Boning Up on the Belgians: Remembering Queen Fabiola

queen fabiola

Today we’re saluting another daughter of the Spanish aristocracy, but unlike the late 18th Duchess of Alba this gal wasn’t born into her position of ultimate glamour, she married up.

queen fabiola belgium spanish wedding gift tiara

fabiola wearing the spanish wedding gift tiara as a necklace

The absolutely fabulous Fabiola de Mora and Aragón was once called “no raving beauty” and oddly enough, “the girl who could not catch a man” in an article about her engagement to Baudouin King of the Belgians.

Born doña Fabiola Fernanda María de las Victorias Antonia Adelaida de Mora y Aragón, she was one of the six children of Gonzalo de Mora Fernández Riera del Olmo, 4th Marques of Rasa Riera and Second Count of Mora and doña Blanca de Aragón y Carrillo de Albornoz Barroeta-Aldamar y Elío, who was also the daughter of a count. So Fabiola had titles and ties, just not 47 of them.

victoria eugenia fabiola duquesa de albaBelgium is has been in an official state of mourning since Saturday and will remain so until her funeral this Friday the 12th of December. Until then, here are some fun AbFabiola facts. [Well, technically the first trivia bit would be getting insulted by Time magazine. I always knew that periodical was crap.]

Both the late Duchess of Alba and Fabiola had the same godmother: Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg (right), Queen of Spain at the time and Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. Told you the girl had connections.

Her brother was Spanish actor and now-extinct breed of jet-setter playboy, Jaime de Mora y Aragon. They just don’t make those anymore.

Queen Fabiola was a published author. Before she was married, Fabiola published a collection of 12 fairy tales under the aptly-named title of Los Doce Cuentos Maravillosos. One of which, “the Indian Water Lillies” has its own animatronic puppet show in the Efteling theme park in the Netherlands. The show opened in 1961.

Fabiola, though incredibly well-born, was employed as a nurse at the time her engagement was announced. Right about the same time Time magazine made fun of her.

Fabiola married King Baudouin of Belgium on December 15, 1960. The ceremony was 4 hours long and the bride nearly fainted as she’d been up all night in prayer and fasting. [Back in the day if you had to have communion on an empty stomach. My mother’s told me a ton of those fainting in mass Catholic school stories.] But none of Mom’s classmates were struggling to maneuver under the weight of one of the most grandiose wedding dresses.

One look at this silk-and-ermine gown by Cristobal Balenciaga will make anyone reconsider a winter wedding. Her tulle veil was anchored by the Belgian Empire tiara, a gift from the Belgian state to the groom’s mom, Astrid of Sweden.

belgian wedding Queen Fabiola and King Baudouin

Like the mother-in-law she’d never meet, Fabiola received her own tiara as a wedding gift from then-head of Spain and dictator with my same maiden-not-married name Generalísimo Francisco Franco. [The guy both gives me the creeps but it sickly amuses me to use my own last name.]

queen fabiola belgium spanish wedding gift tiara

Below is a picture of Señora Generalísimo proving that it is such a bummer to give than receive.

madame franco gives the Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara to Queen Fabiola of Belgium

Would you turn down a tiara if it were a gift from a dictator? (morals weakening!)

I would not let go of that box. That tiara has come to be known in the most literal way: the Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara. Why not the Franco Wedding Gift Tiara? See what I did there? Implying that it came from a Franco so it should be given to one next. *finger pyramid of evil contemplation* I’m not even related to the guy BTW. Just that desperate for a tiara. And this is the best one. It can be worn 3 different ways and has 3 sets of interchangeable precious stones. Three sets!

queen fabiola mountains

The former Queen of the Belgians has both a bread and a chain of Antarctic mountains named after her. La Fabiola was invented by a baker in Valladolid in honor of fabiola breadher wedding and is still supposedly made in Castilla y León though your Blog Hostess has never had it. The Queen Fabiola Mountains (above) were discovered in 1961 by Guido Derom and are located at 71°30′S 35°40′E / 71.500°S 35.667°E / -71.500; 35.667, in case you really needed to know. The second largest meteorite from Mars was discovered there.

In 2009 an anonymous, mentally-balanced type hand-wrote letters threatening to kill Queen Fabiola with a crossbow. In a reference to the Legend of William Tell, Fabiola waved an apple–a joking target–while greeting the crowds during the National Day Celebrations in 2009. Tough old bird!

About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
This entry was posted in belgium, court and social, historic royals and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Boning Up on the Belgians: Remembering Queen Fabiola

  1. Great blogpost! I hope the Tiara will be worn by Queen Mathilde … We shall see…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perseverance says:

    I think she’s beautiful. Whoever wrote that piece on her engagement was terribly rude!


it's not just a love-affair with my own voice

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