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Queen Paola of Belgium’s brother dies at the age of 87

The brother of Queen Paola of Belgium, Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria has died at the age of 87 in Rome. The death was announced yesterday via the Italian press. He had been admitted to the hospital to undergo an operation. Antonello founded the first ornithological nature park in Italy, the Selva di Paliano. He was an avid collector of steam trains and even built a private railway in 1984.

Antonello was born in 1930 as the sixth child of Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda and Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana e di Sebastiano. Antonello was married to Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca in 1961, and the couple had four children together. The family titles were inherited by the eldest son Fabrizio, and he was head of the family until his death in 2005. The titles were then inherited by his son Fulco, who was born in 1954. He is the current head of the House of Ruffo di Calabria.

A book by Giusy Colmo called Il principe che spostava le colline. Antonello Ruffo di Calabria (The Prince who moved the hills) was recently released about his life.

Queen Paola had six siblings, all of whom are now deceased: Maria Christina (born in 1920 and died in 2003), Laura (born in 1921 and died in 1972), Fabrizio (born in 1922 and died in 2005), Augusto (born in 1925 and died in 1943), Giovanella (born in 1927 and died in 1941) and Antonello (born in 1930 and died in 2017). Queen Paola is the youngest of the siblings and now the last surviving one. She will turn 80 on 11 September.

There are currently no details on Antonello’s funeral. More than likely it will be a private affair.

Queen Paola and King Albert were spotted earlier this month on their yacht near Sardinia.

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