Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Great Kings, Part VI, Albert II

Finally we come to our King today, Albert II, who is often made light of by the people who make a profession of mockery but who is held in high regard by those in the government and society who actually work with him on a regular basis and this is significant to know. Unlike most of the kings before him, his influence on policy is very restricted and it seems that the attitude of the people today in general is less respectful toward the monarchy than in the past and this hurts not only the reputation of the King but also the cohesion of the country. But the King has been probably the most diligent and involved monarch of all the kings and queens today. This is because he has to deal with issues most other monarchs do not have to deal with and he has shown, even if he is not always appreciated for it, just how central and important the monarchy is for Belgium and in this way he has been very dutiful in keeping to his oath to defend the unity and integrity national of Belgium. He has not always been free from error but he has persisted in doing everything in his power to keep the country together, make peace between the disputing parties and keep a positive image for the country to the world. The King has shown he is always ‘on call’ and has had to step in during emergencies many times as the only person in the government everyone recognizes as being above partisanship.

The King has been very careful to avoid any hint of favoritism and a willingness to work with anyone except for those who have destructive intentions towards the kingdom. He has worked constantly promote the Belgian economy and friendly relations with countries all over the world. All of this he has done with the smile and laugh everyone recognizes. In times of tragedy he is the first to offer comfort to those involved, he has a tradition of always giving generously to those who write to him asking for his help and when hard financial times hit the government he set the example by willingly giving up any increase in his own allowance. Everyone who knows him has attested to his friendly nature, charming personality, good humor and humble familiarity. He is known as a very human humanitarian. There are other monarchs, I know, who are possibly more celebrated in the media but myself I cannot imagine most of these doing what our King has had to do on several occasions, really being the key mediator in political disputes over the forming of a government. In most countries the monarch has no part in this at all, even if there are negotiations, they are done and the king or queen is just informed after the fact. In Belgium, without the King, maybe nothing would be done at all. For being so diligent in his duty, devoted to his country and still keeping a laugh, I think Albert II is a great King.

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