Paola was absolutely stunning and she doesn't look happy now.
Paola herself says that she is much happier today, especially in her role as a grandmother. Btw, her grandchildren call her "Grandma Lita" while Albert is "Grandpa Tino".
Perhaps I wasn't paying that much attention to the Belgians back in the 60s and 70s, but I always had the impression that the Belgian royal family was best characterized by its extreme piety. So, frankly, the stories of Paola's infidelity are a little shocking to me. Wow!
Albert and Paola were estranged for many years. They fell in love and married rather quickly. They wanted a wedding in the Vatican but the Belgian government refused so they had to get married in Belgium. Paola was only 21 when she married and often fell homesick. Their wedding apparently was the first big television event in Belgium and after her wedding Paola became THE Belgian style icon and was thus followed by paparazzi at all times (even on their honeymoon). Afterwards they had their children in rather quick succession. Paola often felt very lonely in Belgium and didn't hide it, much to the annoyance of Queen Fabiola. Although she enjoyed the glamorous part of being a princess, she also found her life to be difficult and heavy and that the price she had to pay for the good aspects was too much.
In the 60's Albert started to travel a lot for economic missions and such, at first Paola accompanied him to the point that their children reportedly felt alienated. As Paola was also bored by the travels, she decided to stay in Belgium and thus they grew apart even more. While Albert performed his duties both at home and abroad, Paola started to spend a lot of time in Italy. By the mid-sixties or so, rumours started to get around that both Albert and Paola had extramarital affairs. Albert, e.g., with Barones Sybille de Selys-Longchamps, the mother of his said to be daughter Delphine, and it is said that Salvatore Adamo was one of Paola's lovers, he was a singer and even wrote a song about her called "Dolce Paola" - http://www.youtube.com/wa...rLwtA&feature=related
. There have always been rumours that Laurent isn't Albert's son.
Though they played the happy family for public events, behind the doors the divorce papers were drawn up, which must mean something to two Catholics that only a couple of years before wanted to get married in front of the Pope. King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola, both very devout Catholics, strongly opposed the divorce and thus Albert and Paola stayed married for many years while leading largely seperate lives. Ironicly, when the Baudouin and Fabiola would finally agree to divorce, Albert and Paola had fallen in love all over again. Some say Baudouin acted as a mediator or that their daughter Astrid, who was strongly opposed to her parents splitting as she is another devout Catholic, may have played a role, I guess we will never know.
A few years ago Paola admitted that they had their fair share of difficulties but that today they know that they are made for each other.