Linden and Royalty

From his early beginnings, Jean Linden evolves in circles that are never far off the royal persona. As soon as Linden arrives in Brussels in 1834, he enjoys the protection of some great political figures. He encounters the Nothomb and Dumortier families, and undoubtedly meets King Léopold I in 1837 upon his return from the first Brazilian expedition. The king, having received part of the collection for his private set (flowers and birds), awards the three explorers a gold medal.

From then on, Linden will always send the king of Belgians a few specimens of his latest findings, while Léopold will frequently enquire about the arrival of boxes with an exotic content. Later on, the horticulturist will regularly accompany the royal family to flower shows and exhibitions, in Belgium and abroad. He will often honour the royal presence with significant gifts, such as a new variety of orchids bearing the king’s name (the Cattleya guttata var. Leopoldii).

It would seem that Jean Linden enjoyed other privileged relations with "his other sovereign". King William of Orange, previously the grand-duke ruling over Luxembourg, contributed to the first economic success of young entrepreneur Linden in Luxembourg in the mid-1840s. Indeed, he had granted Linden subsidies and loans from his privy purse.

At one point, the horticulturist showed some interest to settle in France, where he could foresee promising developments. However, Linden soon gave up on that idea after the 1848 revolutionary tide and finally decided to settle in Belgium. Could it be because of the “affection granted by the late King Léopold I that encouraged him to move [his company] to Brussels”, as Edouard André supports?