Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Princess Astrid Honors 10 Days Campaign

On April 21 (Birthday of the British Queen -happy birthday!) SAR Princesse Astrid attended a special memorial ceremony for the 10 Days Campaign of 1831 in Houthalen-Helchteren where a special cross stands to mark the graves of the Dutch and Belgian soldiers who died in that short outbreak of hostilities. Princesse Astrid attended the ceremony alongside civil and military officials, remembering the Ten Days Campaign. This happened in 1831, not long after the Belgian Revolution when the Dutch were making an effort to re-conquer Belgium from the pro-independence Belgian leaders. As I made mention last time the Dutch King Willem I was very reluctant to accept the independence of Belgium and had to be pressured by the other powers into giving up his claim to the country and hope of eventually retaking it. The 10 Days Campaign was an early effort led by the Prince of Orange (who was very well liked by most Belgians) and other royal princes which actually led to some defeats for the Belgian volunteers were not well organized or prepared at all. Most were not professional soldiers at all. However, and Belgium must be grateful for this, the Kingdom of the French intervened on behalf of Belgium and the arrival of the French troops convinced the Dutch to abandon the effort and return home. It is pleasing to see Princesse Astrid honoring this link with Belgian history and to honor the brave volunteers who gave their lives defending independence. Since we are now thankfully good and close friends with the Netherlands we also should appreciate the duty and sacrifice of the Dutch soldiers for their King and also should remember with gratitude the French royal soldiers who provided such vital assistance.

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