Leopold I was a German prince who became the first King of the Belgians following the country's independence in 1830. He reigned between July 1831 and December 1865.
Born into the ruling family of the small German duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Leopold took a commission in the Imperial Russian Army and fought against Napoleon after French troops overran Saxe-Coburg during the Napoleonic Wars. After Napoleon's defeat, Leopold moved to the United Kingdom where he married Princess Charlotte of Wales, who was second in line to the British throne and the only legitimate child of the Prince Regent. Charlotte died after only a year of marriage, but Leopold continued to enjoy considerable status in Britain.
After the Greek War of Independence, Leopold was offered the crown of Greece but turned it down, believing it to be too precarious. Instead, Leopold accepted the kingship of the newly established Kingdom of Belgium in 1831.