December 17, 1909
King Leopold II of the Belgians died early today in Brussels. He was succeeded by his nephew, Prince Albert, who will be known as King Albert.
The king has two young sons by Baroness Vaughan, but they do not have succession rights. There is a rumor that the "Vatican has confirmed a marriage a year ago," between the king and Baroness Vaughan, according to the New York Times. But the late king's legal adviser, Senator Winer, stated that if "there was only a religious ceremony the laws of the kingdom would prevent the accession" of the king's elder son, who is only five years old. Senator Winer, however, does not believe that a religious wedding took place.
If Baroness Vaughan is of foreign birth, it is expected that she will be expelled from the kingdom.
The King's will was filed today. He divided $3,000,000, which he had inherited from his father, between his three daughters, Princesses Louise, Stephanie and Clementine. This "practical disinheritance" of his daughters "foreshadows the launching of a gigantic legal battle" over the king's wealth.
The exact amount of Leopold's fortune "will probably never be revealed."
Senator Winer stated today that the king "had turned over a considerable portion" of his fortune to Baroness Vaughan and her two children. He had also created a "stock company of his estates in order to forestall a possible raid upon them by Princesses Louise and Stephanie or their creditors."
The Senator also said that "considerable portions" of Leopold's estate would be turned over to Belgium. Princess Clementine will continue to receive a "special income from the Congo property."
Bailiffs have appeared at the home of Baroness Vaughan on behalf of Princess Louise, but she was successful in preventing "the formal service upon her."
It is said that when the king died, the Baroness "threw herself upon the body, weeping bitterly and herself closed his eyes." The king's memory was violently attacked by the Socialist newspaper, Le Peuple, because "he repulsed his daughters and admitted his favorite to his bedside."
King Albert is married to the former Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria. They have three children, Prince Leopold, who becomes the new Crown Prince, Princess Marie-José and Prince Charles.