Happy Birthday to Queen Paola of Belgium, who turns 85 today! The beautiful Italian Aristocrat who married the younger brother of the Belgian King. Paola eventually became the Queen Consort and is the mother of the current King of the Belgians. With one of the smallest jewellery collections among her counterparts, today we are taking a look at her Diamond Necklace!
A striking modern necklace of baguette and brilliant cut diamonds, this Diamond Necklace was likely a wedding gift to Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria when she married Prince Albert of Belgium in 1959.
Princess Paola first debuted the Diamond Necklace during the Dutch State Visit to Belgium in 1960 and wore it often during the 1960s, usually with Queen Elisabeth’s Diamond Bandeau, her Half-Moon Earrings, and her Diamond Necklace Tiara.
Unlike her other Diamond Necklace, which was often worn as a Tiara in the 1960s and 1970s, Princess Paola only wore this Diamond Necklace as a necklace, like for the French State Visit to Belgium in 1971, on the cover of Point de Vue in 1980 and with Queen Elisabeth’s Diamond Bandeau for the Dutch State Visit to Belgium in 1981.
The Diamond Necklace continued to be a primary jewel after King Albert’s Accession in 1993, worn by Queen Paola with the Nine Provinces Tiara for the Belgian State Visit to Luxembourg in 1994 and the Belgian State Visit to Denmark in 1995 as well as for Infanta Elena’s Wedding Gala in 1995, King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 50th Birthday Gala in 1996, the Belgian State Visit to Japan in 1996, and King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 60th Birthday in 1997.
Queen Paola wore her Diamond Necklace for the Danish State Visit to Belgium in 2002, at King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 60th Birthday Banquet in 2006, and for Dutch State Visit to Belgium in 2006.
More recently, Queen Paola wore the Diamond Necklace with Queen Elisabeth’s Diamond Bandeau at the Wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in 2010, for the Wedding Ball of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco in 2011 and also for the Wedding Gala of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and Countess Stephanie de Lannoy in 2012. The necklace has not been worn since King Albert’s Abdication in 2013, but lets hope this striking piece may reappear on one of Queen Paola’s granddaughters someday soon!