Monday, June 6, 2016

Royal Profile:King Albert II of Belgium

King Albert II of Belgium was born 6 June 1934 as the second son of King Leopold III & Queen Astrid{Source}. He was 15 months old when his mother died in a car accident in Switzerland{Source}. His father remarried in September 1941. He had two full siblings, and three half siblings, as well as several siblings-in-law, nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, and a few great-great nieces and nephews:
  1. Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium (1927-2005, she would later become Grand Duchess of Luxembourg by marriage)
    1. Princess Marie-Astrid, Archduchess of Austria (1954)
      1. Archduke Carl Christian of Austria (1954, m. 1982)
        1. Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria, Countess of Limburg-Stirum (1983)
          1. Count Rodolphe of Limburg-Stirum (1979, m.2008)
            1. Count Léopold of Limburg-Stirum (2011)
            2. Count Constantin of Limburg-Stirum (2013)
        2. Archduke Imre of Austria (1985)
          1. Archduchess Kathleen of Austria (1986,m. 2012)
            1. Archduchess Maria-Stella of Austria (2013)
            2. Archduchess Magdalena of Austria (2016)
        3. Archduke Christoph of Austria (1988)
          1. Archduchess Adélaïde of Austria (1989, m. 2012)
            1. Archduchess Katarina of Austria (2014)
        4. Archduke Alexander of Austria (1990)
        5. Archduchess Gabriella of Austria (1994)
    2. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg (1955)
      1. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg (1956, m. 1981)
        1. Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (1981)
          1. Princess Stéphanie , Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg (1984)
        2. Prince Félix of Luxembourg (1984)
          1. Princess Claire of Luxembourg (1985)
            1. Princess Amalia de Nassau (2014)
        3. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (1986)
          1. Princess Tessy of Luxembourg (1985)
            1. Prince Noah de Nassau (2006)
            2. Prince Gabriel de Nassau (2007)
        4. Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg (1991)
        5. Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg(1992)
    3. Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg, Princess of Liechtenstein (1957, twin)
      1. Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein (1947, m. 1982)
        1. Prince Leopold of Liechtenstein (1984-1984)
        2. Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein (1985)
        3. Princess Marie-Astrid of Liechtenstein (1987)
        4. Prince Joesf-Emmanuel of Liechtenstein (1989)
    4. Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg (1963)
      1. Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg (1968, m. 1994)
        1. Prince Paul Louis de Nassau (1998)
        2. Prince Léopold de Nassau (2000)
        3. Princess Charlotte de Nassau (2000)
        4. Prince Jean de Nassau (2004)
  2. King Baudouin I of Belgium (1930-1993)
    1. Queen Fabiola of Belgium (1932-2012)
  3. Prince Alexander of Belgium (1942-2009)
    1. Princess Léa of Belgium  (1951, m. 1991)
  4. Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium (1952)
  5. Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium, Lady Moncada (1956)
    1. Sir Salvador Moncada (1944)
      1. Miss Alexandra Leopoldine Moncada (1998)
      2. Master Leopoldo Daniel Moncada (1999)

His godparents were:

  1. Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma 
  2. Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians (maternal grandmother)
He himself is a godfather to his youngest half-sister, Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium.

He holds honors from:
  1. Belgium
  2. Afganistan
  3. Austria-Hungary
  4. Bolivia
  5. Chile 
  6. Columbia 
  7. Cuba
  8. Czechoslovakia
  9. Ecuador
  10. Egypt
  11. Ethiopia
  12. France
  13. Italy
  14. Japan
  15. Latvia
  16. Luxembourg
  17. Monaco
  18. Morocco
  19. The Netherlands
  20. Norway
  21. Persia
  22. Poland
  23. Portugal
  24. Prussia
  25. Romania
  26. Russia
  27. Serbia
  28. Spain
  29. Sweden
  30. United Kingdom
  31. United States
  32. Venezuela
  33. Malta

When he was six years old, Belgium was being invaded, so he and his siblings were evacuated to France and later to Spain {Source}. The royal siblings returned to their home country at the end of the summer for a few years, before being evacuated to Germany and later Austria until May 1945 {Source}.
The Belgian Royal Family left Austria in October 1945 for Switzerland, where the young Prince continued his education until 1950 {Source}. He returned with his father and brother to Belgium in July 1950 {Source}.

He met his wife, Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, at the Belgian Embassy in Rome after witnessing the coronation of Pope John XXIII, during their first meeting he fell in love with her instantly, and proposed {Source} He is the only Prince of Liege to date (he was given it by King Albert I, but Albert II decided in 2002 to not give out courtesy titles and only the Duke/Duchess of Brabant for the heir) {Source}
On 2 July 1959, Prince Albert married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria{Source}. Together, they would have three children, two sons and a daughter, as well as several grandchildren and a newborn great granddaughter{Source}:
  1. King Philippe of Belgium (1960) 
    1. Queen Mathilde of Belgium
      1. Princess Elisabeth of Belgium , The Duchess of Brabant (2001)
      2. Prince Gabriel  of Belgium  (2003)
      3. Prince Emmanuel  of Belgium (2005)
      4. Princess Eléonore of Belgium (2008)
  2. Princess Astrid, Archduchess of Austria-Este (1962)
    1. Prince Laurent, Archduke of Asutria-Este (1963)
      1. Prince Amedeo of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este (1986)
        1. Archduchess Elisabetta "Lili" of Austria-Este (1987)
          1. Archduchess Anna Astrid of Austria-Este (2016)
        2. Princess Maria Laura of Belgium, Archduchessof Austria-Este (1988)
        3. Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este (1991)
        4. Princess Luisa Maria of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este (1995)
        5. Princess Laetia Maria of Belgium , Archduchess of Austria-Este (2003)
  3. Prince Laurent of Belgium (1963)
    1. Princess Claire of Belgium (1972)
      1. Princess Louise of Belgium (2004)
      2. Prince Nicolas (2005)
      3. Prince Aymeric (2005)
In 1962, he was asked to become the Honorary President of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Foreign Trade Office, a position which he held until 1992 {Source}. In 1984, a fund named for him was set up to assist in training foreign trade specialists {Source}. From 1954-1992, he was President of the Caisse Générale d'Epargne et de Retraite {Source}.Moreover, Prince Albert also assumed the Presidency of the Board of the from 1954 to 1992. He was President of the Belgian Red Cross from 1958 to 1993.Apart from these various functions, Prince Albert carried out actions in the field of town planning, housing, nature conservation, listed monuments and sites, and in general, management of the environment. In this context, he has presided or attended many international conferences. In 1969, he was invited by the Council of Europe to assume the Presidency of the European Ministerial Conference on the protection of the cultural and architectural heritage.After the death of his brother, King Baudouin, Prince Albert was sworn in before the combined chambers of parliament on 9 August 1993 as the sixth King of the Belgians.On 3 July 2013, King Albert II attended a midday session of the Belgian cabinet. He then announced that on 21 July, he would abdicate the throne for health reasons.

He was the second Belgian King to abdicate, the first was his father.

It has been rumored for many years that he fathered an illegitimate child, Delphine Boël, a situation which he denies. I discussed this situation in July 2013 when the controversy re-surfaced in the public.He allegedly had an affair with Delphine’s mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, wanted to divorce Paola and go to the UK to live with Sybille and Delphine but it was impossible since Baudouin had no heirs and Philippe was too young at the time to be King if something happened {Source}. From this alleged relationship, he has:
  1. Jonkvrouw Delphine Michèle Anne Marie Ghislaine Boël (1968)
    1. Joséphine O'Hare (2003)
    2. Oscar O'Hare (2008)

The former King speaks French (fluent), Flemish (although not as well as he should), English and a little German. He is Doctor Honoris Causa of the Catholic University of Leuven, the Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Ghent University, Free University of Brussels, the Catholic university of Mons and the Polytechnic Faculty of Mons.He was the Speaker at the College of Europe Opening Ceremony in 1969.

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