Friday, May 21, 2021

The Six Siblings of Queen Paola of Belgium

Surrounded by her six elder children, Donna Luisa Ruffo di Calabria is pictured holding her seventh child and fourth daughter Paola.

The future Queen Paola of Belgium was born as Donna Paola Margherita Maria Antonia Consiglia Ruffo di Calabria on 11 September 1937 as the seventh and last child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria (1884-1946) and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana (1896-1989), who married in 1919. Paola was not yet nine years old when her father Fulco died on 23 August 1946. In 1959, Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria married Prince Albert of Belgium. After the death of her brother-in-law King Baudouin, Paola became Queen of Belgium when her husband Albert succeeded to the throne as King Albert II. Albert abdicated in 2013, after a reign of twenty years. 

Donna Maria Cristina Ruffo di Calabria (1920-2003)

Princess Alix Napoléon, Prince Louis Napoléon, Princess Catherine Napoléon, Nicolò San Martino d'Aglie, Donna Maria Cristina Ruffo di Calabria, Casimiro San Martino d'Agliè, Prangins, 1974. 
Donna Maria Cristina Laura Ruffo di Calabria was born on 25 May 1920 at Rome. She was the first child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. On 10 June 1940 at Rome, Maria Cristina married Casimiro San Martino d'Agliè Marchese di Fontanetto con San Germano (1903-1988). The couple had five children: Antonella (b.1943; married Ippolito Calvi, dei Conti di Bergolo), Emanuella (b.1944; married Conte Ernesto Rossi di Montelera), Giovanna (b.1945; married and divorced Principe Don Alvaro-Jaime de Orléans y Parodi Delfino), Nicolò (b.1948; married and divorced Princess Catherine Napoléon; married Nobile Anna Maria Gazzana Priaroggia), and Filippo (b.1953; married Cristina Flesia). Aged eighty-three, Donna Maria Cristina Laura Ruffo di Calabria died on 11 September 2003 at the Castello di San Martino near Alfieri. 

Donna Laura Ruffo di Calabria (1921-1972)

Laura Ruffo di Calabria with her sister Paola and her brother Antonello, Milan, 1941.
Photograph (c) Rue des Archives/Granger.
Donn Laura Maria Rufina Ruffo di Calabria was born on 31 May 1921 at Rome. She was the second daughter and second child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. On 20 May 1946 at Rome, Laura married Barone Bettino Ricasoli Firidolfi Zanchini Marsuppini Acciauoli Salviati (1922-2009). The couple had four children: Andrea (1948-1982), Luisa (b.1950; married Carlo Lodovico Bicocchi), Maria Teresa (b.1954; married Roberto Giunta), and Giovanni (b.1956; married Eva Holmstrom). Aged fifty-one, Donna Laura Ruffo di Calabria died at Florence on 24 September 1972.

Principe Don Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria (1922-2005)

Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria and his second wife Luisa Cristina Carbajo, Rome, 1990.
Photograph (c) Marcellino Fernando Radogna.
Don Fabrizio Beniamino Ruffo di Calabria was born on 6 December 1922 at Rome. He was the first son and third child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. On 5 October 1953 at Turin, Fabrizio married Maria Elisabetta Vaciago (b.1933), the daughter of Giovanni Vaciago and Adelaide Seymandi. The couple had five children: Don Fulco (b.1954; married and divorced Melba Vincens Bello; married Luisa Tricarico), Don Augusto (b.1955; married Princess Christiana zu Windisch-Graetz), Donna Imara (b.1958; married and divorced Uberto Gasche; married Marco dei Conti Tonci Ottieri della Ciaja), Don Umberto (b.1960; married Leontina Pallavicino), and Don Alessandro (b.1964; married and divorced Princess Mafalda of Savoy-Aosta; married Marzia Palau). Fabrizio and Maria Elisabetta divorced in 1988. In 1991, Fabrizio remarried Luisa "Liesel" Cristina Carbajo (b.1942). Aged eighty-two, Principe Don Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria died on 11 October 2005 at Rome. 

Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria (1925-1943)

Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria was born on 28 August 1925 at Rome. He was the second son and fourth child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. Aged eighteen, Augusto was killed in action during World War II on 2 November 1943 at Mare di Pescara. Augusto died during a naval battle, and his body was never recovered.

Donna Giovannella Ruffo di Calabria (1927-1941)

Donna Giovannella Ruffo di Calabria was born on 16 April 1927 at Rome. She was the third son and fifth child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. Aged fourteen, Giovannella died from food poisoning on 15 May 1941 at Rome. 

Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria (1930-2017)
Antonello Ruffo di Calabria and Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca, 1961.

Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria was born on 31 May 1930 at Rome. He was the third son and sixth child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. When he turned eighteen, Antonello decided against military service, and, instead, set off to travel the world - he remained a passionate traveler and lover of nature. On 4 January 1961, Antonello married Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca (b.1943), the daughter of Giuseppe Mastrogiovanni Tasca, Conte d'Almerita, and Francesca Paola Cammarata de Seta. The couple had four children: Donna Covella (b.1962), Don Lucio (b.1964), Donna Domitilla (b.1965; married Don Giovanni dei Baroni Porcari Li Destri), and Donna Claudia (b.1969; married Marcello Salom). After his divorce from Rosa in 1978, Antonello remarried to Sylviane Sapir. The couple had one child, a daughter: Donna Valentina (b.1994). Aged eighty-seven, Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria died at Rome on 24 August 2017. He was the last surviving sibling of Queen Paola.

To learn more about Don Antonello, you can read this article from Vanity Fair Spain: ANTONELLO RUFFO DI CALABRIA, ADIÓS AL PRÍNCIPE IRREVERENTE

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