The King's Speech

...5 August was the anniversary of the German invasion of Belgium during World War I. Here is a description of King Albert's stirring speech to the Belgian Parliament on this grave occasion, taken from the diplomatic diaries of Hugh Gibson:

August 5.—Yesterday morning we got about early and made for the Chamber of Deputies to hear the King's speech. The Minister and I walked over together and met a few straggling colleagues heading in the same direction. Most of them had got there ahead of us, and the galleries were all jammed. The Rue Royale, from the Palace around the park to the Parliament building, was packed with people, held in check by the Garde Civique. There was a buzz as of a thousand bees, and every face was ablaze—the look of a people who have been trampled on for hundreds of years and have not learned to submit. The Garde Civique had two bands in front of the Senate, and they tried to play the " Brabanconne" in unison. Neither of them could play the air in tune, and they were about a bar apart all the time. They played it through and then began to play it over again without a pause between. They blew and pounded steadily for nearly half an hour, and the more they played the more enthusiastic the crowds became...

Thanks and a tip of the beret to mon Colibri, "Matterhorn" at Cross of Laeken.