Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium

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Princess Marie-Esméralda
S.A.R. la Princesse Maria-Esméralda de Belgique.jpg
Born (1956-09-30) 30 September 1956 (age 60)
Brussels, Belgium
Spouse Sir Salvador Moncada
Issue Alexandra Moncada
Leopoldo Moncada
Full name
French: Marie-Esméralda Adelaide Lilian Anna Léopoldine
House Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Leopold III of Belgium
Mother Lilian Baels

Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium, Lady Moncada (Marie-Esméralda Adelaide Lilian Anna Léopoldine, born 30 September 1956 in Laeken, Belgium) is a member of the Belgian Royal Family, she is the aunt of King Philippe of Belgium.


She is the youngest child of the late Leopold III of Belgium and his second wife, Lilian Baels (known as Princess of Réthy).[1] Her full siblings are the late Prince Alexander of Belgium and Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium. Her half-siblings include the late King Baudouin of Belgium, Belgium's former monarch King Albert II, who is also Marie-Esméralda's godfather, and the late Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium (Grand Duchess of Luxembourg).

Personal life[edit]

Princess Marie-Esméralda is a journalist and author, writing under the name Esméralda de Réthy. After studying law at the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis in Brussels, she graduated in journalism at Université catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve and moved to Paris to pursue her career, working as free lance for international magazines.

She married Sir Salvador Moncada, a Honduran-British pharmacologist, in London on 5 April 1998. They have a daughter, Alexandra Leopoldine (born in London on 4 August 1998), and a son, Leopoldo Daniel (born in London on 21 May 2001).


Princess Maria-Esmeralda is very active in the field of environment and women's rights. She is the President of King Leopold III Fund for Nature Exploration and Conservation since the death of her father in 1983. She is also Honorary President of Delphus, an association offering every year to autistic children a week of assisted therapy with dolphins. The princess is very active like her father in research of nature and wildlife. She supports amongst other Prince de Merode.[2] [3]

She is also patron of The Princess Lilian Foundation which was established in 1958 by her late mother with the initial objective of sending Belgian children with heart condition to be operated in the United States. In the seventies, the foundation focused on organizing high level scientific meetings. Since the death of Princess Lilian, the foundation has created a visiting Professorship.


  • "Christian Dior, the early years 1947-1957", The Vendome Press, New York, 2001
  • "Léopold III, mon père", editions Racine, 2001
  • "Léopold III photographe", editions Racine, 2006
  • "Terre", editions Racine, 2011
  • "Lilian, une princesse entre ombre et lumière" (with Patrick Weber), editions Racine, 2012
  • "Albert et Elisabeth" (with Christophe Vachaudez), editions Racine, 2014
  • "Femmes prix Nobel de la Paix", editions Avant-Propos, 2014


  • "Léopold III mon père", documentaire de 90 minutes réalisé par Nicolas Delvaulx pour la RTBF
  • "Sur les pas du roi Albert Ier et de la reine Elisabeth mes grands-parents", documentaire de 140 minutes réalisé par Nicolas Delvaulx pour la RTBF en 2014

Titles, styles, and honours[edit]

Styles of
Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium
State Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Madame

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 30 September 1956 – 4 April 1998: Her Royal Highness Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium
  • 4 April 1998 – present: Her Royal Highness Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium, Lady Moncada