Leopold II of Belgium

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Leopold II
King of the Belgians
Reign 17 December 1865 – 17 December 1909
Predecessor Leopold I
Successor Albert I
Spouse Marie Henriette of Austria
Issue
Louise Marie, Princess of Kohary
Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant
Stéphanie, Crown Princess of Austria
Clémentine, Princess Napoléon
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Leopold I
Mother Louise of Orléans
Born 9 April 1835(1835-04-09)
Brussels, Belgium
Died 17 December 1909(1909-12-17) (aged 74)
Laeken/Laken, Belgium
Religion Roman Catholic

Leopold II (Léopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor) (9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909) was King of the Belgians. Born in Brussels the second (but oldest surviving) son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans. He succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865 and was king until his death.

Leopold is mainly remembered as the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State. He lay claim to the Congo, an area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He treated the people badly in order to make money. His harsh rule was responsible for the death of between five to 15 million Congo people. The Congo became one of the most infamous international scandals of the early 20th century. Leopold was forced to give control of it to the government of Belgium.

Biography[change | change source]

Leopold II married Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria, in Brussels on 22 August 1853.

On 15 November 1902, Italian anarchist Gennaro Rubino tried to assassinate Leopold. Rubino fired three shots at the King. The shots missed Leopold and Rubino was immediately arrested.

Leopold II had a wedding ceremony with Caroline Lacroix, a prostitute, on 14 December 1909, five days before his death. This was not legal under Belgian law.[1]

He was succeeded as King of the Belgians by his nephew Albert, son of his brother Philippe.

Titles and styles[change | change source]

  • 9 April 1835 – 17 December 1865 His Royal Highness The Duke of Brabant, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Duke in Saxony.
  • 17 December 1865 – 17 December 1909 His Majesty The King of The Belgians. Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke in Saxony.

References[change | change source]