The castle is located in the Sonian Wood in Waterloo (Walloon Brabant). It is here that King Leopold III went to live with the Princess of Retie around 1960, less than a decade after he had abdicated as a result of the controversy about his actions during the Second World War.
When Lilian Baels died in 2002 the building reverted to the Belgian state that sold the entire estate in 2004. Buyer was Jean-Marie Delwart. Royalty watcher Kathy Pauwels is one of the few journalists ever allowed to visit the castle. “It was a revelation” she says. “I knew the castle from photos showing it in a dilapidated state. It must have been quite a job to get it back in shape. There is a magical transition from the Sonian Wood to the castle drive with the letters “L” entwined in the insignia. I saw the poshest cars, a golf course and deer statues. I even ate from the crockery with L&L insignia.”
Leopold’s children had wanted to keep the castle in the family, but the Belgian government disagreed. Kathy Pauwels: “The family let the building go the wrack and ruin. Parts were even demolished. Jean-Marie Delwart told me he would never leave not even when Vladimir Putin made a bid.”
Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi also reportedly made an offer.
The daily De Tijd says that high maintenance costs and the need for further renovation have led Jean-Marie Delwart to put the castle back on the market.