The Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF) is reporting that Her Majesty Queen Paola of Belgium suffered a stroke last night. She was vacationing in Venice with her husband, King Albert of Belgium. She will be flown back to Belgium via Melsbroek Airport this afternoon. There are no details on the severity of the stroke. She is 81 years old and has suffered from several health problems these last few years.
Queen Paola is the wife of the abdicated King Albert II of Belgium. She was born on 11 September 1937 as the daughter of Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda and Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana e di Sebastiano. She married the then Prince of Liège on 2 July 1959 at the St. Goedele Cathedral in Brussels.
The couple has three children, Philippe (the current King of the Belgians), Astrid and Laurent. They had some marital problems and were apparently on the brink of a divorce in the late 1960s, but things improved. This is also around the time that Delphine Boel was born, who is in the process of trying to prove King Albert’s paternity. She and Albert became King and Queen of the Belgians upon the death of Albert’s childless brother Baudouin in 1993.
For her 70th birthday interview, Queen Paola said, “we’ve had our problems, but now we both say that we were meant for each other. We are very happy now.”
This is a breaking news story.