Thursday, September 29, 2011

Great Military Paintings (fourth part)

King Leopold II presides over army field maneuvers (I assume it is the Queen who is with him?)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Military Paintings (third part)

Exhausted and some wounded Belgian soldiers falling back up the coast.

Belgian soldiers directed forward (this may only be maneuvers)

Proud old veterans of the 1830 Belgian Revolution

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Great Military Paintings (second part)

Belgian soldiers at army maneuvers in the dunes

Belgian artillery moved into position

The carnage of Flanders, the Great War

Monday, September 26, 2011

Great Military Paintings (first part)

 Belgian troops moving in the harsh conditions of the Flanders front

 Victorious Belgian troops parade through liberated Brussels in 1918

One of the brave defenders of the country, from the uniform probably early in 1914.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Princess Astrid in New York City

Our Princess Astrid, along with children Princess Maria-Laura and Prince Amadeo are in New York City and are seen in this picture at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel for a reception to celebrate the UN decade to the "Roll Back Malaria" partnership. Princess Astrid later spoke at the reception and it was nice seeing her there with Princess Maria-Laura and Prince Amadeo (though I always like best to see Princess Marie-Laura ;-)). This event was yesterday.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Royals Out of Senate

It has happened that I have found a part of the new compromise already that I do not like, one of the oldest parts of the constitution is to be done away with. That is that Prince Philippe, Prince Laurent and Princess Astrid will no longer be able to have their seats in the Senate according to the new changes. This is a tradition that dates back to the original 1831 constitution which stated that the sons of the King could have seats in the Senate to gain political experience and keep in touch with understanding the will of the people. Later, SM King Leopold II changed this to extend to other royals since he had no children but still wanted his heir, future King Albert I, to sit in the Senate to gain political experience. Of course, they do not count towards a quorum and they cannot vote until they attain legal maturity but now the children of the King will be denied their place in the Senate. I think this is a terrible change. Surely it would be a good idea for the children of Prince Philippe, such as Princesse Elisabeth who will be our Queen someday, to have actual experience in the workings of government? It is probably not so important that Philippe, Astrid and Laurent no longer sit, but it is not good I think to deprive the next generation of this valuable tool in growing their understanding of the political system and how things work.

Astrid spreekt over strijd tegen malaria

De Belgische prinses Astrid neemt deze week als speciaal vertegenwoordiger van het Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnerschap deel aan een aantal activiteiten in New York. Aanleiding is het tienjarig bestaan van het Partnerschap.

Prinses Astrid houdt op uitnodiging van Asho-Rose Migiro, adjunct secretaris-generaal van de Verenigde Naties en van Awa Coll-Seck, uitvoerend directeur van het RBM Partnerschap, een toespraak tijdens een receptie.

Astrid verhaalt daar over de resultaten voor van tien jaar malariabestrijding. En ook spreekt zij over de vooruitzichten op de uiteindelijke uitroeiing van de ziekte, voornamelijk in Afrika, tegen de streefdatum van 2015.

Prinses Astrid ontmoet ook tijdens haar verblijf in New York vertegenwoordigers van organisaties en landen die deel uitmaken van het RBM Partnerschap, aldus een mededeling van het Paleis te Brussel. © RB

Thursday, September 15, 2011

No Holiday for King Albert

King Albert II cannot get a break! It is true, every time the King tries to go on break and take a holiday his feuding politicians force him to come back home to try to get all the children to behave themselves and play nice with each other. In August of 2007 the King had to leave sunny southern France from vacationing because Prime Minister Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian Democrat) had enough and wanted to quit his position. In July 2010 the King could not even leave on his hoped for vacation because of the politicians fighting, in an argument still unresolved. This year the King tries again but the crisis do not stop. First he had to stop his vacation and return home because of the Pukkelpop music festival tragedy and just after deciding to try again to have a little break the King is now having to fly home from Nice because of the breakdown in government formation talks led by Francophone socialist leader Elio Di Rupo. The King was already being frustrated with them for taking so long to accomplish anything and urged them to at least quickly reach an agreement on state reforms.

What has been happening there? Mr. Di Rupo has been giving the appearance of being ready to quit himself because of the political deadlock but did just finally reach one agreement on the division of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde which has been the subject of contention for a long time, almost since the start of the great Belgian experiment in federalism. Di Rupo turned up the drama meter and basically told everyone the world would come to an end today if they did not make some agreement about the BHV and the burgomasters of the three Flemish municipalities around Brussels with language facilities, which they have. So, some progress is made on the BHV which has been argued about for 48 years since it was created in 1963. But we know that this does not solve the problem of Belgium having no government. This push to solve the BHV problem was started by the King who has been frustrated watching the conditions for the people growing worse in the face of the economic crisis but with the political deadlock preventing taking new action to deal with the problems. The King hoped getting the BHV problem out of the way would make the negotiators able to deal with the budget and social economic issues that are greatly needed.

Prins Filip Joins Special Forces

Just for a day, Prince Philippe joins the special forces, para-commandos who are in training, see the video here. (the picture above is from an earlier occasion)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Speech of Princesse Elisabeth

Princess Elisabeth gave her first speech at the opening of a new children's hospital in Ghent.
Here is news video of the event
video of the arrival and speech
I thought the princesse did wonderful job, she spoke with great firmness and showed no nervousness even speaking in front of so many dignitaries. She is a wonderful asset to the Royal Family and credit to Belgium. Prince Philippe seemed more nervous for her, Princesse Mathilde just a big smile of pride all throughout and the crowd looked very impressed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Marie-José and Mussolini

This story has been talked about much in the recent days, so I will give my thoughts here instead of to each one. The issue, spoken of by The Mad Monarchist and The Cross of Laeken among others, involved the rumor that Princesse Marie-José (who would be the last Queen of Italy) who was the daughter of SM King Albert I of the Belgians, had a short affair with the infamous Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Many media people are saying the rumors have now been proven but that is certainly not the truth, all that has been proven is that Mussolini's son, who was just a teenager at the time, mentioned the gossip in writing. I do not think anyone who has written about this, in the media, to believe any of it have any knowledge or understanding at all about Marie-José or even Mussolini. From everything I have read on the subject, far away from any affection for each other, the two were closer to hating each other greatly.

I have read one book about Mussolini's rule in Italy (a very big book I had to read for group project) stated that the regime of Mussolini disapproved of Marie-José because she was the opposite of what they thought a good Italian woman should be. She was too thin, her hair was too short, she was too fashionable and she was too independent. That is naturally not what the Fascists wanted women to be like, they wanted them to be matronly, mothers and obedient. Also, we know that the Princess plotted against Mussolini, along with others, because she was so opposed to him and his totalitarian rule over Italy, she supported the dissidents against him and tried to have him overthrown from power. She was probably his biggest enemy of all in the Family Royal of Italy and she also had been raised with the values never to do something like that and in fact such an affair would have been unthinkable for her.

Mussolini, we know, had affairs all the time with lots of different women and maybe he wanted people to think that he had, and just spread the rumor around himself because Marie-José was the most beautiful and glamorous princess around. However, if there was any truth of that Mussolini would have been telling everyone and there would be lots of evidence for it instead of there being none but a mention in some old Mussolini family letters. There is no way any of this makes any sense. Marie-José was a very liberal, liberty-loving person, totally the opposite of a Fascist dictator and Mussolini never said anything even kind about her. She was in every way the kind of woman he did not like and he considered a bad influence on Italian women. This story is just a lurid tale to injure or harm, I think just because Mussolini was the dictator and Marie-José was the most famous and glamorous woman in Rome and people just have to make up something to link the two. But it is illogical, unreasonable and too fantastic for any person to believe.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Houses of Coburg and Savoy Together

King Albert I and King Vittorio Emanuele III in World War I

Belgian and Italian royal families meet; Crown Princes Leopold and Umberto, King Albert I, Queen Elena, Queen Elisabeth and King Vittorio Emanuele III

The Belgian and Italian Kings and Queens on the occasion of the marriage of Princess Marie Jose of Belgium and the Italian heir to the throne Prince Umberto of Italy.

The couple who would be the last King and Queen of Italy, Marie Jose and Umberto II