The Soldier King
At Porte de Flandre, king Albert tries to open his way through the crowd. After spending the war behind the Yser, he retook the head of the troops entering Brussels. Queen Elisabeth stood by him, but it was the image of the soldier-king which would remain in collective memory. Albert crossed the city towards the Palace of the Nation, the very same place where he had held his powerful discourse on 4 August 1914. Symbolically, the war ended where it had started.
In the presence of the assembled Chambers, Albert commemorated the soldiers and civilians fallen for the independence of the country. Under tremendous applause, he announced the introduction of universal masculine suffrage, in the name of “equality in suffering and endurance”. All men older than 21 would henceforth have the right to vote. Other social and linguistic reforms were announced. In November 1918, Belgium left not only the war, but also the 19th century.