In the 1930s, a trio of diesel-electric ferries was built at the Cockerill Yards Hoboken for the Belgian Maritime Transport Authority (RMT). They were named after the children of Leopold III - Prince Baudouin, Prince Albert and Prince Philippe.
The first of them was completed in 1934. During the trials, she established the world speed record for the diesel ferries: 25,25 kn.
She survived the WW2 and carried passengers across the Channel till 1963. Prince Baudouin was a handsome vessel, 108.8 m long, with a 3000 grt displacement and beautiful interiors: 1st class traphall
Prince Baudouin in Ostende
Equally impressive and fast was her sistership Prins Albert (name spelled after a Flemish fashion), completed in 1937:
She had the same dimensions on a marginally smaller displacement. Interiors were very stylish:
During the war she served with the British forces, earning the nickname 'Lucky Albert' for evading a number of German sub attacks. Her younger sistership Prince Philippe (French spelling again!) was less lucky, lost in the collision with Empire Wave in 1942. Albert served till 1968.
After the war, the building of RMT Channel ferries was resumed in Hoboken, with Prince Philippe II and Koning Albert, closely resembling their predecessors: