Belvédère Castle is a Belgian royal castle in Laeken which currently houses Albert II of Belgium and his wife Queen Paola of Belgium. Belvédère was originally built in the 1780s, but the castle was bought by King Leopold II in 1867. The castle was meant for his sister Carlotta of Mexico, but she chose to live in Tervuren which left Belvédère empty for a while. In 1890 a fire broke out in the Royal Palace of Laeken and King Leopold and his wife Marie Henriette of Austria moved to Belvédère while repairs took place. Once the repairs were finished Leopold and Carlotta moved back to the Royal Palace, while Belvédère became the residence of their youngest daughter, Princess Clementine. She lived in Belvédère until her father died and she got married, leaving the castle for the Royal Palace. From there the castle was occupied by different members of the royal court.
In 1958 the palace was used for exhibitions during the World Expo. The following year the newlyweds Albert II and Paola moved to Belvédère, which expanded to 12 acres, having acquired parts of a local park. All three of the royal couple's children were born and raised in Belvédère. After the couple became the monarchs of Belgium, they stayed at the castle instead of moving to the Royal Palace.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.