Leopold I was the first king of the Belgians, reigning from July 1831 until his death in 1865.
The youngest son of Duke Francis 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 throne of Greece under the 1830 London Protocol that created an independent Greek State, but turned it down, believing it to be too precarious. Instead, he accepted the throne of Belgium in 1831 following the country's independence in 1830.