“Exploring the Royal Ties within the Ullens Family from Schooten”

The recent tragic death of Baroness Myriam Ullens de Schooten Whettnall at the hands of her son-in-law has brought attention back to the Ullens family, who owned the Tirlemont refinery. What many people don’t know is that the Ullens family has ties to the Belgian royal family through the marriage of Count Charles-Albert Ullens de Schooten, brother of Baron Guy who recently lost his wife, to Countess Madeleine Bernadotte in 1962. Queen Astrid of Sweden, daughter of Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg, had three sisters who all married into prestigious families despite not being the daughters of a sovereign. Princess Margaretha married Prince Axel of Denmark in 1919, Princess Martha married Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1929, and Princess Astrid married Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium in 1926. Queen Astrid’s brother, Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland, gave up his dynastic titles and rights to the throne in 1937 when he married divorced Countess Elsa von Rosen, causing controversy at the Court. Prince Carl became Prince Bernadotte after King Leopold III supported his marriage. Prince Carl had a daughter with Elsa, Countess Madeleine Bernadotte. Countess Madeleine married Count Charles-Albert Ullens de Schooten in 1962 and had four children before their divorce in 1981. Countess Madeleine is related to King Baudouin, King Albert II, and King Harald of Norway, and her family has ties to other European royal families. Sophie Ullens, daughter of Count Charles-Albert and Countess Madeleine, had her cousin Princess Martha Louise of Norway present at her 2004 wedding to Lionel Jadot, and Astrid Ullens, who professionally goes by Astrid Whetnall, is an actress and screenwriter who won the Magritte for Best Actress in 2017.

The tragic end of Baroness Myriam Ullens de Schooten Whettnall, shot dead by her son-in-law Baron Nicolas, has put this family, which owned the Tirlemont refinery, back in the spotlight. But what is less known is that the Ullens are also related to the Belgian royal family following the marriage in 1962 of Count Charles-Albert Ullens de Schooten, brother of Baron Guy who has just lost his wife, with the Countess Madeleine Bernadotte.

Queen Astrid was born Princess of Sweden. She is the daughter of Prince Carl of Sweden, from a younger branch of the royal family, and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. This close-knit couple had three daughters: Margaretha (1899-1977), Martha (1901-1954) and Astrid (1905-1935) before the birth of a son in 1911 named Carl. The prince was the darling of his three older sisters.

The princesses of Sweden contracted prestigious unions although they were not daughters of a sovereign. In 1919 Princess Margaretha married Prince Axel of Denmark. In 1929 Princess Martha married Crown Prince Olav of Norway and in 1926 Princess Astrid married Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium, Duke of Brabant.

In 1937, two years after Queen Astrid’s accidental death, her brother Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland, renounced his dynastic titles and rights to the throne to marry Countess Elsa von Rosen. A union that did not have the support of the Court. The Countess was seven years older than Prince Carl but she was mostly married and the mother of three children…

After Elsa’s divorce, Prince Carl married her on July 6, 1937. His brother-in-law King Leopold III made him Prince Bernadotte. From this union, which ended in divorce in 1951, was born an only daughter, Countess Madeleine, Ingeborg, Ella, Astrid, Elsa Bernadotte in October 1938.

Prince Carl remarried twice in 1954 to Ann Margareta Larsson and in 1978 to Kristine Rivelsrud. He always remained close to his nephews Baudouin, Albert and Joséphine-Charlotte. He was present during major family events at the Belgian Royal Court and the Luxembourg Grand Ducal Court. He was notably seated in the second row of the Belgian royal family in the cathedral of Saints Michel and Gudule during the funeral of King Baudouin in 1993. The prince died in 2003 in the South of Spain where he resided.

His only daughter, Countess Madeleine, married Count Charles-Albert Ullens de Schooten (1927-2006) in 1962, with whom she had four children: Marie Christine (1964), Jean-Charles (1965), Astrid (1971) and Sophie (1973). ). The couple divorced in 1981. The Countess remarried Nicos Kogevinas (1918-2006) with whom she had a daughter Désirée.

Countess Madeleine is therefore the cousin of Kings Baudouin and Albert II, but also of King Harald of Norway. And the Ullens family “cousins” with the royal families of Europe. The heart press had also engaged Astrid and Sophie Ullens de Schooten with Felipe of Spain and Prince Edward of England, after stays in Norway organized for the birthdays of King Harald and Queen Sonja, where the young women had been invited in view of their family ties.

Sophie Ullens, daughter of the late Count Charles-Albert and Countess Madeleine Bernadotte, could count on the presence of her cousin Princess Martha Louise of Norway during her marriage in 2004 to Lionel Jadot. Astrid Ullens, who professionally calls herself Astrid Whetnall, is an established actress and screenwriter who won the Magritte for Best Actress in 2017.



The Ullens de Schooten Whettnall family may have been brought back into the spotlight due to the tragic event surrounding Baroness Myriam Ullens, but their connection to European royalty is an interesting fact that deserves to be known as well. From Queen Astrid of Belgium to Countess Madeleine Bernadotte, the Ullens family tree is intertwined with that of the Belgian, Norwegian, and Swedish royal families. Their connections have even led to invitations to royal events and engagements with prominent figures in Europe. Despite their tragic loss, the family’s rich history and ties to European royalty are a testament to their enduring legacy.

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