Astrid Bernadotte was born on 17 November 1905 at the Royal Castle in Stockholm. She is the third daughter of Prince Carl of Sweden and Princess Ingeborg, daughter of King Frederick VIII of Denmark. The princesses had a happy childhood, with a careful but also healthy upbringing, including long walks, swimming and skiing. Astrid Bernadotte was a dreamy, very sensitive and charming child. The Great War durably disrupted the family's living conditions, leaving the princess and her sisters with a fortune comparable to that of young girls from the good bourgeoisie. No more tutors, the sisters were enrolled in boarding schools for
The sisters were enrolled in boarding schools for young girls in Stockholm. However democratic their upbringing, Astrid Bernadotte was aware that she was a princess and was not unaware of the obligations this entailed, i.e. marrying a prince.
And luck smiled upon her when she met Prince Leopold of Belgium, Duke of Brabant, in Copenhagen in 1926. It was love at first sight and the lovers celebrated their civil marriage on 4 November 1926 in Stockholm. The religious wedding was celebrated in the Cathedral of Saint Gudula in Brussels on 10 November 1926. The "snow princess" immediately won the hearts of her new subjects. The princess studied the French and Dutch languages and gradually adapted to life at court.
Her first child, Princess Joséphine-Charlotte, was born on 11 October 1927. Prince Baudouin was born on 7 September 1930. Together with her husband, Princess Astrid carried out numerous official missions in Belgium and abroad. The years 1928-1933 were marked by long and distant trips. The couple travelled to the Dutch Indies, Cambodia and Egypt, among other places. In 1932, they travelled for four months through the Belgian Congo.
In the midst of the economic crisis, the princess made an appeal for generosity for the poorest families. Photos of the time show her preparing parcels with Princess Josephine-Charlotte. Princess Astrid sponsored numerous associations, visited dispensaries and crèches for infants, and was patron of the "milk week", the maternal and child welfare organisation. In the field of medicine, she was very aware of the devastation caused by tuberculosis and cancer. A sanatorium bearing her name was opened in Bredene on the North Sea.
On 17 February 1934, King Albert I is accidentally killed while climbing at Marches-les-Dames near Namur. Leopold is sworn in before Parliament on 23 February 1934. Princess Astrid, who is 28 years old and pregnant, becomes the fourth Queen of the Belgians. She gives birth to her third child on 6 June 1934. He was named Albert, in memory of his grandfather.
At the end of August 1935, Leopold and Astrid, who both share a passion for skiing, spend a holiday in Switzerland. A terrible car accident in Küsnacht ends the Queen's life on 29 August. Queen Astrid is buried in the crypt of Laeken in Brussels.
● Pascal Dayez-Burgeon: La reine Astrid. Histoire d'un mythe 1905-1935. Editions Criterion, Paris 1995.