Happy Anniversary to King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, who got married on this day in 1959. The then Prince of Liege and Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria have three children, and succeeded his childless brother to the Belgian Throne in 1993. After his abdication, the couple now live in retirement. Take a look at scenes from their wedding below-
The civil ceremony was held in the Empire Salon of the Royal Palace of Brussels, and the brief service was conducted by the Mayor of Brussels, Lucien Cooremans. After the marriage register was signed, the couple emerged from the Palace and processed through the streets of Brussels to the religious ceremony.
The religious ceremony was held at the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula, and was conducted by Cardinal Jozef-Ernest van Rooey, Primate of Belgium. After exchanging their vows and rings, the Cardinal gave an address in which he referred to Paola as “a lovely princess”, and told her that “Italy sends you to Belgium as a ray of its beautiful sun and a reflection of its ardent soul.” The couple were read a message from the Pope before the final blessing, and then processed out of the cathedral to be met with tremendous cheers from the crowds gathered outside. In the evening, there was a grand Banquet held at the Castle of Laeken, after which the couple left for their honeymoon in Spain.
Prince Albert wore Naval uniform with the sash and star of the Order of Leopold and the collar of the Order of Malta. The new Princess Paola wore a heavy white satin gown with her heirloom lace veil, which was the main focus of the outfit. made of Brussels lace, the piece was first worn at the wedding of her Belgian grandmother in 1877, and later by her mother. It has since been used by her daughter and two daughters-in-law at their weddings.