Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Josephine Charlotte arrives in Belgium to vote for monarchy

March 10, 1950

Princess Josephine Charlotte of Belgium, the "pretty blond 22-year old" daughter of King Leopold III, arrived today in Brussels from Switzerland. She will cast her vote for her father in Sunday's national referendum on whether Leopold "should be "restored to the throne."
According to the New York Times, "about 5,000 semi-hysterical Leopoldists mobbed the plane at the Brussels airport and imprisoned the Princess and thirty-one other passengers for forty-five minutes."
The police had to use "rifle butts" as they tried to drive back the crowd so the Princess could depart the plane. Firemen threatened "to douse the mob with a hose," but none of this helped. Eventually, Josephine Charlotte was able to depart the plane when her car was brought to the steps of the plane.
Those opposed to Leopold's return charged that the Princess "was being brought to Belgium only as a last-minute campagin maneuver."
It has been conceded that Leopold's return "would be a fairly simple matter if he could get a substanial majority of 70 percent." Nothing less would lead to "further acrimonious struggles in Parliament," according to Belgian political leaders.
The vote is "actually only advistory as Parliament alone has to the power" to decide Leopold's fate. The King has said that he would "abdicate in favor of Prince Baudouin, his son," he he received less than 55 percent of the voters in favor of his return.

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