Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Join Portuguese President for Pilgrimage

Photo: Lex Kleren / Luxemburger Wort /
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa privately prolonged his stay in the Grand Duchy following the state visit to take part in the  pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Fátima above Wiltz, in the northern part of Luxembourg. He was accompanied by Grand Duke Henri (in the most Portugal-coloured tie you will ever find) and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa for the occasion. The Grand Duchess offered the flowers she received upon her arrival as a gift to the statue of Our Lady of Fátima.
Photo: Domingos Oliveira / RTL /
Each year on Ascension Thursday in Wiltz, tens of thousands of people pay homage to Our Lady of Fátima, the Virgin Mary who appeared six times in 1917 to three children in Fátima, a small village in central Portugal. Two of the children, of course, were recently canonised by the Catholic Church. The shrine of Our Lady of Fátima above Wiltz was set up in 1951 by a group of local parishioners, who, having taken refuge in a cave during the Battle of the Ardennes in the winter of 1944-45, promised to erect a sanctuary after the war if they survived unharmed. It was officially inaugurated on July 13, 1952.
Photo: Domingos Oliveira / RTL /
The first official pilgrimage to the sanctuary was made more than 15 years later by about a hundred people, almost exclusively from the Portuguese community who had migrated to Luxembourg in the 1960s. It has since grown to about 20,000 pilgrims each year. While this year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to the children of Fátima, the pilgrimage in Wiltz took place for the 50th time. It remains especially popular with people of Portuguese ancestry living in Luxembourg, which make up an estimated 120,000 of the 550,000 people living in the Grand Duchy. 

Pictures and video at Wort, Contacto and RTL.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Second Day of Portuguese State Visit to Luxembourg

Today was the second day of the Portuguese state visit to the Grand Duchy. (For the daytime activities of Day 1, have a look here; for the glittering end of the day, here.) We will conveniently only cover the grand ducal related parts of the state visit by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. For a full intinerary (in French), have a look here.
Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
This morning, Grand Duke Henri and his guest from Portugal visited Château de Betzdorf. Once a home of the Grand Ducal Family and actually birthplace of Luxembourg's head of state, the castle now is the headquarters of SES, a satellite communication services company. After a brief presentation of the company's activities, the heads of state visited the Satellite Control Center. The visit of SES ended with a meeting of the President of the Portuguese Republic with employees of Portuguese nationality.
Photo: SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
President Rebelo de Sousa was then accompanied for several events by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel before being joined by the Grand Duke for a visit to Esch-Belval. Belval is a former brownfield turned scientific and cultural center, hosting the scientific academy of the Université de Luxembourg as well as Rockhal, the Grand Duchy's largest music venue. At the "City of Science", they got a presentation on urban planning and the urban design concept of a blast furnaces terrace.
Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
At the House of Knowledge, the President and the Grand Duke were welcomed by Romain Martin, Vice-President of the University of Luxembourg, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Educational Sciences, Georg Mein. After a presentation by the University of Luxembourg, a cooperation agreement was signed between the universities of Luxembourg and Porto. In addition, President Rebelo de Sousa had the chance to meet with Portuguese people and Luxembourgers of Portuguese ancestry studying in Luxembourg.
Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
Back in town, the Grand Duke and the Portuguese President were joined by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa for a visit to the National Museum of History and Art for a guided tour of the exhibition "Portugal - Drawing the World". They also visited the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, where they were welcomed by the Archbishop of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Hollerich, the Bishop of Faro, Manuel Neto Quintas, and the Bishop of Bragança-Miranda, José Manuel Cordeiro.
Photo: Mathieu Cugnot / EPA
The day ended with the traditional return dinner given by the President of Portugal for his hosts. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (in Paule Ka) were also present for the reception and Baroque concert of the Casa da Música at the Salle de musique de chambre. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa likely wore Yves Dooms once again plus, more importantly, parts of the citrine or topaz parure.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tiara Watch: State Banquet for Portuguese President

Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess are hosting Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for a state visit this week. After a pub crawl last night and an action-packed first day, it was time for the traditional state banquet this evening. Naturally, a state banquet is always one of our favourite parts of any state visit as it brings out sparkling tiaras, gowns and dashing gentlemen! Speaking of, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie also joined the occasion.
Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, said to be wearing Yves Dooms, opted for the Belgian Scroll Tiara, one of the several major diamond necklaces of the Grand Ducal Family and pearl earrings that have been in the family for decades. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie chose her own Diamond Butterfly Tiara to go along with matching diamond earrings and a diamond brooch of the Nassau family. I know that the Butterfly Tiara is her personal property and likely thus has sentimental value attached to it, however, I wish she would have gone for something more substantial from the grand ducal tiara vaults. If your father-in-law has such a great collection it his disposal, why go for such a minor piece for the seemingly gazillionth time? Le sigh.
Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
To give you a run-down of the variety of sashs on display: While the Portuguese President received Luxembourg's highest order, the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, the members of the Grand Ducal Family received various Portuguese orders. The Order of Liberty for Grand Duke Henri, the Order of Prince Henry for Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, what looks like the Order of Aviz for Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and the Order of Merit for Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. The Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duke also wore the medal of the Gold Lion.

The Annual Haberler Conference in Liechtenstein

Photo: Sebastian Albrich / Volksblatt /
It's Haberler time again! The 13th annual Gottfried von Haberler Conference opened on Friday at the University of Liechtenstein, with Prince Michael confirmed in attendance. (It's also likely that Prince Philipp, Prince Hans-Adam, and/or Prince Nikolaus were there, as all have attended in previous years.) Focusing on the theme of "Gefahr staatlicher Eingriffe" (or "danger of state intervention"), the event was dedicated to the Nobel-winning economist Friedrich von Hayek and one-time Austrian Finance Minister Joseph Schumpeter, both students of the Austrian school of economics.

In this context, Prince Michael spoke about the risks of further investment bubbles and the potential for artificial movements in market and consumer activity: "Staatliche Interventionen bergen die Gefahr, den Wettbewerb zu verzerren und dieses wichtige Korrektiv auszuschalten" ("State interventions pose the risk of distorting competition and eliminating this important corrective").

We'll update if we find out any of the others were in attendance as well.

A little more from Volksblatt.

State Visit From Portugal, Day 1: Pub Crawls, a Beautiful Balcony and More

Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
Today was the first day of the state visit of the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to Luxembourg. The President already arrived to the Grand Duchy last night and Grand Duke Henri took him out for a few beers. Tageblatt has a video of the pub crawl. It's probably no surprise that the Portuguese President felt right at home in Luxembourg: An estimated 120,000 of the 550,000 people living in the Grand Duchy were either born in Portugal or are of Portuguese ancestry - and I guess the Grand Duke himself doesn't actually count into the statistic but he, of course, has two Portuguese great-grandmothers as well.
Photo: SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
The official part of the state visit started with the official welcome of President Rebelo de Sousa by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa in front of the palais in the morning. This was followed by military honours, national anthems, a review of troops and the presentation of the respective delegations. Inside the palais, the guest from Portugal and his hosts were joined by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie for a photo opportunity and the traditional exchange of gifts. 
Photo: SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
Subsequently, President Rebelo de Sousa and his delegation went solo for a while to lay a wreath of flowers and hold several meetings. He was afterwards joined by the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess for a visit to the Corniche, a.k.a. "the most beautiful balcony of Europe". Next on the agenda was a private luncheon attended by the President and the four members of the Grand Ducal Family previously mentioned. Together with Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, the Portuguese guest also visited the Hôtel de Ville of Luxembourg City, where they were greeted by mayor Lydie Polfer, for an academic session.
Also on the agenda for this evening is the gala dinner. Keep your fingers crossed for some major tiara sparkle. On the fashion front, I can already tell you that Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wore Belgian couturier Yves Dooms for the day (both outfits). To keep yourself entertained until gala dinner pictures are in, have a look at the government website, Wort and RTL.

Henri Sends Letter of Condolence for Manchester

Grand Duke Henri has sent a letter of condolence for the recent attack in Manchester. The text of the letter is below:

Your Majesty,

It is with great pain that the Grand Duchess and I have learned of the tragedy that occurred in Manchester last night. We are particularly horrified to learn that so many young people were present and are counted amongst the victims and the wounded.

The Luxembourg people join us in expressing to Your Majesty our most heartfelt sympathy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Monday, May 22, 2017

Henri Receives the President of the German Bundestag

Photo: © 2017 Cour grand-ducale / tous droits réservés
On the 22nd, Grand Duke Henri received in audience Dr. Norbert Lammert, the President of the Bundestag, which is one of the legislative bodies in Germany. Dr. Lammert is the 12th President of the Bundestag and has held the position since 2005, although he announced last fall that he would be resigning from politics at the end of the term.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Grand Ducal Family Celebrates Closing of the Octave

Photo: Laurent Blum / Luxemburger Wort /
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, as well as Prince Félix and Princess Claire were on hand for the closing procession of the Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg, Maria Mater Jesu, Consolatrix Afflictorum, Patrona Civitatis et Patriae Luxemburgensis (or "Mary, Mother Jesus, Consoler of the Afflicted, Patroness of the City and Country of Luxembourg" in case you need to brush up on your Latin) today. (Not sure what that is? Have a look at our Luxarazzi 101.)

Photo: Laurent Blum / Luxemburger Wort /
Already this morning, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess attended a pontifical mass at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame before being joined by their two oldest sons and their wives for the procession leading them from the Cathédrale via the rue Notre-Dame, the rue Philippe II, the avenue de la Porte-Neuve, the rue Beaumont, the rue des Capucins, the Grand-rue, the rue du Marché-aux-Herbes in front of the palais grand ducal, where they stopped for the Eucharistic blessings, and the rue de l’Eau back to the cathedral.

As always, the Grand Ducal Family were joined, or rather joined, thousands of other pilgrims both from Luxembourg and abroad for the Grand Duchy's most important religious celebrations celebrated since the 17th century. After the end of the procession and a concluding mass at the Cathédrale, the Grand Ducal Family made their traditional balcony of the year. The adult members of the family in attendance were joined by Princess Amalia and Prince Liam, children of Prince Félix and Princess Claire, to give a royal wave to the crowds.

While we will give you a proper fashion run-down in this week's edition of Fashion Friday, we can already tell you that Princess Claire wore a dress by Beulah London and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie sported a fascinator by Les Folie's Bibis. Read about the designer Sylvia Martinez' inspiration behind that hat in our interview with her. Also make sure to check out Wort and RTL for more pictures of the day.

Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Attend Pontifical Mass for Closing of the Octave

Photo: René Scho / RTL /
Today is the fifth Sunday after Easter and so it is once again time for one of the Grand Duchy's major events of the year: the closing of the Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg, Comforter of the Afflicted. ("What's that", you may ask - we conveniently explain everything to you in this Luxarazzi 101.) 

This afternoon will see a grand procession to mark the religious celebrations that is the closing of the Octave. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, as well as Prince Félix and Princess Claire are all confirmed to attend. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we will also see Amalia and Liam for the traditional balcony appearance.

This morning, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess attended the equally traditional pontifical mass at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame to kick off the closing celebrations. Expect an upgraded dress code also featuring hats this afternoon. RTL has more pictures of the morning and a continues livestream.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Henri and Maria Teresa Attend Academic Session for CNDS

Photo: © Cour grand-ducale / Didier Sylvestre / tous droits réservés
On the 19th, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa attended an academic session honoring the 50th anniversary of the Comité National de Défense Sociale (CNDS). The organization focuses on providing financial, educational, and social support to singles and families in need. This support ranges from immediate financial assistance to housing options to job searches and/or training opportunities for those seeking return to work.

More photos from the Cour.