- Leopold III
- (1901-1983)Leopold Philippe Charles Albert Meinrad Huburtus Marie Miguel, the fourth king of the Belgians, was born in Brussels on 3 November 1901. He ascended the throne on the death of his father Albert I on 17 February 1934. Leopold occasioned intense controversy over his role during World War II, when he chose to remain in Belgium rather than seek exile following the surrender of 28 May 1940. He resided with his family at Laeken and was later transported to Germany, where he was liberated in 1945. He was accused by some, notably the Socialists, of collaboration, and his conduct engendered bitter national divisions. A regency under Prince Charles was established in 1944 and the "royal question" was put to a referendum on 12 March 1950. Brussels residents voted 48 percent to allow him to retain the throne (57.7 percent nationwide) but the political climate remained incendiary and Leopold renounced the kingship in favor of his son Baldwin I on 16 July 1951. He died in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert on 15 September 1983.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.