Taking a look at Princess Maria Laura of Belgium

maria laura belgium
Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Princess Maria Laura of Belgium was born on 26 August 1988 as the second child and eldest daughter of Princess Astrid of Belgium and Prince Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este. In 1991, Belgium changed their succession laws from salic to absolute primogeniture, which meant that Maria Laura took her place in the line of succession behind her mother and elder brother Amedeo. A royal decree dating 2 December 1991 also granted the title of Prince(ss) to all descendants of King Albert II, which included Maria Laura.1 Thus, Maria Laura wasn’t born a Princess of Belgium, but in 1991, she suddenly found herself a Princess and fifth in the line of succession.

Three more siblings joined the family: Prince Joachim (born 1991), Princess Luisa Maria (born 1995) and Laetitia Maria (born 2003). Her mother, who had trouble learning Dutch, placed her children in a Dutch-language school in Brussels. A shy and unassuming child, she was reportedly taunted with a nickname after a famous alien. However, Maria Laura fought back by being a good student, and she attended the International School in Waterloo for her final years of high school. On 8 September 2005, her school bus was involved in an accident, but none of the students were harmed, despite the bus completely being burned.

As she emerged from childhood, she became a confident young woman with a sense of style. She is known for going through her mother’s closet and also that of her aunt Queen Fabiola. After graduating from high school, Maria Laura went to Paris to study Chinese at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales. She later also attended the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where she shared an apartment with her brother. She eventually introduced him to his now wife – Elisabetta. After several internships, she started a master’s program in Political Science at the School of Oriental and African Studies. After graduating, she began working for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as a financial analyst. She kept in touch with her aunt Princess Esmeralda, who also lives in London.

In December 2021, Maria Laura announced her engagement to the French-born William Isvy. Her engagement ring is a round sapphire surrounded by diamonds. William is an asset manager at a London firm, where the couple has lived together for a few years. She officially received permission to marry on 31 January 2022 from her uncle King Philippe – this is necessary to retain her place in the line of succession. She is currently 9th in the line of succession.

The wedding will take place today at the Cathedral of St Michel and St Gudula in Brussels.2

  1. This royal decree was amended again in 2015, limiting the title of Prince(ss) to the children and grandchildren of the reigning monarch and the children and grandchildren of the Crown Prince(ss).
  2. Read more: Prinsessen van België by Brigitte Balfoort p.99-105

About Moniek Bloks 2743 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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