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Prince Charles of Belgium

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Title: Prince Charles of Belgium  
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Subject: History of Belgium, Prince regent, Leopold III of Belgium, Albert I of Belgium, Monarchy of Belgium, Charles, List of regents, List of state leaders in 1944, Fourragère, Treaty of Brussels
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Prince Charles of Belgium

Charles of Belgium
Count of Flanders

Prince Regent of Belgium
Tenure 20 September 1944 – 20 July 1950
Monarch Leopold III
Full name
French: Charles Théodore Henri Antoine Meinrad
Dutch: Karel Theodoor Hendrik Anton Meinrad
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Albert I of Belgium
Mother Elisabeth of Bavaria
Born (1903-10-10)10 October 1903
Brussels, Belgium
Died 1 June 1983(1983-06-01) (aged 79)
Raversijde, Belgium

Prince Charles, Count of Flanders, Prince of Belgium (10 October 1903 – 1 June 1983) was the second son of Albert I, King of the Belgians and Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria. Born in Brussels, he served in lieu of his older brother King Leopold III from 1944 until 1950 as Prince Regent until Leopold could return to Belgium and resume his monarchial duties. Shortly after however, Leopold abdicated in favour of his heir apparent, his son Baudouin.

Charles was known as General Du Boc during World War II in order to hide his identity for security reasons. He had an association with RAF Hullavington where many top officers from allied nations were based or transported to and from.[1]

Early life

During World War I the Belgian royal family was living in England. In 1915 Prince Charles began attending the Public School of Wixenford in Wokingham, Berkshire and in 1917 the Royal Naval College in Osbourne, and later in Dartmouth. In 1926 he received the rank of sub-lieutenant in the British navy . Later that year he returned to Belgium and began attending the Royal Military School in Brussels.

Regency

Prince Charles was appointed Regent when the German occupation ended in 1944. The role of his brother Leopold III during World War II as well as Leopold's marriage to Mary Lilian Baels was questioned and he became too controversial as King.

Charles's regency was dominated by the events resulting from the German occupation and the controversy around Léopold III. This period had an important impact on events in later decades. During his regency, important economic and political decisions were taken.

Belgium managed to jump start its national economy with the aid of American assistance provided under the Marshall plan. The building sector was stimulated by government grants to repair war damaged buildings and to build social housing. The financial sector was sanitized through the "Operation Gutt" whereby illegally gained profits during the war were targeted. A social welfare system was introduced and a system of governing labour relations was set up.

Also, women obtained the right to vote in parliamentary elections in 1948.

Furthermore, during his regency Benelux was formed, Belgium became a member state of the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty was signed.

   

In 1950, his regency ended when Leopold III returned to Belgium and resumed monarchial duties, following a plebiscite. Prince Charles retired from public life, taking up residence in Ostend, and becoming involved in artistic pursuits. Having taken up painting, he signed his works: "Karel van Vlaanderen" (Charles of Flanders).

He was the 377th Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.

He died on 1 June 1983 in Ostend, predeceasing his elder brother by just a few months. He is buried at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken in Brussels.

In his will, he left the Empress Josephine Diamond Tiara to his sister, Marie Jose.[2]

Alleged marriage

It is believed that Prince Charles, Count of Flanders married in a religious ceremony in Paris on 14 September 1977 Louise Marie Jacqueline Peyrebrune, formerly Mrs. Georges Schaack (born 16 February 1921, in La Réole), a marriage which has always been mentioned in every new edition of the Almanach de Gotha. However L' Allemagne Dynastique on Volume VII, page 385, doubts this assertion, affirming instead that not only did a civil marriage not occur but also neither a religious one (which could not take place before a civil marriage according to the French Law) nor is such a religious marriage registered in the Parish registers of Saint-Pierre-de-Montrouge, only a mere private blessing eight months after the death of her husband given by Father Marcelino Carrera was registered: "The private blessing uniting before God Charles Theodore Count of Flanders and Louise Marie Jacqueline Peyrebrune was given at Saint Peter's at the altar of the Sacred Heart on 14 September 1977. The mutual consent was received by your humble brother in Christ (Fr. Carrera) in the presence of Father Keller and witnesses (Comtesse Annie de Bergeret and Mme. Marie Jeannette Aurelie Menahes). The statement is also signed by the participants and witnesses."

This was confirmed by private correspondence of Jacqueline Peyrebrune.[3] She published her memoirs in two books: "Love in Shadow - The Secret Garden of Prince Charles of Belgium" (Editions Tarmeye, 1991) and "Carnets Intimes" (Editions Tarmeye, 1993).

Ancestry

References

External links

  • Official biography from the Belgian Royal Family website
Prince Charles, Count of Flanders
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 10 October 1903 Died: 1 June 1983
Belgian royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Philippe of Belgium
Count of Flanders
31 January 1910 – 1 June 1983
Vacant
Title abolished
Political offices
Vacant
Title last held by
Erasme de Chokier
as Regent of Belgium
Prince Regent of Belgium
20 September 1944 – 20 July 1950
Vacant
Restoration of Leopold III

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