Thursday, October 31, 2013

Belgians believe constitutional monarchy is the best form of a republic

Marlene Eilers Koenig Collection

October 31, 1903

The birth of a second son to Princess Albert of Belgium has, according to a New York Times dispatch, brought "widespread manifestations of loyalty to the royalty family from all classes of society."

The New York Times' Foreign Correspondent, based in Brussels, noted the "interesting site" of people from all classes signing the register at Prince Albert's palace.

From shopkeepers to working people mixing with "diplomats, courtiers and nobles," were seen outside the palace wanting to leave their congratulations to Prince and Princess Albert.

The birth of a second son fully secures succession to the throne.

One Liberal politician told the reporter: "You see that the Liberals and Conservatives alive, we all believe that our constitutional monarchy is the very best form of a republic.  No President of a republic, however, extended maybe his powers, could have achieved what King Leopold II has accomplishment during his reign, and this in every department of human activity, at home and abroad, in Africa as in Russia and China. You may object to me that we run the risk of having an undesirable sovereign someday; to this, I will answer that the Belgian people will not stand such a monarch for twenty-four hours.

"It certainly is a noteworthy if not surprising fact that republicanism makes no headway in Belgium. One reason for this may be that close relations exist between Belgium and France, and that the Belgian workingman has good cause to believe that his French brother is not better situated than himself."

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