Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Accession of King Albert I

The Cross of Laeken details the centenary of the accession of King Albert I of the Belgians, the gallant "soldier-king" who led his nation in their heroic resistance to the German invasion during World War I. The late monarch stands out as one of the illustrious few who was "every inch a king" being regal with the 'common touch', courageous in war, leading his troops at the front, devoted to his family and sincerely religious. His noble example inspired not only the Belgian people but also many others around the world among the Allied powers during the Great War.


  1. Despite his bravery and strength of character, Albert actually came to the throne with severe apprehensions. He was always painfully aware of the heavy responsibilities of kingship and tended to underestimate his abilities. He was also quite a shy man, ill at ease under the public eye. Only hours before his swearing-in, he was suddenly overwhelmed by misgivings and felt unable to go through with it all. "No, no, I will not deliver it..." he began repeating (referring to his accession speech). Elisabeth had to put all her efforts into encouraging him. Nonetheless, when the moment came, he was magnificent.

  2. I didn't know that, but it doesn't really surprise me. From reading biographies of kings, emperors and popes it seems that oftentimes the best of them are the ones most reluctant to take the 'job'. I suppose it shows what a sober understanding they have of the position they are to hold.


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