictures of Astrid's arrival to Anvers :



« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by KarlandZita »
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Offline KarlandZita

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2006, 09:12:57 AM »
The civil wedding :









And the religious wedding celebrated 10 November 1926 in the Sainte-Gudule's cathedral :




« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by KarlandZita »
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Queen Astrid of Belgium, Princess of Sweden
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2006, 02:52:59 PM »
Quote


You can see her flanked by 2 future Queens here--her new sister-in-law Marie Jose of Belgium (later Queen of Italy) and her cousin (and fellow Swedish princess) Ingrid (later Queen of Denmark). Both served as bridesmaids for her.
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