Queen Fabiola of Belgium


Portrait of Queen FabiolaHer Majesty Queen Fabiola of the Belgians (1928) was born Doña Fabiola Fernanda Maria de las Victorias Antonia Adelaida de Mora y Aragón in Madrid.


Upon finishing her training as a nurse, Doña Fabiola began work in a hospital in Madrid. The good relation of both the Mora y Aragóns and the Belgian Royal Family with the Spanish Royal Family in exile, allowed the meeting between the bachelor King of the Belgians and the pious Spanish noblewoman. Their relation was carried in the most absolute secret, while the King kept being related with various princesses. It is said, though, that when the King's brother Prince Albert married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria the King had already demanded Doña Fabiola in marriage and she had accepted.


The Belgian Prime Minister announced their engagement and the news not only surprised but overjoyed all the Belgians. After the triumphant Joyeuses Entrées in the Belgian provinces, the wedding took place in Brussels, on 15 December 1960. The new Queen of the Belgians immediately took a keen interest in the cultural and social life of her new country.


The King and the Queen's lives were marked by the sadness of not having had children. Although it is related the Queen had several miscarriages, only one is sure, since when the Queen was pregnant the sovereigns went to the Vatican and were received in state by Pope John XXIII, who promised to be godfather of the child. Misfortune made it that the Queen would loose her baby and never be able to give birth to the much-awaited heir. Unlike possibly expected, this sad fate strengthened the relation between the King and the Queen, and Their Majesties always said that the Belgians were their children, all of them.


King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola with babyThe Queen's activities, apart of the state ones which she carried with the King, were much devoted to the social needs. In 1992, Queen Fabiola and Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, chaired a meeting of 70 First Ladies who had come to speak in favour of the adoption of the Geneva Convention on the Advancement of Women in Rural Areas. Later, already after the death of her husband, in 1994, she also chaired, this time in Brussels, a meeting designed to assess the results of the implementation of the "Geneva Declaration".


His Majesty King Baudouin, Queen Fabiola's beloved husband, died on 31 July 1993, while they were vacationing in southern Spain. The love of the Belgian people towards the late King and Queen Fabiola was never as evident as in the days that followed the King's death. The messages for the Queen came from all corners of the world and for several times Her Majesty came out of the windows of the Royal Palace to thank people queuing to pay homage to King Baudouin. On the funeral day, breaths were held when the Queen appeared in the top of the Grand Staircase of the Royal Palace totally dressed in white. White, the privilege of Catholic Queens and the colour that expressed the Queen’s feeling of thanks and thanksgiving, for the King’s life.


Portrait of Queen Fabiola, ca. 1960Ever since, Fabiola has kept playing a major part in the Belgian Royal Family and has devoted her time to rally for causes dear to her heart and to her late husband’s. The Spanish noblewomen, who became the Belgian Queen, is loved by her adopted country for her hard work and fastidious diligence to her dear family. She presides over the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium and is honorary president of the King Baudouin Foundation, which aims at improving the living conditions of the population.


Since she worked as a nurse in her native Spain, Her Majesty has a special interest in health care. She lends her support to medical and social charities for children and encourages the study, prevention and treatment of learning difficulties and psychosocial and cultural backwardness through the Queen Fabiola National Foundation for Mental Health. The Queen has also given her name the Queen Fabiola University Children's Hospital, which caters exclusively for children.


Queen Fabiola was awarded the Ceres Medal on World Food Day 2001 in recognition of her work to promote rural women in developing countries. Accepting the Ceres Medal, she said: "With its specific everyday activities, the FAO contributes to rural development and to the fight against famine in the world, even though hunger and thirst have regrettably become lethal weapons in the hands of the rich and powerful."



Stamp catalogue


Belgium                               7 June 2008









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last revised: 1 March 2010