Prince Albert, heir-presumptive to the Belgian throne, took his bride-to-be, Italian Princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria June 7 to meet the people of Belgium.
Prince Albert, heir-presumptive to the Belgian throne, took his bride-to-be, Italian Princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria June 7 to meet the people of Belgium. VISNEWS filmed as the crowds of Brussels gave them a Royal welcome on their eight-mile drive from Laiken Place to Brussels Town Hall. The couple stopped at the Queen Astrid and King Albert Memorials where Princess Paola laid wreaths.
Scheduled to take 45 minutes the drive lasted an hour and three quarters. Crowds, two and three deep along the whole router, cheered as the beautiful princess, wearing a simple eggshell white-pleated frock and chaplet of red flower instead of a hat, laughed and raised both hands to acknowledge the enthusiastic ovation. From windows and the crowd, bouquets of flowers were thrown into the royal car.
From the 15-Century City Fall's balcony decked with historic red and gold tapestries, the Prince and Princess greeted the people. Then followed clog-dancing and stilt-walking in the square below, the crowds chanting: "Vive La Princess Timidite"-- they call her the Shy Princess.
From this ecstatic reception it was hard to believe that only a few days ago Princess Paola threw Belgium into the middle of a royal crisis. The announcement that she and Prince Albert were to marry in the Vatican shook the Government, who demanded the wedding ceremonies, both civil and religious, should take place in Belgium as laid down by the constitution. The outcry was followed by a swift change of plans and now the couple will marry Jul 2 in Brussels.