Belgian State Visit to the Vatican, 1961

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King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium (wearing the Nine Provinces Tiara with the Privilège du Blanc, the first time it was worn by a Belgian Queen) have an Audience with Pope John XXIII  at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City during their State Visit to the Vatican on this day in 1961, just a few months after their wedding. Following the Audience, Pope John XXIII revealed that Queen Fabiola was expecting their first child, saying: “The Queen was very kind, because she told us that she is expecting a child.” However, a few days later, the Belgian Court issued a communiqué: “Contrary to what one had been permitted to hope, a happy event should not be expected at the Royal Palace at Laeken in the near future. The Queen’s state of health gives no reason for worry. Her Majesty will have completely recovered within a few days.” Five years later, Pope Paul VI made the same mistake and announced another pregnancy which also ended in a miscarriage. Eventually, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola never had children, to their great regret.

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Pathe | Histoires Royales

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