Kings of Belgium 1831 – Present

Kings of Belgium Philippe

This timeline details all Kings of Belgium from 1831 to present day.

Prior to 1831 Belgium had been part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Following the revolution of 1830 Belgium gained independence and Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld became the first King of the Belgians.

Leopold I – 21st July 1831 – 10th December 1865
Son of Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
Married 1. Princess Charlotte of Wales (daughter of Prince Regent of Britain), 2. Princess Louise of Orleans (daughter of Louis Philippe I of France)
Leopold was chosen to be the first King of the Belgians due to his strong ties with Britain and other European royal houses. He ruled until his death aged 74 years.
Leopold II – 17th December 1865 – 17th December 1909
Son of Leopold I and Louise of Orleans
Married Marie Henriette of Austria
Leopold claimed the Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) which he ruled personally. After the death of his only son, Leopold, he and his wife separated and the King became known for his many mistresses.
Albert I – 23rd December 1909 – 17th February 1934
Son of Philippe Count of Flanders and Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen; nephew of Leopold II
Married Elisabeth of Bavaria
Albert was King of the Belgians during World War One and fought with the Belgian army. His wife, Elisabeth nursed injured soldiers on the front line. He was instrumental in the introduction of universal male suffrage in 1919. In 1920 Albert changed the royal family name to ‘House of Belgium’, distancing the country from Germany. He died aged 58 years following an accident while mountain climbing.
Leopold III – 17th February 1934 – 16th July 1951
Son of Albert I and Elisabeth of Bavaria
Married 1. Astrid of Sweden, 2. Mary Lilian Baels
Was King during World War Two and was criticised for surrendering to Germany in May 1940. After the surrender the royal family were placed under house arrest then moved to Germany. At the end of the war the Belgian government did not want him back. His second marriage while in exile was also not popular. Leopold’s brother Karel had been made regent in 1944. Leopold eventually returned in 1950 but was forced to abdicate in favour of his son in 1951.
Baudouin – 17th July 1951 – 31st July 1993
Son of Leopold III and Astrid of Sweden
Married Fabiola of Aragon (Spain)
Became King after his father was forced to abdicate in his favour. He approved independence for the Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Baudouis was implicated in the murder of the first prime minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba but evidence was flimsy. In 1958 he saw Belgium become one of the six founding members of the European Economic Community (EEC). Baudouin was a popular King and ruled until he died of heart failure.
Albert II – 9th August 1993 – 21st July 2013
Son of Leopold III and Astrid of Sweden
Married Paola of Calabria (Italy)
Succeeded his childless brother as King at the age of 59 years. In 2009 the Belgian government changed the succession from male to equal primogeniture. Albert abdicated for health reasons in 2013 in favour of his eldest child.
Philippe – 21st July 2013 – Present
Son of Albert II and Paola of Calabria
Married Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz
Philippe became king after his father abdicated in his favour. His eldest daughter Elisabeth is heir apparent and will become the first Queen of the Belgians.

 

Published Apr 17, 2020 @ 12:40 pm – Updated – Nov 12, 2021 @ 9:39 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Kings of Belgium 1831 – Present Day. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/kings-of-belgium Last accessed December 4th, 2021