Today, on the 26th of August, Princess Maria Laura of Belgium celebrates her 32nd birthday. But who is this mysterious Belgian beauty? Let’s take a look at what we know about her.
On 26 August 1988, Maria Laura Zita Beatrix Gerhard was born at the Saint-Luc University Hospital in Brussels as the first daughter of Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium. Upon her birth, she received the titles “Princess of Belgium” from her mother and “Archduchess of Austria-Este” from her father. Maria Laura is named after her two godparents, her paternal uncle Archduke Gerhard of Austria-Este and her elder paternal aunt, Archduchess Maria Beatrice of Austria-Este, Countess von und zu Arco-Zinneberg.
Princess Maria Laura of Belgium or “Laura de Belgique”, as she is known in her daily life, has one older brother, Prince Amedeo; a younger brother, Prince Joachim; and two younger sisters, Princess Luisa Maria and Princess Laetitia Maria. She is a granddaughter of King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium and a niece of the current King of the Belgians, Philippe. Maria Laura’s father, Prince Lorenz, is the head of the House of Austria-Este, a branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
From her birth until the age of five, Princess Maria Laura was raised in Bazel, Switzerland, where her father worked at an international bank. In 1993, her family relocated to Villa Schonenberg, part of the Royal Domain of Laeken. Like her siblings and cousins, Maria Laura went to the St. John Berchmans College in Brussels. She completed her secondary education at the St. John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium.
After her secondary education, Maria Laura became a true globe-trotter. She studied sinology and international relations in Paris, and she obtained a Master’s Degree in international relations and diplomacy at the SOAS University of London. She then completed an internship at the United Nations in New York and worked in marketing at Louis Vuitton in Shanghai, China. Most recently, she worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Princess currently lives in London.
Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz decided to raise their children away from their official lives. Thus, Princess Maria Laura rarely attends official engagements. From time to time, she accompanies her parents and siblings at important family occasions such as the annual mass to commemorate the deceased members of the Belgian Royal Family. She also accompanied her mother, Princess Astrid, on an economic mission to China.