The Most Famous

NOBLEMEN from Belgium

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This page contains a list of the greatest Belgian Noblemen. The pantheon dataset contains 1,415 Noblemen, 22 of which were born in Belgium. This makes Belgium the birth place of the 9th most number of Noblemen behind Spain, and Denmark.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Belgian Noblemen of all time. This list of famous Belgian Noblemen is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Belgian Noblemen.

Photo of Philippe of Belgium

1. Philippe of Belgium (b. 1960)

With an HPI of 69.73, Philippe of Belgium is the most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 81 different languages on wikipedia.

Philippe (born 15 April 1960) is King of the Belgians. He is the eldest child of King Albert II and Queen Paola. He succeeded his father upon the former’s abdication for health reasons on 21 July 2013. He married Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz in 1999, with whom he has four children. Their eldest child, Princess Elisabeth, is first in the line of succession.

Photo of Pepin of Landen

2. Pepin of Landen (585 - 640)

With an HPI of 68.38, Pepin of Landen is the 2nd most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Pepin I (also Peppin, Pipin, or Pippin) of Landen (c. 580 – 27 February 640), also called the Elder or the Old, was the Mayor of the palace of Austrasia under the Merovingian King Dagobert I from 623 to 629. He was also the Mayor for Sigebert III from 639 until his death.

Photo of John of Gaunt

3. John of Gaunt (1340 - 1399)

With an HPI of 66.08, John of Gaunt is the 3rd most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (6 March 1340 – 3 February 1399) was an English royal prince, military leader, and statesman. He was the fourth son of King Edward III of England, and the father of King Henry IV. Because of Gaunt's royal origin, advantageous marriages, and some generous land grants, he was one of the richest men of his era, and was an influential figure during the reigns of both his father and his nephew, Richard II. As Duke of Lancaster, he is the founder of the royal House of Lancaster, whose members would ascend the throne after his death. His birthplace, Ghent in Flanders, then known in English as Gaunt, was the origin of his name. John's early career was spent in France and Spain fighting in the Hundred Years' War. He made an abortive attempt to enforce a claim to the Crown of Castile that came through his second wife, Constance of Castile, and for a time styled himself as King of Castile. When Edward the Black Prince, Gaunt's elder brother and heir-apparent to the ageing Edward III, became incapacitated owing to poor health, Gaunt assumed control of many government functions, and rose to become one of the most powerful political figures in England. He was faced with military difficulties abroad and political divisions at home, and disagreements as to how to deal with these crises led to tensions among Gaunt, the English Parliament, and the ruling class, making him an extremely unpopular figure for a time. John exercised great influence over the English throne during the minority of King Richard II (Edward the Black Prince's son) and the ensuing periods of political strife. He mediated between the king and a group of rebellious nobles, which included Gaunt's own son and heir-apparent, Henry Bolingbroke. Following Gaunt's death in 1399, his estates and titles were declared forfeit to the Crown, and his son Bolingbroke, now disinherited, was branded a traitor and exiled. Henry returned from exile shortly after to reclaim his inheritance, and deposed Richard. He reigned as King Henry IV of England (1399–1413), the first of the descendants of John of Gaunt to hold the English throne. All English monarchs from Henry IV onward are descended from John of Gaunt. His direct male line, the House of Lancaster, would rule England from 1399 until the time of the Wars of the Roses. Gaunt is also generally believed to have fathered five children outside marriage: one early in life by a lady-in-waiting to his mother; the others, surnamed Beaufort, by Katherine Swynford, his long-term mistress and third wife. They were later legitimised by royal and papal decrees, but this did not affect Henry IV's bar to their having a place in the line of succession. Through his daughter Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland, he was an ancestor of the Yorkist kings Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III. Through his great-granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort he was also an ancestor of Henry VII, who married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York, and all subsequent monarchs are descendants of their marriage. Two of John's daughters married into continental royal houses (those of Portugal and Castile). Through them, many royal families of Europe can trace lineage to him.

Photo of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders

4. Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders (1837 - 1905)

With an HPI of 62.92, Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders is the 4th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Prince Philippe of Belgium, Count of Flanders (Dutch: Filips; 24 March 1837 – 17 November 1905), was the third born and second surviving son of King Leopold I of Belgium and Louise d'Orléans. He was the brother of Leopold II of Belgium and Empress Carlota of Mexico. Born at the Château de Laeken, near Brussels, Belgium, Philippe was created Count of Flanders on 14 December 1840. In January 1869, upon the sudden death of his nephew Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant, he became heir presumptive to the Belgian throne. In 1866, after the abdication of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Prince of Romania, Philippe refused being named the new Romanian sovereign, and the throne was later accepted by Philippe's brother-in-law Carol I. Earlier, he had also refused the crown of Greece, which was offered to him in 1862. Philippe died in 1905. When his brother King Leopold II died in 1909, Philippe's second son ascended the Belgian throne as King Albert I.

Photo of Henry I, Duke of Brabant

5. Henry I, Duke of Brabant (1165 - 1235)

With an HPI of 60.84, Henry I, Duke of Brabant is the 5th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Henry I (Dutch: Hendrik, French: Henri; c. 1165 – 5 September 1235), named "The Courageous", was a member of the House of Reginar and first duke of Brabant from 1183/84 until his death.

Photo of Gaston IV, Count of Foix

6. Gaston IV, Count of Foix (1422 - 1472)

With an HPI of 58.51, Gaston IV, Count of Foix is the 6th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Gaston IV (27 November 1422 – 25 or 28 July 1472) was the sovereign Viscount of Béarn and the Count of Foix and Bigorre in France from 1436 to 1472. He also held the viscounties of Marsan, Castelbon, Nébouzan, Villemeur and Lautrec and was, by virtue of the county of Foix, co-prince of Andorra. From 1447 he was also Viscount of Narbonne. Through his marriage to Eleanor, heiress of the Kingdom of Navarre, he also held the title of Prince of Navarre. Gaston was a son of John I, Count of Foix and Jeanne d'Albret. His maternal grandparents were Charles d'Albret, Constable of France and co-commander of the French army, killed at the Battle of Agincourt, and his wife Marie de Sully. Gaston married Infanta Eleanor of Navarre in 1436. Her parents were John II and Blanche I of Navarre. At the time, Eleanor appeared to have few prospects: her father was a younger son and brother of kings of Aragon, and she had two older siblings, Charles and Blanche, standing between herself and the throne of Navarre. However, family dissent and death eliminated both her siblings; Eleanor's father usurped the Navarrese crown, to which he added in 1458 the throne of Aragon (his older brother having died without legitimate children). Following the deaths of Charles and Blanche, King John promised the succession to Navarre to Eleanor and Gaston in return for their loyalty to him, which was given.

Photo of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain

7. Godfrey I, Count of Louvain (1060 - 1139)

With an HPI of 56.57, Godfrey I, Count of Louvain is the 7th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Godfrey I (Dutch: Godfried, c. 1060 – 25 January 1139), called the Bearded, the Courageous, or the Great, was the Landgrave of Brabant, Count of Brussels and Leuven (Louvain) from 1095 to his death and Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1106 to 1129. He was also Margrave of Antwerp from 1106 to his death.

Photo of Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg

8. Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg (1789 - 1823)

With an HPI of 56.29, Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg is the 8th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Princess Amélie Louise Julie of Arenberg, (full German name: Amalie Luise Julie, Prinzessin und Herzogin von Arenberg and full French name: Amélie Louise, princesse et duchesse d'Arenberg, (born 10 April 1789 in Brussels, Austrian Netherlands; died 4 April 1823 in Bamberg, Kingdom of Bavaria) was a member of the House of Arenberg by birth and, through her marriage to Duke Pius August in Bavaria, a member of the Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen line of the House of Wittelsbach. Amélie Louise was a grandmother of Empress Elisabeth of Austria through her son Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria.

Photo of Henry IV, Duke of Brabant

9. Henry IV, Duke of Brabant (1251 - 1272)

With an HPI of 56.13, Henry IV, Duke of Brabant is the 9th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Henry IV of Brabant (1251/1252 – after 29 April 1272) was Duke of Brabant from 1261 to 1267. Born at Leuven, he was the eldest son of Henry III, Duke of Brabant, and Adelaide of Burgundy. Succeeding his father at about the age of ten, he proved infirm of mind and body, and was deposed in 1257 in favor of his younger brother John I, Duke of Brabant. After being deposed, Henry became a novice in Saint Bénigne Abbey in Dijon. It is unknown what happened to Henry after 1272.

Photo of Antoinette de Mérode

10. Antoinette de Mérode (1828 - 1864)

With an HPI of 56.02, Antoinette de Mérode is the 10th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Antoinette de Merode (Antoinette Ghislaine; 28 September 1828 – 10 February 1864), was the Princess of Monaco by marriage to Charles III, Prince of Monaco.

People

Pantheon has 23 people classified as Belgian noblemen born between 585 and 2008. Of these 23, 8 (34.78%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Belgian noblemen include Philippe of Belgium, Prince Laurent of Belgium, and Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. The most famous deceased Belgian noblemen include Pepin of Landen, John of Gaunt, and Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders. As of April 2024, 1 new Belgian noblemen have been added to Pantheon including John I, Count of Hainaut.

Living Belgian Noblemen

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Deceased Belgian Noblemen

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Newly Added Belgian Noblemen (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Noblemen were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 4 most globally memorable Noblemen since 1700.