Our look back at the glittering royal brides of Belgium continues today with the grand wedding tiara worn by Queen Fabiola in 1960.
King Baudouin of Belgium, the elder son of King Leopold III and Queen Astrid, married his Spanish aristocratic fiancée, Doña Fabiola Mora y Aragón, in a pair of sparkling ceremonies in Brussels on December 15, 1960. The couple had an interesting love story: their relationship was arranged by a cardinal and a nun (!). You can read much more about their romance and engagement in this article.
The couple solemnized their marriage in both civil and religious wedding ceremonies. First, they were wed in civil wedding ceremony at the Royal Palace in Brussels. There, they signed the documents that made their marriage legitimate in the eyes of the Belgian state. Several royals served as witnesses, including the Prince of Liege (Baudouin’s brother), the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (Baudouin’s brother-in-law), and the Count of Barcelona.
Next, the couple traveled to the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels for a Roman Catholic wedding ceremony. More than two thousand guests were present to witness the religious wedding.
Fabiola’s wedding gown was made by the Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. The white satin dress featured fur trim, a nod to the December weather, and a 21-foot train.
Here’s a view of the bridal ensemble, worn for both the civil and religious wedding ceremonies, in color.
Fabiola secured her bridal veil with the Nine Provinces Tiara, a diadem reserved for the use of Belgium’s queens. She’s the only woman who has ever worn the tiara on her wedding day—but she’s also the only woman who has married a reigning Belgian king, becoming a queen consort in the process. The diamond tiara had a sentimental link to the past: it was one of the wedding gifts offered to King Baudouin’s late mother, Queen Astrid, in 1926. Today, the versatile jewel is worn by Queen Mathilde, the wife of Fabiola’s nephew, King Philippe.
Like her mother-in-law before her, Fabiola received tiaras as wedding gifts, too. The people of her native Spain gave her a diamond coronet-style tiara that could be worn in numerous different configurations. Here, she receives the tiara from Carmen Franco, the wife of Spanish head of state Francisco Franco, a few days before the royal wedding. The whereabouts of this tiara are presently unknown.