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  #121  
Old 02-21-2022, 04:32 AM
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It was an a-ma-zing portrait of a very sincere Queen Paola.


It started with Queen Paola watching youth pictures with her granddaughter Princess Maria Laura (daughter of Princess Astrid and Archduke Lorenz). What a beautiful youth on the Italian countryside. What a deep and profound love there was in the Ruffo di Calabria family. Little Paola was the very last of 7 children, born 7 years after the 6th child. An belated gift to Prince and Princess Fulco. A little sunray in the family Ruffo di Calabria, deeply loved. Especially the picture of her brother Don Augusto (12 years older) swimming with Dolce Paola was touching, there was a visible magic, an unconditional love between brother and sister.

Donna Paola's father, Prince Fulco Ruffo di Calabria was a fighter pilot in WWI and a war hero. In the documentary it was told how gentlemanlike he was: a pilot shot down by him was picked up and Don Fulco made sure he was given the best care. The standing of Don Fulco was so great that he was made Senator for Rome.

When WWII broke out, the first cracks in the family happiness appeared: Donna Paola's sister Donna Giovanella died because of a food poisoning at the age of 14 (1941) and her brother Don Augusto died in combat, his ship was torpedoed in 1943. He was only 18 years old.

Then the documentary showed a picture of a visibly aged Don Fulco. The Prince was shaken by the deaths of his daughter Giovanella and his son Augusto. He died three years after Don Augusto (1946), leaving his spouse Donna Laura as a widow with 5 children.

Then the documentary lept to 1958: the young Prince Albert of Belgium, the Prince de Liège visited a reception at the Belgian Embassy, to meet "the youth of Rome". There the Prince saw a "ravissante" lady: Donna Paola dei principi Ruffo di Calabria. The root of the later problems lies in this period. Donna Paola was only 20 and in essence a shy, introvert girl. Her immense beauty caused a frenzy and the couple were hunted like prey.

In the documentary Queen Paola told there was hardly any room for contemplation. It was as if their relationship was taken into a maelstrom and that events went out of hand. Instead of taking the time, to contemplate, to make a sincere choice, it was as more or less the immense expectations of the outside world on this glamorous couple already decided their fate: they would marry. Soit.

Later in the documentary, when the King and Queen were open about their rocky marriage and the raising of children, both pointed to this period. Queen Paola said: we have not had an adolescence at all. Albert was "born into a public life". I knew nothing, from the one day on the other I became a public figure. In a strange country. With two foreign languages. For me it was very hard to cope with, to accustom to it.

King Albert said: "It was a pivot moment, the world of nannies and governesses raising the children vs today's practice that royals themselves are hands-on parents". Both compared it as a "completely different world" back then, seeing today's royals taking a gap year or travelling to Australia to learn other people, to experience their adolescence.

Another pivotal moment was the arrival of Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón. From then on the Prince and Princess of Liège were requested "to take a lower profile". No longer were they the stars of the Belgian monarchy, now they were mere "ornaments in the background". This caused an existential doubt to Princess Paola: what was her destiny, what was her purpose? Especially in the period 1970-1980 she felt depressed and out of place at the Court.

In the end of the documentary, in Châteauneuf-de-Grasse (their splendid holiday villa near Nice) Queen Paola told how she and Albert re-found their Faith. She asked the Lord for a sign, what to do for him. But no, nothing at all, so said Queen Paola. And then she understood she would be there for her grandchildren of which she only speaks with love, emotion and pride.

In the documentary Princess Astrid got wet eyes when she told how much her mother meant to her. She seems especially close to her daughter Princess Astrid and her daughter-in-law Princess Claire. What a beautiful children Laurent and Claire have.

We also saw Queen Mathilde watching youth pictures of King Philippe. How creepily he looked like their son Emmanuel. Philippe faced with his own pictures: "Eh... that was 20 kilos ago!" In the documentary there was not so much interaction between Paola and Mathilde. The last one confirmed Philippe's words that his mother was -above all- a non-conformist.

A beautiful documentary and what a feast for the eye Belvédère, Villers-sur-Lesse and Châteauneuf-de-Grasse were. A talented interior decorator and garden designer! Oh yes, Queen Paola also remarked that until 1993 she "could not even hammer a nail in a wall without permission of the Donation Royale" but once she was Queen: she took her chance and indeed re-decorated and renovated palace interiors. Apparently the Donation Royale gave no freedom to the Princess of Liège to have her "own" house (the Château du Belvédère) redecorated to her own wishes. Only after her husband became King (and the Donation Royale gives palaces in usufruct to he King) a world of opportunities opened for -then- Queen Paola.
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Old 02-21-2022, 04:54 AM
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I liked to see that for Paola the most important thing nowadays is to see her grandkids happy and to make sure that they as cousins have a great relationship amongst them, I think she's the kind of Italian nonna who makes sure there's always food in the table and everyone is present to share special moments, in fact when Claire was talking about her, Paola herself said that life was too short and that moments went too fast, so she basically soaked in everything she could with her grandkids.

It was also nice how Philippe said that their reconciliation was a triumph and that it required much courage from both of them, I think he's made his peace with his parents, he might not (outwardly at least) love them as much as Astrid does but he's happy for them and it's pleased that they are so fond of his own children, likes that they share so many moments together.
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Old 02-21-2022, 04:45 PM
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I have to say the preview and the talks we had here on the forum before the documentary aired concerned me a little bit, but it was a superb documentary extremely well done and completely honest, considering that some of the topic could be tricky to talk about in front of a camera knowing the entire Nation will be watching (if not the world).
It was great to see how, despite all the issues they had, they are really fighting to be a united family. It is difficult of course, but that is difficult for everyone these days, even for us commoners.
It was good to see the the grandkids spending time together with their grandparents, even though it is quite apparent that Laurent's children seems the closest to Paola and Albert (it helps clearly that their mother is so close to Paola, ça va sans dire).

It was heartwarming to see Philippe commenting about is parents, knowing how much he suffered from the bad parenting and the marriage crisis. He is happy for them, he is happy that his parents managed to make things work and are trying now to spend time with the kids at least. Maybe he can't express his feeling or affection for his parents openly or fully like his sister, but you could tell in the clip where they're watching the old photos together that he is more at ease with them and there's a certain natural bond with his mother. And maybe age and "kingship" is now giving all three of them a common ground to work with.
As for Mathilde, she respects her mother in law but they're so different I don't expect them to be "friends"..plus I think their respective roles will always keep them apart.
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  #124  
Old 02-23-2022, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marchesina View Post
I have to say the preview and the talks we had here on the forum before the documentary aired concerned me a little bit, but it was a superb documentary extremely well done and completely honest, considering that some of the topic could be tricky to talk about in front of a camera knowing the entire Nation will be watching (if not the world).
It was great to see how, despite all the issues they had, they are really fighting to be a united family. It is difficult of course, but that is difficult for everyone these days, even for us commoners.
It was good to see the the grandkids spending time together with their grandparents, even though it is quite apparent that Laurent's children seems the closest to Paola and Albert (it helps clearly that their mother is so close to Paola, ça va sans dire).

It was heartwarming to see Philippe commenting about is parents, knowing how much he suffered from the bad parenting and the marriage crisis. He is happy for them, he is happy that his parents managed to make things work and are trying now to spend time with the kids at least. Maybe he can't express his feeling or affection for his parents openly or fully like his sister, but you could tell in the clip where they're watching the old photos together that he is more at ease with them and there's a certain natural bond with his mother. And maybe age and "kingship" is now giving all three of them a common ground to work with.
As for Mathilde, she respects her mother in law but they're so different I don't expect them to be "friends"..plus I think their respective roles will always keep them apart.
I think Claire is very easy going (that's why she has been married to Laurent for so long ) while both Paola and Mathilde seem to be very headstrong women, so it's logical that they would kinda "clash" that way, both probably want things to be done their way but they both understand what their position is and work towards the best of the royal household. That's enough IMO.

I can only imagine the kind of character Elisabeth is , with those genetics she would have surely inherited two things: beauty and stubborness

Not a bad combination for a future queen regnant
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