Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Costume Idea

I understand it is too late for most of you, but I address the readers in the Americas. It is Halloween and you still have no costume. What to do?! Here is an easy idea, go to 'trick or treat' as the most scary King of the Belgians, Leopold II! (I don't think he was scary, I think he has a very incorrect image but you cannot argue with popular opinion) This is an easy last-minute costume to make, especially since the stores I see here start putting out Christmas items as soon as the first cool wind blows through. All you need is something like a blue coat, maybe also attach some brass buttons, then go get a Santa Claus beard from the store and you are done, ready to go 'trick or treat' as the scary King Leopold II. Best I could come up with at this short notice. Happy Halloween to everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Princess Astrid to Run Marathon

Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz and Prince Amedeo will be running in the New York marathon on 6 November. Archduke Lorenz and Prince Amedeo ran before, years ago, this year I think will be the first time for Princess Astrid. Article from De Standaard:

Op 6 november staan maar liefst drie leden van de Belgische koninklijke familie aan de start van de marathon van New York. Dat meldt het Laatste Nieuws dinsdag. Naast prins Lorenz en prins Amadeo zal ook prinses Astrid deelnemen aan de beroemde marathon.

Prins Lorenz en zijn zoon prins Amadeo liepen in 2007 al de 42,195 kilometer door Manhattan. Zij kunnen prinses Astrid dus gidsen tijdens de marathon, die door zo'n 45.000 mensen gelopen wordt. De familie laat niets aan het toeval over, ze zouden zich zelfs laten begeleiden door een atletiekcoach die zich specialiseert in marathons.

'De prinses is een fervente jogster', verklaart Pierre-Emmanuel De Bauw, woordvoerder van het paleis. 'Momenteel is ze in volle voorbereiding voor de marathon, ze traint hard en veel.'

De Belgische overheid bekijkt nu met de Amerikaanse veiligheidsdiensten of voor de uitgebreide delegatie van het Belgisch koningshuis op de marathon extra veiligheidsmaatregelen nodig zijn.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Joyeux Anniversaire, Élisabeth!

Yesterday was the 10th birthday of our future Queen and the Royal Palace issued some new photos for the occasion. They are great! Joyeux Anniversaire, Princesse Élisabeth!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Belgian Royals Visit China

Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde are right now in Beijing, China with a large number of business people to try to encourage the Chinese to buy more Belgian exports and make a better environment for Belgian businesses in China. The Minister of Foreign Affairs said this was important because the economic crisis had made trade even more important. Currently there are many business ties between China and Antwerp especially. Crown Prince Philippe has met with the Deputy Prime Minister of China, Wang Qishan, and Crown Princess Mathilde has visited a dance academy also in Beijing. Belgium used to have a concession in China during the days of the Manchu Emperors but I would wager that today there are probably even more Belgian owned properties in China because of the place of importance China has today in the world of trade and the global economy. The Chinese economy has grown faster than any other in history, of any country, just in the recent decades.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Great Video! "Let's Stay Together" by Belgian Deejays United

Officers in the Congo Free State

This summer the website "Nobility" posted an article on Captain Leopold Louis Joubert, a real hero of Belgium. He was one of the volunteers of the Papal Zouaves who fought to defend the estates of Pope Pius IX from the Italian nationalist movement. With other veterans of the zouaves in 1880 he went to the Congo Free State of King Leopold II doing missionary work but he and his comrades had to revert to their military role to defend the poor natives from the cruelty of the Arab slave traders. This is not much talked about today but was a big part of the Belgian involvement in central Africa as King Leopold II pursued the war against the Arab slave trade. He built mission-forts to defend the area, showing great courage, and was later supported with men and arms by the Congo Free State government of King Leopold II. Certainly not a racist, Captain Joubert married the daughter of a local African chief by whom he had ten children. He was knighted by the Pope for his actions defending the Church and was also knighted by King Leopold II for his actions defending the Africans of the Congo.

Also, on a different tone, there is the case of Finn Kjelstrup, a Norwegian officer in the service of King Leopold II in the Congo Free State. I do not read Norwegian but can tell this webzone, from the University of Oslo, takes the more typical negative view of the Congo Free State as they relate the long career of this officer there. However, the photos and letters of the officer are interesting and how he tells what changes were made in attitude and why. This also I have commented on, that in the early days of the Congo Free State, and even much later in the era of the Belgian Congo, the officers of the Force Publique included more Scandinavians than Belgians, as they had many military officers in need of employment. Norway, for example, as related in the site, had to downsize the military after parting from the royal union with the Kingdom of Sweden and so many veteran military men needed work and were employed by King Leopold II in the Congo after a short training period to make them familiar with the unique circumstances of service in central Africa.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Belgium and the Bonapartes

The Brazen Bonapartist reports on Belgium and the Bonapartes. Also, this is an opportunity to look back on some past posts dealing with that subject: The Duchess of Richmond Ball, General Van Merlen, General Dumonceau, Regent Chokier (an admirer of Napoleon) and the Children of King Leopold II. It was Leopold II's daughter Princess Clementine who married Prince Victor Napoleon (Napoleon V for the Bonapartists) and only recently I again happened to see some pictures of the modern Bonaparte family and had to smile. You can definitely see the genes of King Leopold in them with their prominent noses! The King was, I think, not so happy about his daughter marrying a relative of Napoleon but he seems to have left his mark on the House Bonaparte.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Busts of Kings

I love these, they make the Kings seem like Roman Emperors -especially King Leopold II and King Albert I the way they are wrapped up almost looks like togas!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our Favorite Luxembourger

Today is the anniversary of the birthday of our favorite Luxembourg Grand Duchess, who was born in 1927, Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium who was the daughter of King Leopold III and Queen Astrid. The Grand Duchess died in 2000. I remember her and I always liked her, even from looking at her photographs, from when she was very small to when she was an old lady she had a look in her eyes like she would have been a lot of fun to be around. A happy anniversary to her highness!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Burqa Ban Remains

The constitutional court has thrown out a case filed by two Muslim women which called for the law which bans the wearing of the burqa (that awful head-to-toe goth beekeeper outfit) in Belgium. This was put forward by the women on the claim that it limited their freedom of movement since they cannot wear the burqa in public yet they feel they have no choice but to wear the burqa at all times -so they claim that they cannot go anywhere. The court thought this was ridiculous and threw away the proposal. Whether or not the burqa ban is constitutional has still not been decided so the law could go away anyway next spring when the court is expected to make the big decision about the law. I don't like any government telling people what to wear but for me this case only illustrates why I support the ban on the burqa. By saying they cannot go anywhere without being covered in black robes from head to toe these women only show how repressive their religious belief is and not the law. This is why I think the ban is necessary because it will force people to make a decision who have been trying to push legalism to the limit or to say it different, using freedom to promote oppression. I say I do not like laws telling people what to wear but this is exactly what these women are saying about their religion -it tells them what they have to wear everyday! For my opinion this shows a simple test these people did not make. Belgium is a traditionally Catholic country, today largely non-religious and tolerant. If your religion is so repressive to demand this extreme form of control you really should not be moving to a place like Belgium at all. We have a tolerant society but that cannot mean we tolerate everything. Oppressing women, which the burqa is a symbol of, keeping them subservient and second class is not something we will tolerate. If the Muslim men think women should have to wear a burqa and if it is not oppression then they should have to wear the burqa also and see how they enjoy that! Besides, most women are beautiful and it seems a bigger crime to hide them all just if the men cannot control themselves.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The King Will Not Quit

Rumors, which I never gave credit for truth, that the King was wishing to abdicate are not true according to royal adviser Pierre-Yves Monette. In an interview with RTL-TVi Monette said what we all should know. That after five hundred days of deadlocked negotiations the King is extremely frustrated, Monette said, "After 500 days the King has had enough". In addition though he also says that does not mean the King is ready to quit or desires to abdicate. He is very frustrated with the position of stagnation but he is not frustrated with being our King, which he loves and wishes to continue. I never believed the rumors but it is nice to hear this reassurance. Alone in the (non)government the King is only Belgian and looking out for the country and all the people. Whatever happens with the selfish political class, the King will always be King of the Belgians until he is called by God. I sympathize with his position and am grateful for him doing all he can to preserve the country, our national integrity and showing that we have two (or three) languages but we are ONE people. Leve de koning! Vive l'roi!

A Picture By Request


Another New Royal Book

This I would really like to get. Known royal author Christophe Vachaudez also working with Olivier Defrance, will come out with this book after being allowed access to the photographs collection of Queen Elisabeth and others of the Belgian Royal Family to make this great royal photo-album book. It will be available in Dutch and French languages and is to be released October 22. It should be great! Here is the specific informations:

Title: l'Album Royal, de Léopold I à Baudouin
ISBN: 9782873867515
29,95 EUR
Hard cover
Pages: 192
Publisher: Racine

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ceci n'est pas une brabanconne

If Belgium split, we would have to reinvent it. This is a musical response to the nonsense.

New Bio of First King

For those interested, there is released now a new biography (Dutch language) on the first King of the Belgians, King Leopold I. See it here.