In the 1960s, Princess Paola of Belgium was one of the most glamorous and gorgeous royals in Europe. The future queen consort made an especially chic appearance at a ball in 1965, wearing a tiara with major royal roots.
Prince Albert and Princess Paola were the Prince and Princess of Liège in 1965—a title granted to Albert by his grandfather, King Albert I, in 1934. They weren’t expected to become Belgium’s king and queen, as his elder brother, King Baudouin, was on the throne. But because Baudouin and Fabiola were unable to have children, Albert and Paola eventually inherited the crown.
Paola, who was born in Italy, had been married to Albert for six years at the time of this event. The couple had three children, and Paola was celebrated by the press for her beauty.
On June 6, 1965, Prince Albert and Princess Paola attended the Waterloo Ball in Brussels, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the famed Battle of Waterloo. The event recalled the Duchess of Richmond’s ball, a pivotal moment that took place a few days before the battle. The Duke of Wellington and many of his fellow officers had to leave the ball after learning that Napoleon’s army was on the march.
The 1965 ball was given by the British ambassador to Belgium, Sir Roderick Barclay. Along with Albert and Paola, other royal guests included the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent. Paola and the Duke opened the dancing during the ball.
For the event, Paola wore a cool, chic white dress with a simple design. She accessorized with pearl drop earrings and Queen Elisabeth’s Art Deco Bandeau. The tiara originally belonged to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Albert’s grandmother. In 1959, Paola’s father-in-law, King Leopold III, gave her the tiara as a wedding present. The jewel was Paola’s primary tiara for years. Over the past two decades, the piece has been worn by a bridal tiara by two family brides (Mathilde and Elisabetta), and it was most recently worn by Princess Astrid, Paola’s daughter.
In the background of this picture, eagle-eyed readers might be able to spot one more royal tiara. It’s the diamond bandeau belonging to the Duchess of Kent, which she wore as her wedding tiara a few years earlier.