18 DECEMBER 1909, Page 2

King Leopold II. died early on Friday morning. He had

been seriously ill for several days, and had undergone a desperate operation which produced only a temporary improve- ment. He was born in 1835, and succeeded to the throne on December 10th, 1865. When eighteen years old he married Princess Marie Henriette, daughter of the Archduke Joseph. His relations with the Queen and his two elder daughters, Princess Louise and Princess Stephanie, were unhappy. He was lavish in his gifts to the nation, but it would be affectation to pretend to forget that these were largely pro- duced by the exploitation of the Congo, which was the chief event of his reign. Belgium has prospered conspicuously during his reign, and in admitting his marked abilities one feels with deep regret that only want of character prevented him from being a great ruler.