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A historical moment took place on the 5th December 1929 as TM The King and Queen of Italy officially visited Pope Pius XI at the Holy See, solemnly marking the reconciliation of the two states. The relations had been almost frozen since 1871, when the Italian State took over the papal city and Rome became the Italian capital. While King Vittorio Emanuele III wore uniform and the collar of the Santissima Annunziata, Queen Elena used the “privilége du blanc” of the Catholic Queens and wore a white dress and lace veil, wearing the Jewels of the Crown as she always did after the First World War.

An engagement in Brussels for the newly-engaged royal couple, HRH The Prince of Piemonte and HRH Princess Maria José of Belgium, daughter of TM The King and Queen of the Belgians, Albert I and Elisabeth, born Duchess in Bavaria. King Albert was the youngest son of the Count of Flanders, himself brother of King Leopold II, and was not thought to be a future King. His leadership during the First World War won him the love of his people. Shortly after the announcement of the engagement of the future King of Italy with the Belgian Princess, the Prince of Piemonte was the target of an assassination attempt in Brussels, but he could get off it unhurt.

Dazzling scenes at the Quirinale for the wedding of HRH The Prince of Piemonte, heir to the throne of Italy, and HRH Princess Maria José of Belgium, on the 8th January 1930. The Princess, accompanied by her parents, TM The King and Queen of the Belgians, her brothers HRH The Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant and HRH Prince Charles, Count of Flanders and her sister-in-law, HRH Princess Astrid, Duchess of Brabant, born Princess of Sweden, arrived on the 5th January at the train station of Roma Termini. The Belgian Royal Family was received by the Italian sovereigns and the Prince of Piemonte and the two families rode in carriages to the Quirinale, where they appeared on the balcony.

On the 6th January, a grand gala took place in the Quirinale, attended, apart of the two Royal Families, by HM King Boris III of Bulgaria, HM King Manuel II, exiled King of Portugal and grandson of a Princess of Italy, since Queen Maria Pia was daughter of Vittorio Emanuele II and sister of King Umberto I, and his mother HM Queen Maria Amélia of Portugal, born Princess of France, HRH The Prince of Wales and many other royals. Princess Maria José is said to have worn a diamond bandeau to the gala. The following day, the Belgian Royal Family, accompanied by HRH The Prince of Piemonte, was received by His Holiness Pope Pius XI at the Vatican.

Queen Elisabeth, dazzling in her splendid Cartier diadem worn in the front and a long pearl necklace, declined the “privilége du blanc” and wore black for the visit. Princess Maria José, who from the following day, as Princess of Italy, could also wear white at the Vatican, also wore black, using her tiara of diamonds and pearls, inherited from Empress Charlotte of Mexico, to hold her long black veil. Princess Astrid wore a small and discreet diamond and pearl tiara. The same evening around 5000 people were invited to a reception in the Quirinale.

HM King Albert I of the Belgians and HM Queen Elena of Italy, born Princess of Montenegro, on the balcony of the Quirinale after the wedding of their children. The King wears the Collar of the Santissima Annunziata. The Queen wears the Jewels of the Crown, including the magnificent Musy diadem holding her veil of white lace. Her Majesty wears several diamond and pearl necklaces, along with the large and magnificent brooch described before.

A closer picture of TRH The Prince and Princess of Piemonte on the balcony of the Quirinale following their wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, the couple went to receive the papal blessing at the Vatican. On the 10th January, a lavish gala function was held at the Royal Opera House of Rome, where diadems made the scene amazingly unforgettable.

HM Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, born Duchess in Bavaria, and HM King Vittorio Emanuele III on the balcony of the Quirinale. The Belgian Queen wears her splendid Cartier diamond tiara, with a large cabochon emerald mounted on it, holding her stunning white veil..

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