January 10, 1903
Based on reports from Brussels, the New York Times is reporting that the Count of Flanders, younger brother of King Leopold II, is "about to renounce his rights to the throne in favor of his son, Prince Albert."
This was first announced "some months ago," but the Count's decision "has been hastened" due to the "precarious state of his health."
Prince Albert, it has been noted, "has greatly matured since his marriage" to Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria. He has taken on the mantle of heir apparent, and continues to carry out official duties, including, on occasion, taking the place of the King "at important functions."
King Leopold is said to have a "high opinion" of Prince Albert's abilities and mental capacities." Many feel that Albert is equipped "to shoulder the heavy responsibility of regal power," which included Belgium and the Congo Free State.
The Count of Flanders has never had the "desire to reign. He is totally deaf, and has never taken an active role in the Belgian affairs. He also has a "marked dislike" for official functions, and rarely appears at court functions.
Albert's father is more interested in literary matters, and he owns one of the "finest private collection of incunabula and manuscripts in Belgium." Surrounded by his books and pets, the Count of Flanders prefers and enjoys "a most quiet and uneventful life."