Did King Baudouin of Belgium have a relationship with his stepmother, Lilian, Princess of Réthy? Former Prime Minister Achille Van Acker certainly thought so. His diaries which describe the relationship are now available to view in the archives.
Rumours first reached Van Acker in November 1952, and he worried about them, so he wrote in his diary. He was mainly concerned about the many journeys the two undertake. He wrote, “Lilian and Baudouin travelled to Tirol in the same sleeper car.” Ministers were also concerned and worried that the news would leak to the public. Van Acker was informed that the telephone conversations between Baudouin and Lilian were being monitored and he wrote, “They telephone each other: ‘I am yours!'” Over Christmas, Baudouin called his stepmother to tell her that he would “never leave her.” He continued to hope that their love would cool and was greatly relieved when Baudouin began a relationship with Fabiola Mora y Aragón.
Lilian, Princess of Réthy, was the second wife of King Leopold III of Belgium and they had three children together. He also had three children with his first wife, Princess Astrid of Sweden, before her tragic death in 1935. Lilian was widowed in 1983. Baudouin succeeded his father as King in 1951 when Leopold abdicated. Baudouin and Fabiola would have no surviving children – all five of her pregnancies ended in miscarriage. As such, upon his death in 1993, he was succeeded by his brother who became King Albert II. King Albert II abdicated in favour of his eldest son, Philippe, the current King of the Belgians, in 2013.