Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Prince Alexander and Princess Astrid in Berlin

Photo: AEDT
Some rare news... Back in June, Prince Alexander, oldest son of Prince Philipp of Liechtenstein, and his wife Princess Astrid were among the guests at the International Council Museum Berggruen Dinner at the Great Orangery of Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin. The Museum Berggruen is a collection of modern art classics featuring works by Klee, Picasso and Matisse.

National Day Celebrations Continued (Plus Photos and Videos)

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
While the rest of the (Catholic) world observed the Feast of Assumption of the Virgin Mary today, the Principality of Liechtenstein celebrated their National Day. After the state ceremony and reception this morning, the traditional fair was held in the afternoon and evening in Vaduz with members of the Princely Family in attendance. At least Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie mingled with the people with the Hereditary Prince also giving an interview. The usual fireworks were cancelled this year in favour of a new laser show with projections onto Schloss Vaduz due to the current weather conditions.
Photos: Tatjana Schnalzger / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
In not totally unrelated news (as we only see them about once a year): Prince Nikolaus is looking all grown up, allowed to drink beer and now officially taller than big bro Prince Wenzel. Time flies (and yes, I do sound like my own grandma)!
Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Also spotted in Vaduz today: An almost Habsburg. Severin Meister, son of Archduchess Gabriela of Austria and grandson of Otto von Habsburg, the last Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, chatted to Hereditary Princess Sophie.
Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.l
Plentiful galleries of pictures of this morning are available at both Vaterland and Volksblatt. Volksblatt also has a lengthy video interview with Prince Hans-Adam II. 1 FL TV has a video of Hereditary Prince Alois' full speech during the state ceremony as well as a news broadcast including interviews with Prince Hans-Adam and Hereditary Prince Alois. More videos (and probably pictures) to come in the coming days. Photos of the fair - though very little of the royals - meanwhile are available at Vaterland.

Liechtenstein Celebrates National Day

Photos: Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
It's that time of the year again! The Princely Family is back from their annual summer break in time to celebrate the Principality's National Day. As always, pictures of the day are slightly hard to come by but we will do our best with further updates to come during the course of the week as it usually takes a while for all websites to be updated. 
As is tradition, the National Day celebrations kicked off with the state ceremony on the castle meadow next to Schloss Vaduz. Thus far we could spy that the Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie as well as their sons Princes Wenzel and Nikolaus were in attendance for the day. During the course of the act of state, both the president of the parliament as well as the Hereditary Prince, who is his father's regent, held speeches.

After the official celebrations are over, the Prince and Princess traditionally invite the people of Liechtenstein, and everyone else who wants to join them, into the rose gardens of Schloss Vaduz. For the second year in a row, tickets for the event were supplied in advance to limit access to the garden with the reason being that the reception had been so crowded during recent years that regular Liechtensteiners hardly had a chance to speak to their Fürst and his family due to many foreigners also trying to meet the royals. Our special correspondent Arjan was very lucky that he went to Liechtenstein two years ago and so you can read his full report here.

For the time being, a few more visuals are available at Vaterland.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Grand Ducal Couple Welcome French Presidential Couple

On the evening of the 12th, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa welcomed French President Emmanuel and his wife Brigitte for dinner at their vacation property near Fort de Brégançon. This follows a tradition dating from 1945, in which the French head of state dines with neighbors (so to speak) -- heads of state from nearby nations and other dignitaries -- while staying at Fort de Brégançon.

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were first received by the French Presidential couple, after which they made their way to Tour Sarrazine. The two couples apparently traveled by electric vehicles, a reflection of the Grand Duke's focus on the environment.

More information at Europe 1.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New Pictures: The Grand Ducal Family on Holiday

Photos: Cour grand-ducale / Cyril Moreau / Bestimage
The cour grand-ducal has released a few pictures of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Grand Duke Jean, Prince Jean, his daughter Princess Marie-Gabrielle, her husband Antonius Willms and their son Zeno on holiday in Cabasson. What a lovely surprise to bring us over the summer break, let's hope for some additional pictures of more extended family members in the weeks to come!



Sunday, August 5, 2018

Luxarazzi 101: Prince Consort Felix - Early Years

He was the longest serving consort of Luxembourg, as well as the first and only person who has married a reigning monarch of the Grand Duchy. Today we begin the first in a four-part series about the Luxembourg's first - and to this date only - male consort, Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

Bourbon-Parma family c. 1894
Felix is the baby in the center of the photo
Felix was born on September 28, 1893, in Schwarzau am Steinfeld, Austria, near the border of what is today the Czech Republic. He was the sixth child of Robert, the deposed Duke of Parma, by his second wife Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal. Robert claimed descent from both the French and Italian royal families. The couple had a total of twelve children in addition to the twelve Robert had with his first wife Maria Pia, an Italian princess. The large family made their home at a string of various properties in Austria, France, and Italy. Though his father considered the family first and foremost French, Felix and his siblings grew up speaking Italian, French, Portuguese, English, German, and Spanish, a reflection of their mixed lineage and cosmopolitan upbringing. 

Felix as a soldier during
the First World War
Felix was born into a family notable not only for its size, but also its wealth – Robert was able to retain a great deal of his capital and properties despite the loss of his ducal throne. The family moved among the various homes via a personal train with sixteen coaches carrying their belongings. Several of Felix’s half-siblings were born with mental disabilities, which later caused legal battles among his siblings over the control of power and money within the family. 

The sibling closest in age to Felix was Zita, who later became the last Austrian Empress. Among his other siblings and half-siblings were Maria Luisa, princess consort of Bulgaria; Xavier, Carlist pretender to the Spanish throne; and Sixtus, the engineer of a failed attempt at peace negotiations during World War I. Felix also descended from the Portuguese royal family through his mother. Maria Antonia was the sister of Maria Ana, the consort of Grand Duke Wilhelm IV of Luxembourg. This gave Felix and his siblings many cousins, including Wilhelm’s six daughters. Duke Robert died in November 1907, shortly after Felix’s fourteenth birthday.

Felix was educated together with his siblings at home by various private tutors. At the age of ten, he was sent to Stella Matutina, a Jesuit school in Feldkirch. He continued his education in Brixen (Tyrol) where he lived with the Countess Kinsky, at a Jesuit school in Vienna before receiving his Matura certificate at a school in Mödling, Lower Austria. Afterwards, Felix was sent to England where he attended Stonyhurst College to prepare for his future university studies. Felix intended to attend Oxford University but during his summer holidays in Austria, World War I broke out.

Prince Felix in 1917
Felix then attended the Viennese Military Academy before enlisting in the Austrian Army as "Felix Bourbon" with his brother René at the outbreak of the war. He served as an officer in the Austrian 15th Dragoons, seeing combat mostly in Italy. The war divided the family, as at least two of Felix’s brothers served in the Belgian Army. From the outset of the war, Felix stated that while he had no fears of combat he would not fight against the French, whom he considered his countrymen. 

Felix was noted by his fellow soldiers for his competent command and brave service, earning both the Medal for Bravery and the Iron Cross. In 1918, he saved the Austrian Emperor (Karl, his brother-in-law) from drowning after Karl's boat capsized in the fast-moving Isonzo river. While several man drowned, Felix held the Emperor's head above the water so both could be pulled back to safety. While receiving a medal for his bravery, he did not like discussing the incident for the rest of life considering it his natural duty. Felix officially left the Austrian Army on November 5, 1918, shortly before the signing of the Armistice ending the war.

Despite the great wealth of the Bourbon-Parma family, Felix’s personal holdings were quite modest. This was due to the fact that Robert’s fortune went mostly to his disabled eldest son Enrico, but was controlled by Felix’s half-brother Elias. As a younger son, Felix had little inheritance or political power, forcing him to make his way through life by his own means. 

Felix and Charlotte
at the time of their engagement
Felix had long been close to his cousin Charlotte, of whom he was two years older. The exact circumstances of courtship and date of the actual engagement between Charlotte and Felix are unclear. The union may have been at least partially engineered by the bride's mother Maria Ana; the engagement of Charlotte's sister Antonia to the much older Rupprecht of Bavaria was deeply unpopular with the French due to the war. Although Felix fought with the Axis powers during the war, he had significant and direct ties to French royalty as well. His refusal to fight against French troops may also have helped appease Luxembourgish and French anger toward the marriage. During the war, Prince Felix had made headlines in Luxembourg after a leaked telegram mentioned him as one of the first Austrian to enter the city during the Siege of Przemyśl, the longest siege of World War I. Prince Felix, however, was nowhere near Przemyśl during the time.

There is plenty of indication that Charlotte and Felix also married for love. The two were rumored to have become much closer following the wedding of Felix’s sister Zita and future Emperor Karl of Austria in 1911. The couple may have become engaged during the war, but kept this news quiet due to Felix’s position in the Austrian Army and the German occupation of Luxembourg. Multiple news sources of the time note the engagement as early as 1915. The couple got officially engaged on October 6, 1918, though only their families knew at the time. Pope Benedict XV provided a dispensation in December 1918 allowing the couple to marry. This was necessary as Felix and Charlotte were first cousins.

Following the engagement announcement, Charlotte issued a statement insisting that the marriage was indeed a love match. She made it clear that she was not forced into the engagement by anyone, and that she was interested in marrying only Felix. Felix is noted as requesting permission from the Allied occupiers to visit Charlotte in Luxembourg as early as January 1919. He again requested permission in August 1919, yet he was not allowed to travel to the Grand Duchy until mid October. 

The wedding was formally announced on October 30, 1919, and set to take place at Château de Berg out of concern for possible protests of the marriage based on Felix's war service. However, the couple was persuaded to marry in Luxembourg City instead in hopes of raising the spirits of the people with a grand celebration. The wedding ceremonies marked the first time a reigning sovereign had married within the Grand Duchy and the first large celebration held in the country since the end of the war.

Felix officially became a Prince of Luxembourg on November 5, 1919, as a result of a grand ducal decree secured by a vote within the Chamber of Deputies after some debate. The next morning the civil ceremony was held at the Grand Ducal Palace with Luxembourg City Mayor Jean-Pierre Lucas (Luc) Housse presiding. As was typical for a civil ceremony, the gathering was small, simple, and attended only by a limited group of the couple's immediate family and a few government officials.

The religious wedding was conducted later that day at Notre Dame Cathedral by Monsignor Sebastiano Nicotra, the Papal Nuncio to Luxembourg. Felix's brothers Sixtus and Xavier stood as witnesses to the wedding. While a large crowd of spectators was present outside the cathedral, there were reportedly few cheers when the couple emerged from the cathedral. The occupation of the Grand Duchy by Axis powers during the war clearly still stung in the hearts and minds of the people. Thankfully however, the day did not end on a sour note: during the reception at the Grand Ducal Palace, Felix and Charlotte were called to the balcony several times that evening to greet well-wishers.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Guillaume and Stéphanie Attend Mudam Party

Photo: Thierry Martin / Revue / revue.lu
The Hereditary Grand Ducal couple attended an end-of-season party for Mudam to reflect on the season's exhibits and also focus forward on upcoming projects. The event was hosted by Mudam director Suzanne Cotter, along with the Board of Directors and other members of the Mudam team. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie was in attendance in her role as President of the Board of Directors.

Information from Revue.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Luxarazzi 101: Schloss Hohenburg

One of the homes historically most closely linked with the Grand Ducal Family is actually located nowhere near Luxembourg. This large baroque house situated in Lenggries, Bavaria, belonged to Grand Duke Adolph and his descendants for over 80 years, in which time it was host to countless births, weddings, and celebrations. Today we’ll explore the history of Schloss Hohenburg and its importance as one of main homes of past Luxembourg royalty.

Count Ferdinand Joseph von Herwarth
The current Schloss was built on the grounds of a 12th century castle that was largely destroyed in a fire set by Austrian troops in 1707, although some of the ruins of this original castle still stand on the property. Count Ferdinand Joseph von Herwarth, whose family had owned the land since the mid-16th century, ordered the construction of the present Schloss between 1712 and 1718 using some of the stones from the old castle. The Count also provided the village with a new parish church built with additional stones from the previous castle located on the site. 

Count Ferdinand believed that the design of the Schloss should echo the sturdy beauty of the surrounding mountains, so the home features a rather wide and strong base of three wings drawing three stories up to peaked rooftops and a clocktower, mimicking slopes. Decorative touches on and inside the Schloss included waterspouts shaped as dragons, numerous paintings, sculptures, and ornate light fixtures, many originals of which still adorn the home. The property also features extensive formal gardens that were initially modeled on those of the Palace of Versailles.

The location of the Schloss in Lenggries, a picturesque mountain area just north of the Austrian border, provides a gorgeous backdrop for the property as well as multiple opportunities for outdoor recreation. The dense beech and oak forest surrounding the entrance of estate originally made the home somewhat difficult to find without assistance, therefore lending some privacy to its occupants.  

The Schloss and grounds in about 1750
The Herwarth family owned the estate until the early 19th century, when the last of Ferdinand's heirs died and Schloss Hohenburg and estate were put up for sale. The property had a few short-lived owners before Prince Carl of Leiningen, the older half-brother of Britain's Queen Victoria, bought it in 1836. Carl used the estate as a private hunting retreat and also converted the baroque gardens into the more modern (for the time) English-style gardens.

At the time of Carl's death in 1857, the Schloss and its grounds were in rough condition. Wealthy Munich banker Baron Carl von Eikthal bought the estate for 32,000 guilders - a steal for such an impressive property, but the low price likely reflected its distressed physical condition. The Baron had turned around at least one other property before - a former abbey in the Black Forest that was converted for textile and munitions production. His plans for Schloss Hohenburg were not quite as drastic. Instead, von Eikthal turned the property into a truly working estate with a dairy, brewery, livestock, and an inn.

Adolph of Nassau, who would later go on to become Grand Duke of Luxembourg, was expelled from his Duchy by the Prussians in 1866 as a consequence of siding with Austria in the Austro-Prussia War. Although he was left without a throne, the circumstances of his abdication and exile did provide Adolph with a large cash settlement. Eager to indulge in his favorite pastime of hunting, he bought the Hohenburg estate in 1870 with the intent of using it as a hunting lodge and summer home. Adolph added two large stone statues of deer in the grounds, fitting of the estate serving as his main hunting lodge. The interiors of the Schloss also features the antlers of deer and taxidermied remains of other animals which had been hunted there.

The Schloss in about 1900.
Photo credit: Schlossarchiv Hohenburg
Grand Duke Adolph and Grand Duchess Adelheid-Marie raised their families partly at Schloss Hohenburg, as did Grand Duke Wilhelm IV and his wife Maria Ana. Following her abdication in 1919, their daughter Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide lived at the Schloss with her mother and some of her sisters. Dowager Grand Duchess Maria Ana spent much of her time there after her widowhood until she fled the property for Luxembourg and eventually the United States at the beginning of World War II.

Although the castle and grounds were returned to the Grand Ducal Family at the end of the war, Charlotte decided to sell off all her residences in Germany. In 1953, German electronics businessman Max Grundig bought the Schloss and grounds. He promptly donated the property to the Sisters of the Ursuline Convent of St. Joseph of Landshut, who converted the property from a residence into a Catholic girls' school. The school took in its first pupils in September 1953. Among its students was Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein.

The Schloss today. Photo credit: merkur.de

In addition to the school, the property also houses a trout farm which produces the prized Hohenburger trout. The estate grounds are also popular with cross country skiers and snowshoers.

Births at Schloss Hohenburg:
Princess Antonia (October 7, 1899)
Prince Heinrich of Bavaria (son of Princess Antonia) (March 28, 1922)
Princess Editha of Bavaria (daughter of Princess Antonia) (September 16, 1924)

Weddings at Schloss Hohenburg:
Princess Hilda and Grand Duke Friedrich of Baden (September 20, 1885)
Princess Antonia and Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria (April 7, 1921)
Princess Sophie and Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony (April 12, 1921)
Princess Elisabeth and Prince Ludwig Philipp of Thurn and Taxis (November 14, 1922)



Deaths at Schloss Hohenburg:

Princess Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel (mother of Grand Duchess Adelheid-Marie) (July 28, 1895)
Grand Duke Adolph (November 17, 1905)
Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide (January 24, 1924)
Princess Elisabeth (August 2, 1950)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Prince Sebastien at Buckingham Palace

Photo: Cour grand-ducale / Collection privée
On the 19th, Prince Sebastien participated in the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, as flag-bearer of the 1st Batallion Irish Guards. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were present for the occasion. Prince Jean also served in the Irish Guards during World War II and can be seen in the painting behind the family.

A video and more photos available from Wort.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Funeral of Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma

Grand Duke Henri, Prince Jean and Princess Sibilla were among the mourners at the funeral of Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma on Friday. Prince Michael, a first cousin of Grand Duke Jean, died at Neuilly-sur-Seine on July 7 at the age of 92. The funeral at the Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides in Paris was also attended by an array of other royals, possibly even more members of the extended Grand Ducal Family.