Upon the death of his uncle, Leopold II, Albert succeeded to the Belgian throne in December, 1909 (Albert's father having died in 1905). Previous Belgian kings had taken the royal accession oath only in French; Albert innovated by taking it in Dutch as well (Bronne). He and his wife, Queen Elisabeth, were popular in Belgium due to their simple, unassuming lifestyle and harmonious family life, which stood in marked contrast to the aloof, autocratic manner and irregular private life of Leopold II. An important aspect of the early years of Albert's reign was his institution of many reforms in the administration of the Belgian Congo, Belgium's only colonial possession.
He was the King who reigned Belgium during the second World War, and joined the soldiers in their battle against the nazi-regime. Therefor he's also know as the soldier-king, and often depicted with helmet.
A passionate alpinist, King Albert I died in a mountaineering accident while climbing alone on the Roche du Vieux Bon Dieu at Marche-les-Dames, in the Ardennes region of Belgium near Namur. His death shocked the world and he was deeply mourned, both in Belgium and abroad. Because King Albert was an expert climber, some questioned the official version of his death. Nonetheless, rumors of murder have been dismissed by most historians.