Since his enthronement, in 1951, following the abdication of his father King Leopold III, marking the end of the difficult Question Royale – also a mark, but a sad one, on Belgian 20th century history –, King Baudouin I of the Belgians had seen magazines all over the world and most expressly the Belgian Court trying to find a bride for the most solitary of kings, whose face always looked so immensely sad. Balls attended by noblewomen and princesses, meetings to see if a glimpse would catch King Baudouin, and everything seemed not to work. Then, when everyone was still remembering the grand wedding of HRH the Prince of Liège – Prince Albert, King Baudouin’s young brother and next in line to succeed to the Belgian throne – to the beautiful Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria – an Italian princess from the high aristocracy, tipped as la dolce Paola by the media of the whole world – the news came as a new ray of light: on television and radio, the Prime Minister announced the engagement of His Majesty the King of the Belgians to Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, a Spanish noblewoman, two years older than the King.
This site is made not only as a commemoration of the birth of the heir of Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde, but also as a homage to the late King Baudouin and a tribute to his beloved wife, the perfect model of a royal consort. We cannot hide a great personal admiration for the late sovereign, deceased in July 1993, whose reign we consider a momentous one in European royal history of the 20th century. We cannot also hide an immense respect and esteem for Her Majesty Queen Fabiola, who played the most difficult role while being somehow blamed for not having given an heir to the Belgian throne. Together they formed the strongest and most adored royal couple; alone Fabiola symbolises that the affection of a people towards a royal family does go past esteem, it may be, and it is in her case, real love.
Throughout these pages, we will recall the celebrations held in honour of the royal couple, the solemnity of the civil and religious ceremonies of the wedding, the happiness of the Belgian people, the guests who joined the happiness of a whole country. And we do so, now, as the spiritual heir of King Baudouin, his nephew Prince Philippe, is about to give the Belgian throne the heir that Queen Fabiola was not, to her and her husband’s great anguish, able to give. And on doing so, we salute the memory of a great man, a great king and a great husband, His Majesty the late King Baudouin I of the Belgians.
October 2001, the Editors