Belgium's former Queen Fabiola has died at the age of 86 at Stuyvenbergh Castle.
A statement from the palace today said: 'Their majesties the King and Queen and the members of the royal family announce with great sadness the death of Her Majesty Queen Fabiola in Brussels this evening.'
Foreign minister Didier Reynders said all Belgians would mourn her passing. 'A page in our country's history has turned,' he told Belgium's RTL television.
King Philippe of Belgium said he was left with 'great sadness' when he heard of the death of his aunt.
Although her exact cause of death has not been confirmed, Queen Fabiola, the childless widow of King Baudouin, had been suffering from osteoporosis for years, and had never fully recovered from pneumonia in 2009.
The former queen, who used a wheelchair, had looked increasingly frail over the past month as she increasingly limited her public appearances.
Fabiola was born in 1928 as Fabiola de Mora y Aragón into an aristocratic family in Madrid, Spain.
Her godmother was Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain.
She became queen of Belgium when she married King Baudouin in 1960.
Tributes were placed at the gates of the Royal Palace.
Nephew: King Philippe of Belgium, pictured today with Queen Mathilde Ronse in East Flanders, Belgium, said he was left with 'great sadness' when he heard of the death of his aunt
Wheelchair user: Although her exact cause of death has not been confirmed, Queen Fabiola had been suffering from osteoporosis for years. Pictured in Feburary 2013 at the Church of Our Lady Bruges
Fabiola, a devout Roman Catholic, was generally regarded to be a popular monarch, known for her tireless charity work.
In 2001, she was awarded the Ceres Medal in recognition of her work to help rural women in developing countries.
Tragically, Fabiola suffered five miscarriages during the course of her marriage to Baudoin.
She openly spoke about this in 2008, stating: 'You know, I myself lost five children.'You learn something from that experience. I had problems with all my pregnancies, but you know, in the end I think life is beautiful.'
'Royal family: Queen Fabiola (left), Princess Eleonore, Queen Mathilde, Prince Gabriel, King Philippe, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Emmanuel, King Albert II and Queen Paola greeting the population from the balcony of the Royal Palace in Brussels on July 21 2013
'Beauty: An undated portrait of Queen Fabiola in her younger years'
A Lady who never had children of her own and yet her heart focus was on other people. Sometimes life prepares the childless woman for a greater destiny to live and care for great numbers of people, insttrad of focussed just on immediate family.
Fabiola and Baudouin in 1993 shortly before he died of heart failure on July 31
At 86 years, a good age and a full life making a difference. When our heart if free to love and care about the most people in our world, then it is a gift and a privilege to be able to do so and make a positive difference even in this way.
Former Queen Fabiola was loved and respected by people, a lady in her time who unlikely needed promoting to being a false idol, but someone who had been born knowing in her heart that she could make a difference and reach out to other women.
In memory: Fabiola attending a service commemorating the 60th anniversary of 'Comete', a World War II escape network, in Brussels on October 21, 2001
The article above is largely quoted from the original report in the Daily Mail.
'TIME magazine, in its 26 September 1960, issue, called Doña Fabiola, who was a hospital nurse at the time of her engagement, "Cinderella Girl" and described her as "an attractive young woman, though no raving beauty" and "the girl who could not catch a man." On the occasion of her marriage, Spanish bakers set out to honor Fabiola and created a type of bread, "la fabiola", which is still made and consumed on a daily basis in many Spanish cities.'
'Fabiola de Mora y Aragón was born in Madrid, Spain, the sixth of seven children of Gonzalo de Mora y Fernández, Riera y del Olmo, 4thMarquess of Casa Riera, 2nd Count of Mora (1887–1957) and his wife, Blanca de Aragón y Carrillo de Albornoz, Barroeta-Aldamar y Elío (1892–1981). She was a sister of Jaime de Mora y Aragón, a Spanish actor and playboy. Her godmother was Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain'
Queen Fabiola being born in Madrid, Spain; the name Aragon identified. Recently I discovered in Spain the family children take the name of both parents as we see is revealed with Fabiola de Mora y Aragón. (With Aragon identified, maternally Fabiola may have descended from the Royal House of Aragon. In Spain - Real Madrid means Royal Madrid. Her husband Baudoin of Belgium was of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (as Phillip Duke of Edinburgh)
Wikipedia writes 'In Spain, a person's name consists of a given name (simple or composite) followed by two family names (surnames). The first surname is usually the father's first surname, and the second the mother's first surname. In recent years, the order of the surnames can be reversed at birth if it is so decided by the parents.
In most situations, the practice is to use one given name and the first surname only, the full name being used in legal, formal, and documentary matters.'
More photographs can be found on the Daily Mail article below.
Peace be with you
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