Hidden Belgium: The fatal rock

Hidden Belgium: The fatal rock
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A quiet path runs through the woods to the rocks where King Albert I fell to his death in 1934.

You get there across a railway line and then up a steep trail through the trees. At the weekends, climbers come here to scale the cliffs.

The rocher fatal (fatal rock) is closed off by a low wall to stop people getting too close. But there is nothing to say what happened in this haunting, forgotten spot.

The country woke up to hear the news on the radio on the morning of 18 February 1934. The King had fallen while climbing alone near the village of Marche-les-Dames. It made no sense. He was an experienced climber who had tackled some of the hardest peaks in the Alps, so why did he fall during a simple beginner’s ascent?

A small museum was created at the foot of the rocks, but it closed down some years ago. The only memorial is a cross on the slope marking the spot where the body was found and a hedge clipped to form the letter A for Albert.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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