National Geographic : 1938 Apr
398 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph from Pictures, Inc. BELGIUM'S RULER HONORS THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER HIS FATHER LED IN BATTLE Last Armistice Day Leopold III, son of the nation's World War hero King Albert, placed a wreath on the tomb at the foot of the monument to National Unity (Colonne du Congres). Atop this huge memorial column in Brussels stands the statue of King Leopold I, who was the nation's first ruler after it declared its independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1830. The present king, now 36 years old, succeeded to the throne in 1934 after his father had died as the result of a fall while mountain climbing. Queen Astrid, the young monarch's beloved wife, met a tragic death a year and a half later when the automobile which he was driving plunged from a Swiss road. Belgium's nameless warrior is one of more than 13,000 in that nation's small army who were killed or died of wounds and illness in the World War.