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The Saxe-Coburgs, common core to the Belgian and British royal families

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The Belgian and British monarchies share the same line of origin, the Saxe-Coburgs. Leopold I, first King of the Belgians, is indeed the uncle of Queen Victoria who, with more than 63 years of reign, was for a long time the sovereign with the greatest longevity before being dethroned by Elizabeth II. The Queen who died on Thursday remained on the British throne for more than seven decades.

Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, future King of the Belgians in 1831, had eight brothers and sisters. Among them, Victoire, four years her senior. In 1818, Victoire married, in second marriage, the Duke of Kent, Edward. The couple had one child, Victoria, who was born in 1819. The ties with the Saxe-Cobourg family did not end there, since Victoria herself married her cousin, Albert of Saxe-Cobourg, in 1840.

Three years earlier, when she was only 18, she ascended the throne after the death of her uncle William IV. She did not give up her crown until her death in 1901. Four kings and fifty years later, her great-great-granddaughter, Elizabeth II, in turn became Queen of England in 1952.

It was between the two reigns of these stainless sovereigns, in 1917 more precisely, that the British royal house opted for a name change, the surname Saxe-Cobourg Gotha sounding much too Germanic while the First World War was not not finished yet. It is now the name of Windsor which will be attached to the British crown while in Belgium, the official name of the monarchy remains Saxe-Coburg Gotha, which Princess Delphine was recently able to claim.

The Belgian and British royal families in 1966. © BELGAIMAGE