Belgian Royalty: Philip, Count of Flanders (1837-1905)

Figure 1.--

Philip Count of Flanders was the second son of Belgium's first king, Leoplod I. We have little information about him, except that as a child he had a much happier disposition than his monstorous brother Leopold I. Press reports indicate that Philip had decided in the late 1890s to abdicate in favor of his son. We also know his son Albert suceeded Leopold I and became the most beloved king of Belgium.


Leopold I

Dashing Prince Leopold found himself in the curious position of the younger son of a poor but noble German family who came close to three different European thrones. He mairred the English Princess Charlotte, but she died before inheriting the throne. He was offered, but rejected the Greek throne and fimally accepted the Belgian throne. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (1790-1865) was the first king of modern Belgium. He was the fourth and youngest son of of a German prince--Francis Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield. He was the uncle of Prince Albert, the younger son of his older brother who himself went on to marry his own English royal, the young but already crowned Queen Victoria. Leopold in fact took a great interest in the upbringing of his two nephews Ernest and Albert as he saw how terribly he had treated their mother and in many ways neglected them. It was Leopold that played a major role in bringing Victoria and Albert together. Some authors have described Leopold as a cold father, especially concerning his son Leopold. HBC finds this confusing considering the attention and concern he showed his nephews.


Leopold in 1832, mairred Louise Marie d'Orleans. Her father was Louis Philippe I of France and Queen Marie-Amélie. This would appear to have been a wise diplomatic step. Located between France and Germany, a French-German royal family would seem to be the perfect recipe for living between the two poweful countries. The Queen was apparently a much more concered parent. Although she supported her son Leopold, she reportedly prefered her other two children who had sunnier dispositions.


King Leopold had two boys die. The first was the son he had with English Princess Charlotte. The second who he named Leopold died after only a year. Leopold had three survivig children, two boys and a girl. His third son became Leopold II.

Son (1817)

Leopold's first son with English Prncess Chasrlotte was stillborn and the pincess died as a result of complications. This tragic crcumstanceled to the succession of Victoria to the English throne.

Leopold (1833-34)

Leopold's first son with Queen Louise Marie d'Orleans was Leopold who died only a year later.

Leopold II (1835-1909)

Leopold II (1835-1909) was considered by many to have been the most monstrous European monarch of the 19th century. He was the son of Leopold I. He reigned from 1865 to 1909. He was a very unhappy boy. I have no details on the clothes he wore as a boy. Leopold entered the Belgian Army. Up until the Second World War it was a tradition that the Crown Princes serve in the Grenadiers.

Philip (1837-1905)

Philip was the second son of Leopold I.

Marire Charlotte (1840-1927)

There was also a girl, Princess Marie Charlotte. She presumably was named after his first wife, the English Princess Charlotte who died in child birth.


Children's Clothing

We have no information on how the children were dressed as boys, with the exception of the one illustration showning the boys wearing military uniforms in 1851.


Figure 2.--This portrint shows Marie Hohenzollern-Signaringen with four of her children, Baudouin, Henriette, and.Josephine. Albert has not yet been breached and is on his mother's lap waering a dress. The portrait looks like it was taken about 1879.


Philip married Marie Luise Hohenzollern-Signaringen was born (1845). Her father was Karl Anton Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1811- ). He rose to become the primeminister of Prussia. Her mother was Princess Josephine of Baden Zähringen (1813- ). Her brother was King Carol I of Romania and thus she was an aunt of his successor King Ferdinand of Romania. Marie was described as a 'lovely' girl. She was one of many potential wifes considered for Queen Victoria's youngest son, the fast living Prince of Wales (future Edward VII). The fact that she was Roman Catholic prevented her selection. Marie eventually married Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, in Berlin (1867). Her title after marriage was Madame la Comtesse de Flandre. The Berlin site was chosen because she was Prussian princess. Philippe was the second son of King Leopold I of Belgium, but at the time did not have royal prospects. Princess Marie was an competent artist and even exhibiting her paintings at the Brussels Fair. She held a lively literary salon. It was for 40 years a notable gathering place of authors as well as a popular gatering for Brussels society.


Philip and Marie had five children. It was their youngest boy Albert who inherited the crown from his grandfather.

Baudouin (1869-91)

Baudouin was born in 1869. As he was the eldest son he would have been the first to inherit the throne after his father when his uncle Leopold I died. We have been able to find little information about Baudouin. He looks like a very healthy boy in the available photographs. He died at about 21 years of age. I'm not sure what the circumstances were. He never married and there were no children.

Henriette (1870-1948)

Heriette and her twin sister Josephine was born in 1870. She married Emanuel d'Orleans, Duke of Vendôme of the deposed French royal family in 1896. Emanuel was a grandson of King Louis Philippr. They had four children: Marie Luise (1896- ), Sophie (1898- ), Genovefa (1901- ), and Charles Philipp, Duke of Nemours (1905- ).

Josephine (1870-1871)

Heriette and her twin sister Josephine was born in 1870, but Josephine died in 1871.

Figure 3.--This is Josephinne, wife of Prince Charles Anthony Hohenzollern. The children are Marie Antoinette, Stéphanie, and Albrecht. We have little information about the family at this time, but we know that Albrecht wore white sailor suits and had short hair cuts.

Josephine (1872-1958)

Josephine of Belgium was born in 1872. She married Prince Charles Anthony Hohenzollern in 1894. 1894. His father was Prince Leopold von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1835- ). His mother was Antonia of Portugal, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1845- ). We believe that they had three children, Marie Antoinette, Stéphanie, and Albrecht. We have little information about the family at this time, but we know that Albrecht wore white sailor suits and had short hair cuts. Josephine died in 1958. We have no information on the children.

Albert I (1875- )

The future Albert I, King of Belgians was born in 1875. He was to be Belgian's most beloved monarch. He married a beautiful Bavarian princess and led Belgium's valliant resistance to the Germans when they invaded in 1914 launching World War I.

Children's Clothes

We have little information on the children's clothes. One family portrait shows Albert wearing a while dress and long haie at about age 3. The girls also wote white dresses. Baudouin wears a plain dark suit with sailor styling and keepants along with a broad-brimmed sailor hat. Another image of him only a little older sgows him wearing a long pants suit. Baudouin's outfits are notably plain. This is quite contrast to the fancy outfits that Queen Elizabeth for Albert's children.

Plans to Abdicate

Apparently Philip decided not to be king. When his older brother failed to produce a male heir, it became increasingly possible that Philip would suceed here. Philip decided, however, some time in the 1890s that he would in such citcumstances abdicate in favor of his son Albert. ["Belgian ...", p. 7.] I am not sure just why he made this decesion. In fact it was not necessary as Philip died a few years before his older brother.


"Belgian Prince arrives," New York Times (March 9, 1898), p. 7.

The Illustrated London News published a drawing of Leopold I and Philip with an article about the Belgian Royal family.


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Created: October 5, 2000
9:19 PM 5/16/20112:09 AM 10/26/2007