December 24, 2017

3224 BELGIUM - Belgian Royal Family

3224 From the left to the right: Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte
of Luxembourg; Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg; Queen Fabiola
of Belgium; King Baudouin of Belgium; Princess Paola and
Prince Albert dancing polonaise (cca 1984)

When Belgium became independent in 1830 the National Congress chose a constitutional monarchy as the form of government, and on 21 July 1831 Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was designated as King of the Belgians under the name Leopold I (r. 1831-1865). Next followed Leopold II (r. 1865-1909), Albert I (r. 1909-1934), Leopold III (r. 1934-1951), Baudouin I (r. 1951-1993), and Albert II (r. 1993-2013),  since 2013 being king Philippe I. Now (2017), the heir apparent to the Belgian throne is Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (born 25 October 2001), the eldest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

King Leopold III and Queen Astrid had three children: Princess Joséphine-Charlotte, Prince Baudouin, and Prince Albert. Princess Joséphine-Charlotte (Joséphine-Charlotte Stéphanie Ingeborg Elisabeth Marie-José Marguerite Astrid; 11 October 1927 - 10 January 2005) married in 1953 to Prince Jean, who areigned as Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1964 until his abdication in 2000. She carried out many social, cultural and humanitarian duties, focusing on several initiatives that she would ardently support, particularly matters pertaining to children and families.

Baudouin (7 September 1930 - 31 July 1993) ascended the throne and became the fifth King of the Belgians upon taking the constitutional oath on 17 July 1951, one day following his father's abdication. He was a devout Roman Catholic, and in 1990, when he refused to sign into law a bill permitting abortion, the cabinet assumed the power to promulgate the law while he was treated as "unable to govern" for twenty-four hours. In 1960, Baudouin married to Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón.

Queen Fabiola (11 June 1928 - 5 December 2014) was born Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, as the sixth of seven children of Don Gonzalo de Mora y Fernández y Riera y del Olmo and his wife, Doña Blanca de Aragón y Carrillo de Albornoz y Barroeta-Aldamar y Elío. She was admired for her devout Roman Catholicism and involvement in social causes particularly those related to mental health, children's issues and women's issues.

Because King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola didn't have children, as the Queen's five pregnancies ended in miscarriage, the Crown passed to king's younger brother, Albert II (born 6 June 1934), on 9 August 1993. Albert sparked controversy in his December 2012 Christmas speech by comparing modern "populist movements" with those of the 1930s. This was seen by several political commentators, as well as many Flemish politicians, as aimed implicitly at the large Flemish nationalist party, the N-VA. In 2013 he abdicated for health reasons, being succeeded by his son, Philippe I.

Albert married on 2 July 1959 Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, with whom he had three children. She was born on 11 September 1937 as the seventh and youngest child of the WWI Italian flying ace Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda, and Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana e di Sebastiano, a matrilineal descendant of the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution. She is of Italian and Belgian ancestry and was hailed as one of the leading beauties of Europe in her youth. The couple have three children.

About the stamps
The first stamp is one of the two of the series The 50th Anniversary of the Death of Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium, designed by Kris Maes, and issued on May 9, 2015. Elisabeth of Bavaria (1876-1965) was Queen consort of the Belgians as the spouse of King Albert I, and a Duchess in Bavaria by birth. She was the mother of King Leopold III of Belgium and of Queen Marie-José of Italy, and grandmother of kings Baudouin and Albert II of Belgium, and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg.

The folowing three stamps are part of the series The Polyphonists of the Renaissance, issued on January 23, 2006. All five stamps are the same face value (0.60 EUR).
• Guillaume Dufay & Gilles Binchois
• Johannes Ockeghem
• Jacob Obrecht - It's on the postcard 3224
• Adriaan Willaert - It's on the postcard 3224
• Orlando Lassus - It's on the postcard 3224

Monarchy of Belgium - Wikipedia

Sender: Dominique / SallyBrown (postcrossing) BE-550949
Sent from Brussels (Brussels Capital Region / Belgium), on 14.12.2017

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