Queen Paola of Belgium

Queen Paola of Belgium

Paola, Queen of the Belgians, born Princess Donna Paola Margherita Maria Antonia Consiglia Ruffo di Calabria (born 11 September, 1937, Forte dei Marmi, Italy), is the queen consort of Albert II of Belgium. She is the seventh and youngest child of Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (1884-1946). [cite book| title = Genealogisches Handbuch Der Fürstlichen Häuser, Band XV| series = Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels| year = 1997| publisher = C.A. Starke| location = Limburg an der Lahn| language = German| isbn = 3-7980-0814-0| pages = p.7] Her mother was Countess Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano (1896-1989), a matrilineal descendant of Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette. She is of Italian and Belgian ancestry and was hailed as one of the leading beauties of Europe in her youth.

The family of the Queen Paola, the princes Ruffo di Calabria are one of the most ancient linages of Italy. The first ancester proved of this House is Giordano who was grand marechal of the Royaume of Sicilia at the beginning of the year 1200. The Ruffo´s were divided into two branches after the XIV century: the Ruffo princes of the Scaletta and the Ruffo di Calabria, to which branch Queen Paola belongs. Her brother, the prince Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria, the current head of the family, bears the titles of Prince of Scilla, Prince of Palazzolo, Patrician of Naples, Duke of Guardia Lombarda, Count of Sinopoli, Marquis of Licodia, Count of Nicotera and Baron of Calanna and of Crispano. Among her ancestors figure Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette the hero of American Independence.

Princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria married HRH Prince Albert, Prince of Liège, in Brussels, Belgium, on July 2, 1959. The couple have three children:
* Philippe, Duke of Brabant who married Countess Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz
* Astrid who married Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este;
* Laurent, who married Claire Louise Coombs.

Queen Paola speaks fluent Italian, French, English and German. Some people criticize her inability to speak Dutch, the mother tongue of nearly 60% of Belgians.Fact|date=December 2007


*Donna Paola Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1937-1959) [ She was Princess Ruffo di Calabria prior to marriage. Her father had received the title of prince in the Italian nobility in 1928 from King Victor Emmanuel III. http://www.monarchie.be/en/family/paola/cv.html]

*Her Royal Highness The Princess of Liège (1959-1993)
*Her Majesty The Queen of The Belgians (1993-present)


ee also

* Queen Paola Foundation
* The Queen's Charities

References and notes

External links

* [http://pages.prodigy.net/ptheroff/gotha/ruffo.html Princely House of Ruffo]
* [http://pages.prodigy.net/ptheroff/gotha/belgium.html Royal House of Belgium]
* [http://www.monarchie.be/en/family/paola/index.html Her Majesty's official homepage] (In English).
* [http://www.sardimpex.com/ruffo/ruffo-scilla.htm Her Majesty's paternal ancestry: Ruffo di Scilla] (in Italian).

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