Queen Fabiola of Belgium

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Fabiola of Belgium 1969.jpg
Queen Fabiola on a state visit to Washington, D.C. in 1969
Queen consort of the Belgians
Tenure 15 December 1960 – 31 July 1993
Spouse Baudouin of Belgium
Full name
Fabiola Fernanda María de las Victorias Antonia Adelaida
Father Gonzalo de Mora Fernández Riera del Olmo
Mother Blanca de Aragon y Carrillo de Albornoz Barroeta-Aldamar y Elío
Born (1928-06-11) 11 June 1928 (age 86)
Madrid, Spain

Queen Fabiola of Belgium (born Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón on 11 June 1928) is the widow of King Baudouin. She was queen consort for 33 years, between her wedding in 1960 and her husband's death in 1993. The couple were unable to have children, and the crown then passed to her husband's younger brother, King Albert II.

Early life[edit]

Fabiola de Mora y Aragón was born in Madrid, Spain, the fourth daughter of Gonzalo de Mora y Fernández, Riera y del Olmo, 4th Marquess of Casa Riera, 2nd Count of Mora (1887–1957) and his wife, Blanca de Aragón y Carrillo de Albornoz, Barroeta-Aldamar y Elío (1892–1981). She was a sister of Jaime de Mora y Aragón (es), a Spanish actor and jet set playboy. Her godmother was Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain.

Before her marriage she published an album of 12 fairy tales (Los doce cuentos maravillosos), one of which ("The Indian Water Lilies") would get its own pavilion in the Efteling theme park in 1966.


Queen Fabiola during her state visit in Germany (München, 1971)

On 15 December 1960, Fabiola married Baudouin, who had been king of the Belgians since the abdication of his father, Leopold III, in 1951. At the marriage ceremony in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, she wore a 1926 Art Deco tiara that had been a gift of the Belgian state to her husband's mother, Astrid of Sweden, upon her marriage to Leopold III. Her dress of satin and ermine was designed by the couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. TIME magazine, in its 26 September 1960, issue, called Doña Fabiola, who was a hospital nurse at the time of her engagement, "Cinderella Girl" and described her as "an attractive young woman, though no raving beauty" and "the girl who could not catch a man." On the occasion of her marriage, Spanish bakers set out to honor Fabiola and created a type of bread, "the fabiola", which is still made and consumed on a daily basis in many Spanish cities.

The explorer Guido Derom named Queen Fabiola Mountains – a newly discovered range of Antarctic mountains – in her honour in 1961. She also has several varieties of ornamental plants named after her.

The royal couple had no children, as the queen's five pregnancies ended in miscarriage. There are reports, however, that she had a stillborn child in the mid 1960s. Fabiola openly spoke about her miscarriages in 2008: 'You know, I myself lost 5 children. You learn something from that experience. I had problems with all my pregnancies, but you know, in the end I think life is beautiful'.[1]


Baudouin died in 1993 and was succeeded by his younger brother, Albert II. Fabiola moved out of the Royal Palace of Laeken to the more modest Stuyvenbergh Castle and reduced her public appearances in order not to overshadow her sister-in-law, Queen Paola.

Admired for her devout Roman Catholicism and involvement in social causes particularly those related to mental health, children's issues and women's issues in the Third World, Queen Fabiola is a recipient of the 2001 Ceres Medal, in recognition of her work to promote rural women in developing countries. The medal was given by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). She's also honorary president of King Baudouin Foundation.

Health issues[edit]

Queen Fabiola was hospitalised with pneumonia on 16 January 2009, and spent 15 days there, with her condition being described as "serious".[2] She subsequently made a good recovery and was attending public functions by the following May. In July 2009, anonymous death threats were published by newspapers. According to these Queen Fabiola was to be shot with a crossbow. She responded to the threats during the Belgian national holiday celebrations on 21 July by wittily waving an apple to the crowd – a reference to the William Tell folk tale.[3] Subsequent threats by an individual said to have a similar signature to the July 2009 threat-writer were received again in January 2010.[4]

Tax avoidance claims[edit]

In January 2013, Belgian prime minister Elio Di Rupo criticised Queen Fabiola for her plans to set up a private foundation, which was widely seen by the public as inheritance tax evasion (although, since the construction was admitted by Di Rupo to be legal, it would more precisely be a case of tax avoidance). The Queen denied the charges, claiming that the funds used were "her private money", and that most of her annual public stipend was used for housekeeping and staff wages.[5][6]

Linguistic skills[edit]

According to official sources, in addition to Spanish, Queen Fabiola is fluent in French, Dutch, English, German and Italian.[7]


Fabiola's monogram
  • 11 June 1928 - 15 December 1960: Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón
  • 15 December 1960 - 31 July 1993: Her Majesty The Queen of the Belgians
  • 31 July 1993 - present: Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium


See also : List of honours of the Belgian Royal Family by country

Belgian honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

   State honours
ESP Isabella Catholic Order GC.svg Spain Spain Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic (22/11/1960) [8]
Ribbon.Crossproecclesiaetpontifice.jpg Holy See Holy See Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (08/06/1961) [9][10][11]
25th Anniversary Medal 1971.gif Iran Iran Commemorative Medal of the 2500th Anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire (14/10/1971) [12][13]
PRT Order of Christ - Grand Cross BAR.png Portugal Portugal Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (24/08/1982) [14]
Red ribbon bar - general use.svg Spain Spain Dame of the Solar de Tejada (03/10/2009) [15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Auteur: jns (21 April 2008). "Koningin Fabiola had vijf miskramen". Nieuwsblad.be. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  2. ^ "Belgium: Queen Fabiola in serious condition with pneumonia". Ynetnews.com. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  3. ^ "Belgium's cool Queen Fabiola defies would-be assassins with jokey apple gesture". Hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  4. ^ "Queen Fabiola's death threats". Monstersandcritics.com. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  5. ^ Al Jazeera: Belgium PM slams queen over inheritance plan, 11 January 2013
  6. ^ The Telegraph: Belgian monarchy rocked by Queen Fabiola tax row, 11 January 2013
  7. ^ "Monarchie.be". Monarchie.be. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  8. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  9. ^ Protocol
  10. ^ Photo with Pope John XIII
  11. ^ The International Catholic News Weekly
  12. ^ Badraie
  13. ^ Badraie
  14. ^ Orders search form
  15. ^ Índice de Diviseros

External links[edit]

Belgian royalty
Title last held by
Astrid of Sweden
Queen consort of the Belgians
Succeeded by
Paola Ruffo di Calabria