In April 2008, during a segment of the VTM programme Het Nieuws, Queen Fabiola of Belgium was recorded speaking for the first time about the five miscarriages that she experienced. From 1960 until his death in 1993, Fabiola was the wife and queen consort of King Baudouin of the Belgians. She stated that her losses did not make her bitter: "I lost five children, but I've learned to live with it. On the contrary, you learn from the experience. I had problems with each pregnancy, but in the end I kept thinking that life is beautiful."
|King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgian at the Vatican, June 1961.|
|Newspaper headline from 9 June 1961.|
|Newspaper headline from 26 June 1961.|
Queen Fabiola learned of her second pregnancy in February 1962. A physician in Lausanne was consulted; the reply of Swiss gynaecologist Professor Rochat must have been devastating to the queen: "Owing to a physiological defect you have only a ten percent chance of carrying a baby to full term, and barely a five percent chance of surviving the birth." In May 1962, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands celebrated their silver wedding anniversary, and Baudouin and Fabiola were among the guests. Amsterdam newspaper Vrije Volk wrote that the Belgian queen was expecting. A palace spokesperson in Brussels, when asked about the veracity of the report, stated: "I would say no. It is true that the queen is avoiding strenuous engagements." In June, the pregnancy ended in miscarriage.
In March 1966, Fabiola and Baudouin discovered that they were expecting a child. The couple visited Pope Paul VI to receive his blessing over their fourth pregnancy. On Friday, 8 July 1966, the royal court announced that the queen was with child. The birth was expected in the winter of that year. In view of the queen's medical history, "appropriate reservations" were cautioned to be made about the outcome. King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola wished to share their hopes with the Belgian people. Acting on the advice of doctors, all of the queen's public engagements were cancelled. Sadly, on Sunday, 10 July 1966, Queen Fabiola was admitted to hospital in Brussels, where she underwent emergency surgery. Two days after the court announced that Fabiola was with child, it was confirmed that the queen had suffered a miscarriage as a result of an extra-uterine pregnancy. The baby had died in her womb. Fabiola was thirty-eight years-old.
|Newspaper headline from 26 February 1968.|
The king and queen were strengthened in their sorrows by their strong Roman Catholic faith. Baudouin and Fabiola poured affection and guidance into the lives of their nephews and nieces. The royal couple became resolved to act as parental figures for all of the children of Belgium.