According to a press release from the Belgian Royal Court, Queen Paola of Belgium has left the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc after three weeks after falling and breaking her hip. She underwent surgery on 17 February and according to the doctors, she can now take small steps. She will return to the Belvedère Castle to recuperate further. Just before breaking her hip, she had also fractured her vertebrae. Her recovery is set to last several months.
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.”
In 2015 Queen Paola was also admitted to hospital after a vacation in Italy. She was forced to cancel a planned visit to the Biennale in Venice. It was rumoured that the Queen had suffered a stroke during this holiday. King Albert abdicated in favour of his son Philippe on 21 July 2013, citing health problems. They have both retained their regal styles and continue to be known as His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium and Her Majesty Queen Paola of Belgium respectively.