Astrid of Sweden

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Astrid of Sweden (Astrid Sofia Lovisa Thyra of Sweden; 17 November 1905 – 29 August 1935) was Queen of the Belgians as the wife of King Leopold III.


Early life

Princess Astrid of Sweden was born in Stockholm on 17 November 1905. She was the niece of King Gustav V of Sweden, since she was the youngest daughter of the king's brother, Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland, and his wife, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. Astrid's paternal grandfather was King Oscar II of Sweden and her maternal grandfather was King Frederick VIII of Denmark. Astrid's sister, Princess Märtha, married the future King Olav V of Norway. Her eldest sister, Princess Margaretha of Sweden married Prince Axel of Denmark, while her only brother Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland, married morganatically.


In Stockholm, on 4 November 1926 civilly and religiously in Brussels on 10 November, Princess Astrid married Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium, the son of King Albert I of Belgium and his wife, Queen Elisabeth, born Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria. It was a happy and devoted marriage.[citation needed] Astrid was enthusiastically adopted by the Belgians. She was widely loved for her beauty, charm and simplicity. In 1927, Leopold and Astrid had a daughter, Princess Josephine-Charlotte, and in 1930, their first son, Prince Baudouin (who eventually succeeded his father as King of the Belgians).

Conversion to Catholicism

Raised as a Lutheran, Astrid converted to Catholicism after marrying Prince Leopold. She had initially considered converting to Catholicism, simply because it was the religion of Belgium, but the priest she consulted told her not to do so until she genuinely believed it was the true religion (See More Joy Than Pain, 1991, by Lars Rooth pp. 84–85) Astrid learned more about Catholicism and, several years later, in 1930, converted from genuine conviction. Her decision made her happy, and she confided to a close childhood friend: “My soul has found peace"(quoted by Anna Sparre in Astrid mon amie, 2005, p. 128) Her father-in-law, King Albert, who was very devout himself, repeated, on the day of Astrid's conversion: "I am glad, very glad. Now all the family is united in the same religion" (quoted by Charles d'Ydewalle in Albert and the Belgians: Portrait of a King, 2005, p. 259).

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