John O'Sullivan reviewed Paul Belien's A Throne In Brussels, which gives a sharp reminder of Belgium's actual history: corruption, treachery, and exploitation. And this, not in the distant past, as with most other western European nations, but throughout the last two centuries, up until the present day. A excerpt of the review:
If there is a scalier royal family than the Belgian branch of the Saxe-Coburgs, the news has yet to reach Debretts. They make the Borgias look like pickpockets and Richard III like a philanthropist. Leopold started the trend. He bribed leading politicians to keep them loyal. He dealt with opposition supporters of the House of Orange by having the military attack them and burn their homes. He made the Catholic Church into a virtual agent of his monarchy by affecting to be its protector. He was the secret owner of two newspapers (one conservative, one liberal) whose editorial line followed his direct instructions. He amassed a vast fortune by misusing government funds for his private interests.Americans tend to focus their ire on France when resenting Europe. Think Belgium instead.