Albert I of Belgium
Albert I reigned as King of the Belgians from 1909 to 1934. He ruled during an eventful period in the history of Belgium. He died in a mountaineering accident in eastern Belgium in 1934, at the age of 58. He was succeeded by his son Leopold III.
About Albert I of Belgium in brief
Albert I reigned as King of the Belgians from 1909 to 1934. He ruled during an eventful period in the history of Belgium. He died in a mountaineering accident in eastern Belgium in 1934, at the age of 58. He was succeeded by his son Leopold III. He is popularly referred to as the ‘Soldier King’ in Belgium in reference to his role during World War I. He and his wife, Queen Elisabeth, were popular in Belgium due to their simple lifestyle and life. An important aspect of Albert’s reign was many reforms in the administration of the Belgian Congo, Belgium’s only colonial possession. Many stories illustrate his deep and tender piety. For instance, when his former tutor, General De Grunne, said to him: ‘May you spend the joy of giving oneself to God,’ Albert replied: ‘Yes, I will’ He was a devout Catholic and was married to a Wittelsbach princess whom he met at a family funeral. The couple had three children: following the death of his uncle, Leopolds II of Belgium, Albert succeeded to the Belgian throne in December 1909, since Albert’s own father had died in 1905. He also had a son, Philippe, who was the third son of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, and wife, Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Albert was seriously concerned with the situation of the working classes in Belgium, and personally travelled around working class districts incognito, to observe the living conditions of the people.
He recommended reforms to protect the native population and to further technological progress in the colony. His wife was a daughter of Bavarian Duke Karl-Theodor, and his second wife, the Infanta Maria Josepha of Portugal. She was born at Possenhofen Castle, Bavaria, Germany, on 25 July 1876, and died on 23 November 1965. The civil wedding was conducted by Friedrich Krafft Graf von Crailsheim in the Throne Hall, and the religious wedding was carried out by Cardinal von Stein, assisted by Jakob von Türk, Confessionar of the King of Bavaria. The letters express a deep mutual affection based on a rare affinity of spirit. The spouses shared an intense commitment to their country and family and a keen interest in human progress of all kinds. They cultivated the friendship of prominent scientists, artists, mathematicians, musicians, and philosophers, turning their court at Laeken into a kind of cultural salon. They were unassuming in their simple, unassuming lifestyle, which stood in contrast to the aloof and private life of the autocratic and irregular life of Leopold II, who lived in Belgium from 1885 to 1894.