King Leopold III

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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Outrageous Fortune By Roger Keyes the son of Admiral Keyes is a book about King Leopold III and the situation of pre war Belgium including the 18 day campaign.

It is an great book, written to vindicate and exhonerate King Leopold III.

Roger Keyes father of the same name , was British liason officer to the Belgian high command in May 1940. He was with Leopold during the entire campaign and witnessed first hand what happended. He was actually with the King right up to the surrender, he got back to England just in time.

Back in England Keyes who had the first hand knowledge of Leopold 's role was denied permission from the British government to state the true facts about Leopold.

Paul Renaud the French President was looking for a scape goat to blame France's down fall on, used King Leopold as his scape goat.

The British compelled to support the French eventually blamed Leopold.

Leopold was at odds with his government on escaping to England.

However as commander in chief of the army, he promised his troops that he would share their fate no matter what. How could not renege on that promise? Combined with the congestion of nearly 1 million of his subjects within the battle zone and the knowledge that the British were evacuating at Dunkirk. The army surrounded after systematic withdrawls from fortified postions , withdrawls ordered by the French generalismo Weygand and later Gamelin. The King of the Belgians had fullfilled his duty to defend his country to the last. With the battle lost and having no desire to shed anymore life. King Leopold III surrendered his army and asked to be treated as a prisoner of war.

This is but a part of what created the bad feelings between the British and Belgian monarchies.

In Len Deighton's book, Blood Tears and Folly Based on the darkest hour of W.W.II.

Deighton refutes the historical claim that the collapse of the Belgian Army and subsequent capitulation was made without previous consultation and at very short notice.

The true facts as Deighton uncovers that the Belgians had taken the weight of the German attack from the north. For a week King Leopold III had been warning the allies that his army's capacity to hold out was limited.


The Belgians were never informed that the BEF were abandoning them. When King Leopold surrendered Paul Reynaud the French PM immediately broadcast a vitriolic diatribe in which he called the Belgian King A traitor.

CHURCHILL knew that this abuse was a scandalous untruth because he had a special liaison officer with King Leopold right up to the surrender.

CHURCHILL was too anxious about upseting Reynaud to issue a denial, so King Leopold III was condemned as traitor.

HERE THE LIE WAS BORN AND HAS FESTERED OVER 60 YEARS AND STILL CONTINUES TO THIS DAY! As I had mentioned earlier in this string that british liaison officer was Admiral Sir Roger Keyes. Keyes was horrified by Churchill's failure to rectify matters with respect to the lie concerning King Leopold traitor label.

Keyes sued the DAILY MIRROR newspaper for its slanderous reports on the Leopold affair.

The British cabinet ORDERED Keyes to drop his charges against the newspaper. Eventually not until 1944 did the newspaper admit to its error and awarded Keyes damages and apologies.

It was Keyes son by the same name that wrote Outrageous Fortune the true story about King Leopold III.

Deighton's book was published in 1993.