Belgium’s former queen Fabiola has died at the age of 86.
A page in our country's history has turned.
C'est avec très grande tristesse que nous annonçons le décès de Sa Majesté la Reine Fabiola survenu ce soir au Château du Stuyvenberg à Bxl— Belgian Royal Palace (@MonarchieBe) December 5, 2014
In a statement the Royal Palace said it was with great sadness that they had to announce the death of Her Majesty, Queen Fabiola, Friday evening at Stuyvenberg castle. Though no cause of death was indicated.
The Spanish-born monarch had been suffering from ill-health for some time, her breathing having never recovered from a lung infection in 2009.
She faced criticism last year over plans to pass on an estate in Spain to relatives via a trust to avoid paying tax. It led the government to cut allowances to the royal family, and forcing them to start paying taxes.
She became queen when she married King Baudouin in 1960, and remained Queen consort until his death in 1993.
Although largely retiring from public life, she remained interested in humanitarian causes and was awarded for her work with rural women in developing countries in 2001.
Reacting to the news Belgium’s Foreign Minister said ‘a page in our country’s history has turned.’
The Scandinavian Royals took to twitter to express their sadness.
It is with great sadness that we heard about the death of Queen Fabiola of Belgiums. May she rest in peace. Our condolences to
MonarchieBe</a></p>— Scandinavian Royals. (crownprincely) December 5, 2014
Belgians also mourned their former queen on social media.
A sad day fr our nation Belgium We lost A Woman of substance charisma A heart on its own Queen Fabiola of Belgium pic.twitter.com/2KOAZqXwL3— AU BOUQUETROMAIN (@AUBOUQUETROMAIN) December 5, 2014
Queen Fabiola just joined King Baudouin…— frederic herzeele (@fherzeele) December 5, 2014