King of the Belgians

A famous Belgian in glasses.

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King of the Belgians 1952

Who's that?

In 1952 the new King of the Belgians, Baudouin (born 1930) was featured on a stamp for the first time. He had ascended the throne the year before at the age of just 20, in place of his father Leopold and the newly liberated country was anxious to make a fresh start, depicting a vigorous young monarch. This stamp caused an outcry, however, because he was shown without the spectacles with which everyone was familiar.

King of the Belgians 1953

We know who that is!

The next issue, in 1953, rectified the matter and he was shown still in his military uniform but with a fine pair of plastic-rimmed spectacles. They are more revealing of the monarch who it is claimed would rather have been a monk. The museum has examples of both stamps. Would you agree with us that in the earlier stamp it looks like he is struggling to focus?  

Belgian Congo stamp 1955

They'll recognise him in the colonies too...

Now see how the Belgian Post office learned its lesson and the bespectacled King was soon featured on Belgian Congo stamps. Baudouin lived on, rather quietly at times, until 1993 and was successful in holding his country together, though the Congo gained its independence in 1960.