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Queen Paola celebrates birthday quietly in Italy

Queen Paola of the Belgians celebrated her 81st birthday on Tuesday. She marked this special occasion together with her husband King Albert in her birth country of Italy, without her children.

Queen Paola and King Albert of Belgium have not spent many days at their home, Castle Belvédère in Laeken, Brussels this summer. The pair has been spotted in at least three different countries over the summer. Queen Paola’s birthday is being celebrated in Italy – far away from Belgium and her family.

In July the former reigning King and Queen of Belgium spent some time in Paola’s birth country at Lake Como. Then the couple was joined by their daughter-in-law Princess Claire and her three children, Princess Louise, Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric as they floated around Corsica with their yacht ‘Alpa‘. King Albert and Queen Paola’s son Prince Laurent did not join his wife and children as he is still in a fight with his parents. Princess Claire meanwhile makes sure that her children remain a close bond with their grandparents.

10 years ago. King Albert and Queen Paola on State Visit to India. (Photo: Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India via Wiki Commons.)

In August the King and Queen of the Belgians then headed to France where they spent some time in Saint-Tropez with close friends. Then the couple travelled back to Italy where they are spending some weeks in September.

The Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reports that ever since King Albert had his heart operation and revalidation, the couple seem to be spending a lot of time at sunny destinations abroad.

Ever since King Albert abdicated, he and his wife have not been seen much in public. It is not a secret that the relationship between King Albert and Queen Paola and their son the new King Philippe is strained. Last weekend, King Albert and Queen Paola didn’t travel back to Belgium to attend the mass commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of King Albert’s brother King Baudouin. 

A young Princess Paola of Belgium. (Photo: Evers, Joost / Anef. CC BY-SA 3.0 nl via Wikimedia Commons)

Last year Queen Paola marked her 80th birthday in Belgium where she was surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-granddaughter. Various celebrations were planned to thank the former reigning Queen of the Belgiums for her service and to mark her special birthday.

On Tuesday Queen Paola only had her husband by her side for the occasion. Her children remain in Belgium where King Philippe will receive the credentials of various ambassadors today.

About author

Laura is from Belgium and has a passion for all things royal. She is Europe Correspondent for Royal Central since October 2016 and has contributed to other news websites. In her daily life she is a fulltime student in EU-politics and political communication.