King Albert II of Belgium

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Happy Birthday to King Albert II of Belgium, who turns 83 today. The third and youngest child of King Leopold II of Belgium and Princess Astrid of Sweden, he is the brother of King Baudouin and Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg, as well as the cousin of King Harald of Norway. In 1935, just after his 1st birthday, his mother, Queen Astrid, died in a car accident in Switzerland. Later, during the German Occupation in WWII, the family was kept under house arrest at the Palace of Laeken, and later sent to Germany and Austria, spending time in Switzerland after being liberated, because of the tense situation in Belgium. After his father’s abdication in 1951, then Prince Albert became heir presumptive to the throne of his brother. In 1959, he married Dona Paola Ruffo di Calabria. The couple had three children, and succeeded to the throne in 1993, after the sudden death of his childless brother. King Albert abdicated in favour of his son, King Philippe, in 2013, and now lives in quiet retirement with Queen Paola.

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