Twenty-three Years Ago Today…

The world and, in particular, the people of Belgium lost an extraordinary servant King. Today marks the twenty-third anniversary of the shockingly early passing of King Baudouin I of the Belgians on 31 July 1993. He died of a massive heart attack while on vacation at the royal couple’s compound, Villa Astrida, in Motril, Southern Spain.

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King Baudouin – 25th Jubilee

April 1, 1976 saw Belgium celebrate the 25th Jubilee of King Baudouin. Here are public and private scenes from some of the celebrations.

From the balcony of the Brussels City Hall, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola greet the Belgian people with one heart as the crowd cheers.

From the balcony of the Brussels City Hall, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola greet the Belgian people with one heart as the crowd cheers.

The crowds receive their sovereign from the balcony of the Brussels City Hall.

The crowds receive their sovereign from the balcony of the Brussels City Hall.

Greeting the Belgian citizens.

Greeting the Belgian citizens.

At the palace of Laeken, which is the familiar residence of the royal couple of Belgium, am intimate family dinner. Around the table: Prince Laurent (back), Princess Paola, King Baudouin, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg, Princess Astrid, Prince Albert, Queen Fabiola and Prince Philippe.

At the palace of Laeken, which is the familiar residence of the royal couple of Belgium, an intimate family dinner. Around the table: Prince Laurent (back), Princess Paola, King Baudouin, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg, Princess Astrid, Prince Albert, Queen Fabiola and Prince Philippe.

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Years of happiness and moments of relaxation between the Baudouin and Fabiola. Calm dialogue in the private study.

Years of happiness and moments of relaxation between the Baudouin and Fabiola. Happy dialogue in the private study.

Enjoying the fresh air together.

Enjoying the fresh air together.

Playing table tennis in the park at Laeken.

Playing table tennis in the park at Laeken.

Faux King Baudouin – 1951

There once was a young man who exactly resembled young King Baudouin of the Belgians and this is what happened next…

21 November 1951 a small group of students is about to be talked about in the whole of Belgium. They rent a limousine and driver and distribute the roles of palace ministers, officers, King, and so on… Their target is none other than the Institute d’Heverlee, Sacred Heart – as the saying goes home of “eleven thousand virgins.” There they will be welcomed with open arms by a community of Sisters and the “King” will shamelessly visit the institute only to be discovered by a suspicious Bishop to end this epic student prank.

Musical credit: Spike Jones, Charleston

La Libre.be : Le “faux Roi”: 60 ans déjà – (toute l’histoire ici)

Dry Cheese and Milk On The Windowsill

This week we will start a new series from the German magazine, Story.  They have done a special edition in honor of Queen Fabiola after her death on 5 December 2014. Their story is Fabiola in 7 Anecdotes.

Dry Cheese and Milk On The Windowsill

Both459During Baudouin’s reign, the menu was very basic at the Castle of Laken. It was the royal couple themselves who often turned out the lights at night. According to close aids, the motto of the royal couple was “no ostentatious luxury” and as the saying goes in Dutch, “every nickel was turned seven times before being spent.”

Even the receptions at the castle couldn’t be too expensive. A worker at the palace said that “it was a public secret that one didn’t eat very well at the palace back then.” At official ceremonies, staff had to make the rounds with “plates with dry cheese chunks, until people started laughing with it.”

Baudouin’s grand Marshal, Herman Liebaers, told how the royal couple received a thousand bottles of the grand-cru wine Hospice de Beaune as a wedding present. Sixteen years later, only fourteen bottles were empty. “When the weather was cold, the queen put the milk outside on the windowsill” says another worker at the palace. “She thought it was cozier and more homey than milk out of the fridge. But it was a strange sight seeing bottles of milk outside the window of the Palace of Laeken.”

Long after King Baudouin’s death, Fabiola took her own sandwiches with her when she was away during lunch. She would ask her chauffeur to stop for a while in a parking lot, so she could eat in the backseat. When she went away with her nieces and nephews on private occasions, she made the sandwiches herself.


 

I would like to thank a dear friend, Isabelle from Belgium, for her work as translator of this story. Thank you, my friend.

On This Day – 15 December 1960

On this day in history, 15 December 1960, King Baudouin and Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón were united in marriage and Queen Fabiola would go on to bring a warm ray of sunshine from Spain to a sometimes gloomy King Baudouin.

“Hoop doet leven” Tribute by Will Tura

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Watch a montage of Will Tura’s homage to King Baudouin with “Hope springs eternal” in 1993, and his identical tribute to Queen Fabiola at her funeral service.

Dutch and English Lyrics

Coro Rociero Sing Tribute to Queen Fabiola “Salve Rociera OLÉ OLÉ”

Spanish castanets bring fire to the funeral of Spaniard Belgian Queen Fabiola

The castanets of Coro Rociero, the Vilvoorde clatter to the strains of “Olé Olé” rang out in the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Gudula during the funeral of beloved Belgian Queen Fabiola. The Spanish branch of the Queen Fabiola’s family sang along with the folk troupe, which was dressed in traditional costume. Queen Mathilde let her tears flow freely.  For many, this was the emotional pinnacle of Fabiola’s funeral.

Spanish & English Lyrics