23 January 2019

Your Favorite Belgian Royal Lady

For this month's quiz, I asked Twitter followers to choose a favorite Belgian royal lady from among Queen Mathilde, her mother-in-law Queen Paola, and her two sisters-in-law Princess Astrid and Princess Claire. While I had no doubt that the always-appropriate and lovely Mathilde would win the day, I was truly stunned that she carried 84% of the vote! I am usually able to include readers' comments in my posts about the polls, but this time, despite more than 100 participants, only two people offered up comments. So, get ready to hear what Sloane, Dahlia and I think!

Queen Mathilde in my opinion is an ideal queen consort. Despite this, she came in third out of four in the Your Favorite Queen Consort poll last year. That's probably because she is less colorful than her colleagues Maxima of the The Netherlands, Rania of Jordan and Letizia of Spain. She just doesn't end up in the limelight as often as they do. For me, she is nearly always perfectly dressed, immaculate but not showy, she never says anything controversial and she just seems quietly but sincerely supportive of her husband King Philippe and their four children. She is just terrific in every category. As Sloane Murray @THERoyalCrabbit wrote, "I selected her because I admire Mathilde’s work in speech therapy (before royal life) and her work with sexually abused children (which, I’m sure she has an advantage having a psychology education). The QMFund for society’s poor is a noble one. Her family life is a good one and I wish I knew more of her."

via Wikimedia Commons
Mathilde's mother-in-law Queen Paola squeaked out a distant second place with 6% of the vote, but no comments. Italian-born Paola is the wife of former King Albert, who abdicated in 2013. At the time of their marriage in 1959, they had no expectation of ascending the throne because Albert's older brother Baudouin was king. Though Baudouin did marry in 1960, he and his wife were unable to have children -- Queen Fabiola had at least five miscarriages. When big brother died in 1993, Albert and Paola assumed their roles. Since the abdication, Paola has been less visible in public not just because her husband is no longer the monarch but because she has suffered from poor health, including a stroke in 2018. A strikingly beautiful woman in her youth, she remains lovely now in her 80s. She remains keenly interested in the arts, crafts and cultural heritage.

UNCTAD via Wikimedia Commons
Mathilde's two sisters-in-law tied at the bottom with 5% of the vote each. Zef Dahlia/QRC @nelainedahlia93 wrote, "It was a hard choice between Queen Mathilde and Princess Astrid. I had the pleasure of meeting Her Majesty last year, lovely lady with a calm spirit but my final pick was Princess Astrid. Regal lady who represents Belgium and her brother with utmost respect." Astrid is the second child of Albert and Paola, wedged between older brother King Philippe and younger brother Prince Laurent, but she doesn't seem to suffer from "middle child syndrome." Instead, she just gets on with it. Level-headed and devoted to serving her family and country, she often has represented her uncle Baudouin, father Albert and brother Philippe on official duties at home and abroad. She previously served as president of the Belgian Red Cross and still is on the Honorary Board of the International Paralympic Committee. At the age of 22, she married Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este, who was created a Belgian prince. The couple has two sons, three daughters, and one grandchild (so far), who was named Anna Astrid after her grandmother. While Astrid's brothers have drawn criticism at various times -- Philippe for being dull and not-too-bright and Laurent for being selfish and possibly corrupt -- Astrid has always stayed calmly above reproach, which has lent credibility to her various causes, including the battle against landmines.

By Jleclerc via
Wikimedia Commons
British-born Belgian Claire Coombs married Prince Laurent in 2003, when she was 29. Though she became a princess upon her marriage, she did not gain any official role. This is why she is seen less, and is less well-known than her sisters-in-law. Nevertheless, she still has charitable and civic interests, including serving as a Trustees of the British School in Brussels and patron of the Brussels choral society. She occasionally accompanies her husband on his official activities, but these have occasionally been curtailed due his sometimes controversial activities. At one point, he was even threatened with having his government funding withdrawn if he didn't start behaving as expected. He also suffered some serious health issues in 2014. Through all of this, Claire has shown only a graceful and serene face to the public. Claire and Laurent have three children. Daughter Louise was born 10 months after their wedding and twin Princes Nicolas and Aymeric arrived 22 months later.

Sloane Murray @THERoyalCrabbit, whose support for Queen Maxima in the poll is strong, sums up the poll results well, "As to the other three royal ladies, I’m glad to see votes of support for them as well. They are all fine ladies, each with tremendous contributions, their own “signature” style."


  1. I love the way you write. Your comments are always kind and dignified. Like a true Lady of the land. Thank you

  2. this article is really amazing.one of my favorite lady she is so gorgeous.