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Elizabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium (1876-1965.)

I am stricken by photos of this woman- she looks so commanding and powerful. Something about her image says “I was here.”

Her father was a duke and an ophthalmologist. She assisted him as a nurse- exposed to human suffering at an early age. This helped her tremendously after marrying Prince Alpert of Belgium. During the first world war, she went straight to the front line and sponsored a nursing unit. Despite her German background, she was a popular queen.

Later on, she became a patron of the arts and close friend of Albert Einstein. During the German occupation of Belgium from 1940 to 1944, she used her influence as queen and German connections to assist in the rescue of hundreds of Jewish children from deportation by the Nazis.

She died at the age of 89 in Brussels.