Queen of Belgium. She was born in Stockholm, originally Princess of Sweden of the Bernadotte Dynasty, and by marriage was Queen Consort of King Léopold III of Belgium. Thus she was the mother of Belgium's Kings Baudouin I and Albert II as well as Luxembourg's Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. Her French name was Astrid Sophie Louise Thyra. She was born a few days after her Swedish paternal grandfather King Oscar II lost the Norwegian throne and the very day before her Danish maternal uncle gained it as King Haakon VII. Growing up at the progressive Swedish court, and in a secondary line of accession, she was used to a more informal atmosphere than what was considered proper among other European monarchies. She married Léopold in 1926, having to change her religion to do so, and tried to live as ordinary a life as possible, concentrating on taking care of her children. Her husband gave her brother Carl the title of Prince Bernadotte in the nobility of Belgium after he was stripped of his Swedish titles for not marrying royalty. Criticized by the haute monde for her lack of attention to protocol, but loved by the masses, Queen Astrid could often be seen taking walks along the boulevards of Brussels with her children. King Léopold and the rest of the Belgian people loved her: her beauty, her lack of pretense and her untimely death in a car accident, with him driving at Küssnacht (which means Kiss Night), made her the most popular queen in the history of Belgium. There are many public memorials in her honor in Belgium, one of whiich is her monumental statue in Kortrijk, in a park named for her.
Bio by: Count Demitz