King Leopold Spain

Hungarian Thaler of Leopold I

Baudouin I, the King of Belgium for 42 years and one of the more reclusive of Europe's monarchs, died on Saturday while vacationing in Motril, in the province of Granada in southern Spain. He was 62.

A spokesman for the Spanish Government attributed the death to a heart attack. The King had been in ill health for two years, having undergone prostate surgery in 1991 and an open-heart operation last year. Baudouin, who is to be buried on Saturday in Brussels at St. Michel Cathedral, was the fifth King of the Belgians.

Shy, shunning the dramatic, Baudouin (pronounced bode-WAAN) was never a star player on the European political or social stage. He came to power in Brussels at the age of 20 after the abdication of his father, King Leopold III, who was widely criticized for surrendering Belgium to the Nazis when German forces slashed through the country in 1940.. Rarely Seen in Public

King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola were something of an enigma. They were rarely seen in public, gave few speeches and avoided the glitter and pomp surrounding many of Europe's other royals.

Baudouin, an almost-gaunt aristocrat, 6 feet tall, who once wanted to be a Trappist monk, seemed to be ill at ease in his role as King and sought to remove the monarchy as much as possible from the rough and tumble of politics. The ruling dynasty springs from the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family, the same German stock that produced Queen Victoria's consort, Albert.

For centuries Belgium has been torn by bitter disputes between the French-speaking Walloons and the Flemish, who speak a variant of Dutch. Baudouin tried to assume the role of impartial umpire between the two groups, and eventually played a stabilizing role in the controversies between the old antagonists. Avoided a Decision

It almost seemed typical that in his one entrance into his country's political spotlight in recent years, Baudouin sidestepped a decision on abortion. He let others do it, while he invoked an "unable to govern" clause in Belgium's Constitution, which entailed his stepping aside as king for one day.

That move came three years ago, when the Government temporarily suspended Baudouin from power for a day, with his approval, after he declared that on religious grounds he could not sign into law an act that would permit abortion.

The Belgian Cabinet assumed the King's powers, promulgated the law and sent it to Parliament, which approved it and voted the King back into power the next day. That political tactic touched off grumbling among many Belgians and served to underscore the uneasy relationship he had for years with his subjects.

Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene announced yesterday that Prince Albert, 59, would succeed his brother as Albert II in the "spirit of continuity, " but Albert's 33-year-old son, Philippe, had been widely viewed as the likely successor for the mostly ceremonial position. Lost Mother in Crash

At the age of 3, Baudouin lost his much-beloved grandfather, King Albert I, in a mountain climbing accident in the Ardennes. More profoundly, shortly before his fifth birthday, his mother, Queen Astrid, was killed in an auto accident. The car, which was being driven by King Leopold, skidded off the road and struck a tree. The Queen died in her husband's arms. Baudouin had revered his Swedish-born mother, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women in Europe, and her death cast a dark cloud over the boy's childhood.

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Q&A

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Why did Otto Von Bismarck support Prince Leopold (House of Hohenzollern) as the next king of Spain? | Yahoo Answers

He was a Chancellor of Germany which was ruled by the House of Hohenzollern so he wanted the dynasty to spread. Napoleon III opposed this as Prussia and the North German Confederation sat to it's left so France would be surrounded on both sides. Bismarck wanted this war to complete the unification of Germany and Napoleon III was looking to distract from the problems his regime faced. France lost falling from it's spot as a major European power while Prussia and the North German Confederation merged to form Germany.

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Who was King Leopold II?

Leopold II (1835-1909) was the King of Belgium from 1865-1909.