Leopold III of Belgium
Leopold III (3 November 1901 – 25 September 1983) was King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951. On the outbreak of World War II, Leopold tried to maintain Belgian neutrality, but after the German invasion in May 1940, he surrendered his country, earning him much hostility, both at home and abroad.
- Brutally attacked by Germany which had entered into the most solemn engagements with her, Belgium will defend herself with all of her strength against the invader. In these tragic hours which my country is undergoing, I am addressing myself to Your Excellency, who so often has demonstrated towards Belgium an affectionate interest, in the certainty that you will support with all of your moral authority the efforts which we are now firmly decided to make in order to preserve our independence.
- The Parliament's acceptance of such measures would enable me to temporarily entrust the exercise of my pregoratives to the Crown Prince and, in agreement with the Government, to end this task when I consider that the interests of the country are also served.
- Histories: De Nacht van Laken (1997 Documentary about the Royal Question) Speech was given by Leopold III on April 15, 195,0 in the context of a national referendum that was held on March 12, 1950, and that would determine the outcome of the future of his kingship. (Leopold III was accused to have been collaborating with the Germans and more in particular Adolf Hitler in World War II)
- On July 31, 1950, I accepted to hand over the royal powers to my son. It was my will to renounce the throne for good as soon as it turned out that all Belgians would have united themselves around Prince Baudouin. I now establish that this unanimity has been achieved. The last words I wish to say as king of the Belgians will strongly indicate that the future of the fatherland depends on your national solidarity, I swear to agree to you, God protect Belgium and our Congo.
- Histories: De Nacht van Laken (1997 Documentary about the Royal Question) Speech was given by Leopold III on July 16, 1951, on the day of his abdication.
- In view of the rapid changes taking place in the world today, it seemed to me desirable to preserve in picture and sound some reflection of the surviving vestiges of the ancient life of the Congo, there is a communion between the man of the forest and his natural surroundings which inspires us in a sense of respect a recognition of spiritual heritage, I thank all those who have helped me to achieve this task which combines beauty and scientific truth.
- Masters of the Congo Jungle. (1958 Documentary showing the struggles of the inhabitants of the Belgian Congo.)
- Production is ensured by the native working no longer as an employee, but as a free peasant, owner of his land.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. In July 1933, in a noted speech to the Senate, Leopold made a plea for the development of paysannat or indigenous agriculture in then Belgian Congo.
- Official biography from the Belgian Royal Family website
- Our Royal Guest: King Leopold In England (1937), newsreel of 1937 state visit, British Pathé YouTube Channel
- Jean stengers, Léopold III et le gouvernement: les deux politiques belges de 1940. Duculot, 1980
- War Controversy (in Dutch)
- Princess Lilian, his second wife (in French)