King Leopold III was a great man in the history of the Belgian monarchie. But on July 16, 1951 he abdicated the throne which had been "empty" since the ending days of World War II when the King was taken away by the Germans and Prince Charles was named regent (they are seen here together). This can be seen as a confusing situation to many people and it was a confusing situation for Belgians as well. Leopold III has been misrepresented by every party since the Second Great War. He was accused by the Allies of surrendering too soon, but that is not true, he fought on until he was totally surrounded, saving the British army in the process. He was accused of treason by some politicians in exile, but that is not true, he always stood firmly for independence and the national sovereignty of Belgium. He was accused of collaboration with the Germans, but that is not true, he was their prisoner the entire time, even being taken by force out of Belgium at the end.
S.M. King Leopold III was a great man and, I believe, the country would have been much better off if he had simply taken affairs into his own hands to rule the country himself. However, this could only have happened if the Germans had remained victorious and the Germans showed little or no support for Belgium even existing if they had won the war. They were more inclined to support the breakup of Belgium since many collaborators in Flanders and Netherland supported the "Greater Netherlands" idea. Yet, when the sad day of abdication and the crisis called the "Royal Question" came up, most conclude that Leopold III had more support in Flanders than in Wallonia. None of it really makes any sense. The King was supported by most people after the war too, and I would have liked him to have returned and dealt with opposition firmly. But, the King was more kind than I and he abdicated because he put his country's peace and unity first and if it would cause discomfort for the country for him to remain as King, regardless of most supporting him, he would be obligated to abdicate his throne.
It was an unfair and terrible thing to do but the King was guided by compassion to do it, which action itself should show how untrue were the lies his enemies said about him being someone who wanted to be a dictator-royale. I think it would have been better for him to do just that! Let the purge happen if necessary, but, the King was a compassionate man who did not want to put his people through any more trauma. That is the great and special bond that exists in Belgium because of the monarchie populaire, the King is not the ruler of a government or a piece of land but King of a people and the people were the first concern of Leopold III. But this is exactly why his abdication and loss was so bad, for that same reason, that he was a man to do that proves that he was the monarch of that type who is most needed.
The politicians who were often in opposition to the King, even before the war to be truthful about it, encouraged the opposition against him just as they encouraged division in their country because they would do anything to increase and maintain their own hold on power. This proves, again, how vital the monarchie is. Just as Francis Balace said, "Face aux politiciens de plus en plus discrédités, le Roi a l'avantage d'être le seul dont l'homme de la rue puisse jurer que son intérêt personnel coïncide avec celui du pays".