Queen Paola of Belgium

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Paola
Queen Paola with the President and the Prime Minister of India, and the King Albert II (cropped).jpg
Paola in 2008
Queen consort of the Belgians
Tenure9 August 1993 – 21 July 2013
BornDonna Paola Margherita Giuseppina Maria Antonia Consiglia Ruffo di Calabria
(1937-09-11) 11 September 1937 (age 84)
Villa Claudia, Forte dei Marmi, Kingdom of Italy
Spouse
(m. 1959)
Issue
HouseRuffo di Calabria
FatherFulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria
MotherLuisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Paola (born Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria;[1] born 11 September 1937) is a member of the Belgian royal family, who was Queen of the Belgians from 1993 to 2013, as the wife of the King Albert II.

Early life and family background[edit]

Paola Margherita Maria-Antonia Consiglia Ruffo di Calabria was born in Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany, Italy, the seventh and youngest child of Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (1884–1946), who was World War I Italian flying ace.[2] Her mother was Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana e di Sebastiano (1896–1989), a matrilineal descendant of the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution. She is of Italian and French ancestry and was hailed as one of the leading beauties of Europe in her youth.

Queen Paola is fluent in Italian, French, German and English. Less fluent, and the cause of occasional criticism, is her Dutch, the mother tongue of nearly 60 percent of Belgians.[3]

Marriage and family[edit]

Paola in 1967

In 1958, the Prince of Liège went to the Vatican to witness the coronation of Pope John XXIII. At a reception at the Belgian embassy, the Prince met Italian Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria. "We were both shy, so we only talked a little," Paola said later about their first meeting. Shy but smitten, Prince Albert later proposed marriage to Paola, and she accepted. Their engagement was announced at the Chateau of Laeken in 1959.[4] The Prince of Liège married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria at St. Goedele Cathedral in Brussels on 2 July 1959.

The couple have three children:[citation needed]

Health[edit]

In 2015, the court announced Queen Paola was taking "a period of total rest" following doctors' orders. They also announced that she had to cancel a planned visit to the Biennale in Venice. Further communications were kept private. The Queen sent a message to Grosio, where she was expected to visit the residence of her aunt the Marchioness Margherita Pallavicini Mossi.[5][6] Newspapers believed that the Queen suffered from a stroke during the holiday.[7] The palace later announced she was being treated for a cardiac arrhythmia.[citation needed]

Activities[edit]

Queen Paola walks with Laura Bush during a tour of the Royal Palace of Brussels in February 2005.

Apart from her activities in the company of King Albert II, Queen Paola devotes her time to social issues mainly in the social and cultural sphere.[8]

The Queen has demonstrated interest in the contemporary Belgian arts, visiting Venetian Biennale several times. She has acquired works of Jan Fabre, Michael Borremans and others for the Royal collection.[9] The Queen has often met with such artists as Luc Tuymans and Dirk Braeckman.

The Queen takes a keen interest in the protection and preservation of Belgium's heritage. She makes numerous visits to cultural sites, from Beguine convents to early 19th century industrial facilities.[8] Queen Paola is interested in both traditional and contemporary crafts, and takes every opportunity to encourage the exercise and teaching of craft professions.[8]

Queen Paola keeps abreast of contemporary art and regularly supports major exhibitions and artistic performances both in Belgium and abroad. On the initiative of Queen Paola, contemporary artists have had the opportunity to design and make original works within the Royal Palace of Brussels.[8]

In 1992, Queen Paola established the Queen Paola Foundation. The foundation focused on integration and training for young people. The foundation's activities are geared towards social integration, support for teachers at all levels of the education system and schools in socio-economically disadvantaged areas.[8]

Queen Paola is an honorary chairman of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and Missing Children Europe.[8]

Arms[edit]

Alliance Coat of Arms of King Albert II and Queen Paola (1993-2019).svg
Alliance Coat of Arms of King Albert II
and Queen Paola of the Belgians
Alliance Coat of Arms of King Albert II and Queen Paola.svg
Alliance Coat of Arms of former King Albert
and Queen Paola of Belgium
Since 2019
Royal Monogram of Queen Paola of Belgium.svg
Royal Monogram of Queen Paola
of Belgium
Dual Cypher of King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians.svg
Dual Cypher of King Albert II and
Queen Paola of the Belgians

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

Honours[edit]

National[edit]

Foreign[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ Although The Belgian Monarchy website attributes the title of "Princess" to Queen Paola prior to her marriage, Burke's Guide to the Royal Family, The Descendants of Louis XIII, Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, La Descendance de Marie-Thérèse de Habsburg and Le Petit Gotha, among others, accord only the noble prefix of Donna to her and her sisters, reserving the title Principessa for the wife of the head of the family, Paola's father having received the title of prince in the Italian nobility in 1928 from King Victor Emmanuel III, heritable according to masculine primogeniture.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Although The Belgian Monarchy website attributes the title of "Princess" to Queen Paola prior to marriage, Burke's Peerage 1973, The Descendants of Louis XIII 1999, Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels 2001, La Descendance de Marie-Thérèse de Habsburg 1996, and Le Petit Gotha 2002 among others, accord only the noble prefix of Donna to her and her sisters, reserving the title Principessa for the wife of the head of the family
  2. ^ a b Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XVI. "Ruffo". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2001, pp. 522–529. ISBN 3-7980-0824-8.
  3. ^ "Koningin van België neemt bad Nederlands". volkskrant.nl. 25 November 1998. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Prince Albert Engagement - British Pathé". Britishpathe.com. 15 April 1959. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Italiaans dorp ziet Paola weer afzeggen". HLN.be. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Valtellina News - notizie da Sondrio e provincia » Annullata la visita della regina Paola del Belgio a Tirano e Grosio". Valtellinanews.it. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Koningin Paola kreeg beroerte". HLN.be. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Queen Paola". The Belgian Monarchy Official Website.
  9. ^ "Koningin Paola bestelt kunst bij Michaël Borremans - Kunst - KnackFocus.be". Focus.knack.be. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  10. ^ de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 702 (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  11. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (editor). Burke's Guide to the Royal Family, Burke's Peerage, London, 1973, p. 226. ISBN 0-220-66222-3
  12. ^ Willis, Daniel, The Descendants of Louis XIII, Clearfield Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1999, p. 100. ISBN 0-8063-4942-5.
  13. ^ Enache, Nicolas. La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg. ICC, Paris, 1996. pp. 54, 58. French.
  14. ^ "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". Quirinale.it. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). 23 April 2012. p. 53.
  16. ^ "The Belgian Monarchy". Monarchie.be. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Ar Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni apbalvoto personu reģistrs". President.lv. Archived from the original (DOC) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  18. ^ "The Belgian Monarchy". Monarchie.be. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Queen Paola of Belgium
Born: 11 September 1937
Belgian royalty
Preceded by Queen consort of the Belgians
1993–2013
Succeeded by