Baudouin I

Fr. /boh dwaonn"/
1930-93, king of the Belgians 1951-93.

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born Sept. 7, 1930, Stuyvenberg Castle, near Brussels, Belg.
died July 31, 1993, Motril, Spain

King of the Belgians (1951–93).

The son of King Leopold III, Baudouin lived with his family under house arrest in German-occupied Belgium during World War II. After postwar exile in Switzerland, Baudouin became king on his father's abdication (1951). He helped restore confidence in the monarchy after the stormy reign of his father and became a unifying force in a country divided between Flemish-(Dutch-) and French-speaking factions. Because Baudouin and his wife, Fabiola, were childless, he was succeeded by his brother, Albert II.

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▪ 1994

      (BAUDOUIN ALBERT CHARLES LEOPOLD AXEL MARIE GUSTAVE OF SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA), Belgian monarch (b. Sept. 7, 1930, Stuyvenberg Castle, near Brussels, Belgium—d. July 31, 1993, Motril, Spain), as king of the Belgians from 1951, restored confidence in the monarchy after the stormy reign of his father, King Leopold III, and provided a symbol of national unity for both his Flemish- and his French-speaking subjects. During World War II, Baudouin (Dutch: Boudewijn) remained under house arrest with his father after the king surrendered to the Germans in 1940 rather than escaping to England. This capitulation brought Leopold under suspicion of collaboration, and the royal family was forced into postwar exile in Switzerland until the Belgian people voted to allow their return in July 1950. Amid continuing protests, Leopold reluctantly abdicated, and Baudouin was sworn in as acting head of state on August 11. He formally acceded to the throne on July 17, 1951. A devout Roman Catholic, he risked another constitutional crisis on April 3, 1990, when he refused to sign into law a bill permitting abortions. Parliament allowed him to step down for 24 hours while the bill was formally enacted. Because Baudouin and his Spanish wife, Queen Fabiola, were childless, he was succeeded by his younger brother, King Albert II (see BIOGRAPHIES (Albert II )).

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▪ king of Belgium
Flemish  Boudewijn I 
born Sept. 7, 1930, Stuyvenberg Castle, near Brussels, Belg.
died July 31, 1993, Motril, Spain
 king of the Belgians from 1951 to 1993, who helped restore confidence in the monarchy after the stormy reign of King Leopold III (Leopold III).

      The son of Leopold III and Queen Astrid, Baudouin shared his father's internment by the Germans during World War II and his postwar exile in Switzerland. After Leopold stepped down, Baudouin acted as head of state from Aug. 11, 1950, until July 16, 1951, and the next day he became the fifth king of the Belgians.

      During his long reign Baudouin served effectively as a unifying force in Belgium, a country deeply divided into Flemish- and French-speaking factions, and he was respected for the impartiality with which he treated the two groups. He recognized early the imminence of Congolese independence and made a fact-finding tour of the Belgian Congo in December 1959; he proclaimed its independence at Léopoldville (now Kinshasa, Congo) on June 30, 1960. Baudouin was criticized, however, for his 1990 decision to step down for one day rather than assent to a government bill legalizing abortion; he was reinstated by parliament after its passage.

      On Dec. 15, 1960, Baudouin married a Spanish noblewoman, Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón. Because the royal couple were childless, Baudouin was succeeded by his brother, Prince Albert.

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Universalium. 2010.

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