Hundreds of guests began arriving early at the Royal Palace of Brussels, where the magnificent and large Throne Room had been prepared with hundreds of chairs for all the guests. The dress code was of full morning gala, with men in gala uniform or dress coat, with their jewel-incrusted decorations shining, and women in long dress with hat and decorations. A magnificent table, wonderful piece of furniture, had been placed in the middle of the room, the whole ceremony having been designed having the television cameras in mind. Chairs were all around, given the size of the room, spectacular for its outstanding chandeliers.
At 9.56 am, after the entrance in the Throne Room of the representatives of the Royal Houses of Europe, reigning and non-reigning, the eyes were all turned into the door, through which came an officer who loudly announced the entrance of the most expected couple: His Majesty the King of the Belgians, in uniform of Lieutenant General of the Armies, wearing the ribbon and the collar of the Order of Leopold and Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, now just minutes away of becoming the Queen of the Belgians. Doña Fabiola was simply stunning , a part of a dream coming true.
Being followed by their immediate family, their parents and siblings, the King and his bride sat in two chairs placed right in front of the table, which was reserved for the authorities of the city of Brussels who would take a direct part in the celebration of the civil wedding. The scene seemed to have been taken from a movie, when, surrounded by officers in their gala uniforms in vivid colours, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Albert Lilar, came forward to read a short text telling of the Belgian Government’s unanimous approval of the marriage of the King. Then, Mr. Lucien Cooremans, the Burgomaster of Brussels, in a splendid uniform crowded with decorations read the articles of the Belgian Civil Code related to marriage, as it is done in every wedding. A member of the Municipal Council read the Marriage Acts.
After having declared the King and Doña Fabiola united in marriage, thus King and Queen of the Belgians, the Burgomaster began pronouncing a speech he had been preparing for weeks. At the end of it, it was time for the signing of registers, by the Belgian sovereigns and their witnesses. King Baudouin had chosen two personal witnesses, HM King Leopold, his father, and HRH the Hereditary Grand-Duke of Luxembourg, his brother-in-law. Queen Fabiola had chosen her brother, the Marquis of Casa Riera, dressed in the white uniform of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and HRH the Count of Barcelona, head of the Spanish Royal Family, to which the Mora y Aragón had always been extremely close and loyal.
The ceremony ended just within half an hour of its beginning and after having received the congratulations from the Burgomaster and other members of the Municipal Council, the King and Queen of the Belgians, followed by their families, left the Throne Room, while all the guests prepared to go to the Collegial Church. Outside, the crowds cheered, trying to heat themselves. It was then time for a long cortege to begin, at the end of which would come the King and the new Queen, the reason for so many people to brave the coldness of a mid-December day.