During the 1960s it wasn’t uncommon for royalty to be spotted in the Texas Medical Center. King Leopold II and Princess Lillian of Belgium were not strangers to Houston.
In this photo, from the 1962 Aescalapian yearbook, courtesy Baylor College of Medicine Archives, Princess Lillian visits with our Department of Surgery staff.
Dr. Denton Cooley, distinguished emeritus professor, pictured third from left, wrote about Princess Lillian’s visits to Houston in the Texas Heart Institute Journal. He noted Princess Lillian met with several young Belgian surgeons, who were fellows at Baylor:
“One of the Belgian fellows who participated in the operation, Dr. Georges Primo, later introduced open-heart surgery to Brussels and became a prominent member of their cardiovascular surgical community.”
The princess would serve as an advocate for the advancement of heart surgery, following her son’s successful heart surgery in the United States and her husband’s surgery by Baylor’s Dr. Michael E. DeBakey.