Belgian Royalty: Regent Charles' Boyhood Clothes

Figure 1.--Charles at about 6 or 7 years of age wears a kneepants sailor suit with a wide brimmed sailort hat. Note the elastic chin strap.

Charles and his brother Leopold were often dressed in sailor suits, in many cases matching sailor suits. They both wore dark and white sailor suits, presumably on a seasonal basis. Their sister, Maria Jose, however, never seems to wear sailor outfits. I'm not sure at what age they began wearing sailor suits. One photograph shows Charles at about 5 years of age wearing a blue long pants sailor suit. As is so often the casem his brother Leopold wears an identical suit. This may well have been his first sailor suit. He still has quite long hair in the photograph. Sone of their sailor suits were worn with wide-brimmed sailor hats. They also wore wide-brimmed sailor hats with their dresses. They wore their sailor suits with both kneepants and long pants. This appears to have been primarily a question of age. The activity may have also been a factor. We note one image showing him wearing a kneepants sailor suit at the beach (figure 1). After about 7 or 8 years of age, he always wear long pants sailor suits. I'm not sure to what age they wore sailor suits. Leopold appears to have worn them to about 13 years of age or about when World War I began. Charles may not have worn them to that age, at least we do not have photographs of him wearing them at that age.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: May 17, 2002
Last updated: May 17, 2002