Leopold III, King of the Belgians
Historical Figure
Nationality: Belgium
Date of Birth: 1901
Date of Death: 1983
Cause of Death: Heart complications
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: Monarch
Spouse: Astrid of Sweden (d. 1935)
Lilian Baels
Children: Six
House: House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Political Office(s): King of the Belgians
Fictional Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Hitler's War
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference

Leopold III (3 November 1901 – 25 September 1983) reigned as King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951, when he abdicated in favor of his son Baudouin.

Leopold was a controversial monarch. His handling of World War II and the German occupation of Belgium has been heavily scrutinized. Although Leopold saw to it that Belgium was prepared militarily for a German invasion, he did not make the most of the military aid Britain and France provided. Thus, after a period of intense fighting in May 1940, Leopold surrendered to Germany. Many in his own cabinet feared that his actions might be in fact treason, particularly as he insisted upon staying within the country and in German custody. He eventually deported to Germany in 1944. After his liberation, he was to remain in exile for another six years. Leopold's return was met with a general strike in 1950. He abdicated the following year. His retirement was spent traveling the world.

Leopold III in The War That Came Early[]

When the Second World War broke out in October 1938, Leopold III was reluctant to enter into alliances with Britain and France, even after Germany subdued Czechoslovakia and turned west.[1] When Germany did invade Belgium, Leopold allowed Allied forces to enter his country.[2] But after three weeks of fighting, Leopold abruptly surrendered.[3]

Many among the British and French believed that Leopold was pro-German. His slow response to German aggression, his country's brief three-week fight, and his abrupt surrender confirmed this belief for many.[4]


  1. Hitler's War, pgs. 117-119, HC.
  2. Ibid., pg. 139-140.
  3. Ibid., pg. 213.
  4. Ibid.
Royal offices
Preceded by
Albert I
King of the Belgians
Succeeded by
Royal offices
(Fictional Work)
Preceded by
Albert I
King of the Belgians
(The War That Came Early)

Succeeded by
Incumbent at series' end, 1944