Tiara Time Pregame: Boning up on the Belgians

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Wednesday isn’t exactly when We’d typically pull the trigger on the starting pistol for one of Our famous theme weeks. Upon learning of King Albert’s abdication We exclaimed to ourselves, “Egad! We’ve never had a Belgian Tiara Time!” Not that We have anything against the loquacious low country*, Your Blog Hostess has Belgian blood in that shaken-not-stirred nationality cocktail she’s got ebbing through her veins. (It’s always happy hour in my circulatory system!)

The sad fact is Belgium’s tiara collection is scant (at best). No, it’s not as if they’ve been free-wheeling with their headgear, throwing it around like candy on a parade float. Many of the tiaras have simply left the country due to marriage, others sold off. Perhaps the most prominent reason being that the Belgian Monarchy is a kindergartener compared to other royal families in Europe.

the 10-step, power-nap version of Belgian History

  1. Little unity in “the Low Countries” between the break-up of the Carolingian Empire and the rise of the Burgundian dominions.
  2. Of the lands divided betwixt Charlemagne’s heirs the current countries of Holland and Belgium were part of the non-viable ‘Middle Kingdom’ set up for Lothair.
  3. More stable nations like Germany and France both had a keen eye to annex this Middle Kingdom which (ironically) sat between the two. (This was a centuries-long temptation.)
  4. The lands were consolidated by the Burgundian Dukes. A cultural evolution and economic prosperity ensues.
  5.  These Burgundian Territories were passed to the Hapsburgs. In 1713, the Spanish gave their southern territories to Austria.
  6. 1792: French revolutionaries took the “Austrian Netherlands” for France.
  7. Napoleon overthrown at Waterloo (that’s on Belgian soil, folks!)
  8. 1815: Belgium and Holland are joined as one under the rule of William I of Orange. The amalgamation didn’t work out so well. Too many differences in tradition, religion, language and “sentiment.”
  9. 1830: Belgian uprising caused separation and the Great Powers met in London to “regularize” the situation. This apparently means finding a noble Germany and installing him as king, creating a monarchy. (The same tactic was used upon installing the royal family of Greece.)
  10. The Great Powers congress selected Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Know to history as King Leopold I of Belgium. Since 1831, Belgium has had only six kings. (See slide show above.)

prince philippe, soon to be king of the Belgians

Prince Phillipe who, come Sunday will be King of the Belgians, rocks a much sexier beard than Leopold II.

There, now you’re all caught up and We’re pretty sure you’ll ace that quiz. Yes, even Our shoddy math can tell you that come the weekend Belgium will now be sporting a lineage of seven kings. (Lucky 7! Way to go Prince Philip!)

Huh, that was a long way to explain the lack of Belgian Tiaras. Hopefully you’ve inadvertently learned something in the process. Aside from Belgium’s boisterous youth, the royal family has no foundation to ensure the crown jewels stay in the family. (Think how smart Sweden is to have done so. Their tiara collection–oh baby! Your Blog Hostess gets weak in the knees just thinking about the Bernadotte Foundation.) But We digress–AGAIN!

Having said all that, the Belgian royal family only owns 4 tiaras and has one on what appears to be permanent loan. Three of the five have incredibly misleading names and two were wedding gifts. Is that a justifiable amount of tiaras for a monarchy that’s only 182 years old? It’s not really Our place to say; Belgium has five more tiaras than We do.

*In case you wonder why We chose the word loquacious, Belgium is bilingual with Flemish and French as their official languages. However, most Belgians speak at least 4!

About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
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13 Responses to Tiara Time Pregame: Boning up on the Belgians

  1. Angelyn says:

    Prince Leopold was Charlotte, Princess of Wales’ husband. He did his best with the hurly-burly princess but was left a widower.


    • I know! The source I used said he was supposed to be King of England until Charlotte died. So Belgium was Leo I’s ‘consolation prize’. Here’s the thing (I ask you because you seem to know more than I.) Is that just a misprint and he should have been “prince consort” not king, or did the husband take over reigning back then and thus receive the kingly moniker.

      I also remember reading in a Mary Tudor bio that “there has never been a Princess of Wales in her own right” but you mentioned Charlotte as being so. Did they change the policy? Was it conferred upon the couple once married? [Or does Allison Weir need to double-check her facts?]


      • She was “Charlotte of Wales,” not “the Princess of Wales.” Princess Charlotte of Wales was the only child of George, Prince of Wales, the Prince Regent. She was the heir presumptive and might have become queen, since she was the only living (legitimate) grandchild of George III at the time of her death. After her death, her uncle, the 50-year-old Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, married Leopold’s sister, Victoria, Dowager Princess of Leiningen, and they became the parents of Victoria, who became Queen of England after the deaths of her uncles, George IV and William IV, her father having already died when she was very young. So, Leopold I, of Belgium, was Victoria’s uncle. (He was also Prince Albert’s uncle and apparently played an important role in getting them together.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for commenting (& proofreading!) Indeed, the ignorant American confused the two Princess Charlottes. I actually know the difference between them now–if you can believe it. The Princess of Wales died in childbirth, n’est-ce pas? Rest assured, I will fix it when I get home.

          Hope you’ll stop by more often, even if there aren’t any personages who don’t require disambiguation….thanks again, Charles!


  2. Pingback: Alexander McFadden is a Belgian television actor. | Alexander Mcfadden

  3. teamgloria says:

    now that is a Nice King (friendly eyes)!

    and you’ve taught us a great deal about a country we knew little about apart from one of our favo(u)rite actors Cecile de France was born in Belgium (despite her surname which clearly Hints at Not).



  4. e1aine says:

    Prince Phillipe has very nice eyes. Probably not relevant, but I thought I’d mention it.


  5. aubrey says:

    Whenever I read about the Leopolds, I always remember that it was King Leopold II who fancied Lily Langtry. And that it was Lily Langtry who sent him packing.


    • Aubrey, do you know all of this stuff off the top of your head? I am constantly impressed at the depth of your historical/royal knowledge.

      Certainly easier than searching the Internet, she’s a walking textbook w/o the impending scoliosis or ridiculous uni over-pricing: it’s Aubrey!

      If you share sources, I’d love to know!


      • aubrey says:


        I’ve written about Lillie before, and did come across that little Leopold tidbit in my research. It was also shown in the PBS series ‘Lillie’, which might be a little romanticized, but still had its facts pretty much all in a row.

        Leopold was a busy boy – he also came on to Cleo de Merode; from what I understand she turned him down, but his bad reputation pretty much rubbed off on her, much to her embarrassment.


  6. Pingback: Tiara Time! the Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara | tiaras and trianon

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