Thursday, June 30, 2011

Here and there

Yesterday was a busy day for the Grand Ducal Family. While the Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaime visited Cimalux, a cement factory in Esch-sur-Alzette and Rumelange, his mother Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa welcomed Dr. Auma Obama, the sister of the US president Barack Obama, and a team of young Kenyan football players at the Palais Grand-Ducale. Photos of the meeting can be found on the official website. Later the same day the Grand Duchess and Grand Duke Henri visited the Centre Hospitalier to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Institut National de Chirurgie Cardiaque et de Cardiologie Interventionnelle - the part of the hospital where the Grand Duke's angioplasty was performed earlier this year. A gallery of pictures of the visit is available on the homepage of the always wonderful Maniel Dias.

Sources:, Cour Grand-Ducale

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Clarification (sort of) on the new succession changes...Princess Alexandra still not in line..

I was doing my usual daily news/blog surf when I saw that Trond Isaksen has written on his blog that the Cour Grand-Ducale informed him that the order of succession remains unchanged by the 20 June 2011 (16 September 2010) decree. It was further noted that the order applies from 20 June 2011 and is not retroactive. The implication of all this is that Princess Alexandra does not occupy the number three place in succession to the throne.

After reading the full text of the decree in connection with the information provided to Mr. Isaksen, it seems that Princess Alexandra and other females remain discriminated against on the basis of gender. Despite the intent of the new changes being to provide gender equality, the new changes to the succession only grant gender neutral rights to the female descendants of The Hereditary Grand Duke, Prince Felix and Prince Sebastien. It also does not appear to grant primogeniture rights to the female descendants of Prince Guillaume (Henri's brother who remains in the line of succession) or his sons. The decree seemingly only applies to future births. No living female has garnered any rights from this action. Hardly a step in the direction of equality.

The Cour Grand-Ducale's interpretation of the decree seems to directly contradict the actual text of the decree. The text of the decree states that any future case of succession would be strictly gender neutral. It also quite clearly states that the order applies to the descendants of The Grand Duke, without specifically excluding the descendants of past sovereigns. Last time I checked, Princess Alexandra was a descendant of Grand Duke Henri. If Guillaume and Felix renounced their rights preceding a marriage that would not receive consent or even failed to produce any legitimate children, the throne would pass to Prince Sebastien not his older sister Princess Alexandra. While it is unlikely that neither Guillaume nor Felix will fail to produce children it remains a very real possibility. One must keep in mind that the fertility of their future wives is also a concern. History is full of cases of third, forth, or fifth children inheriting thrones simply because the older children didn't produce legitimate heirs or predeceased their siblings. History is also full of cases of cousins, nephews and uncles inheriting thrones.

This interpretation shows an extreme lack of foresight. The horrible accident suffered by Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla before Grand Duke Jean's abdication should be evidence that not even the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg is excluded from random tragedy. Not to far away in Belgium, The Grand Duke's late uncle, King Baudouin married a lovely woman. Their marriage remained childless despite many pregnancies. I really don't like the idea of making a supposedly gender neutral succession alteration that skips Princess Alexandra. Particularly, because to be really gender neutral we now require a great deal of hoping and praying that tragedy and fertility issues do not plague her elder brothers and their future families. There is no legal reason to exclude Princess Alexandra. Her younger brother has probably never even entertained the possibility that he would become Grand Duke. This exclusion of Princess Alexandra is very puzzling and bothersome to me. It is also interesting to note that if Grand Duke Henri were to have another daughter, no matter how unlikely, that new daughter would have a place in the succession while her older sister Princess Alexandra would not.

In a constitutional monarchy the order of succession to the throne should be a purely constitutional matter. It should not be possible for any constitutional monarch to unilaterally alter the succession. I sincerely hope that whenever the Chamber of Deputies gets around to making succession a direct constitutional provision (not a provision that simply passes the buck to the sovereign) that succession will be very clear and concise. I hate the thought of a constitutional amendment that excludes the possibility of female succession outside of the lines of Guillaume, Felix and Sebastien. The family has - thirty one - members whom are styled Royal Highness Prince/ss (only four of those by marriage), but only seven people have confirmed rights of succession!

I would also point out that Prince Louis renounced his rights of succession for himself and his descendants on 22 August 2006. Contrary to reports in the Luxembourgish media, no part of the new succession arrangement restores any rights to those who have lost them through their own renunciation. Prince Louis and Prince Jean have not regained their rights. It has been discussed in depth that while their own renunciations may be valid the renunciation of their children's rights could be a violation of applicable EU and Luxembourg civil law. The European Union rarely permits a parent to renounce the inheritance of their unborn or minor children. Succession rights are an inheritance by their very nature, and succession is a legal matter in every constitutional monarchy. However, strictly speaking based on the interpretation provided by the Cour Grand Ducale and the text of the decree Prince Louis, Prince Jean and their descendants remain excluded from succession. That is unless The Grand Duke privately alters the succession again. At which point, the people of Luxembourg cannot realistically expect to be informed until another 10 months have passed.

The spirit of the decree and the original press release seem to include all of Henri's children, with the exception of Prince Louis, in the revised succession. Either The Grand Duke was very poorly advised on the succession changes and truly left Princess Alexandra out or someone responding to inquiries with the authority of the Cour Grand-Ducale is not completely aware of the specifics of the succession changes. Take your pick, both are sad situations. My vote is on he latter.

I am sorry to be so opinionated on the matter. I simply find making a press release and providing further clarification stating the new gender neutral succession rules will be implemented beginning with Grand Duke Henri's descendants - while excluding his daughter - is perfectly ridiculous. Furthermore, excluding Princess Alexandra from the succession and refusing to grant Princess Tessy the dignity of being more than a footnote on the official website really makes me question whether the Grand Duke's commitment to equality is really genuine.

The information released has been so confusing and argued in so many different directions by persons with knowledge of law and the historical documents related to the succession that I am no longer even certain that Luxembourg is a monarchy. ;) The Cour's interpretation differs greatly from my own. How is this new decree even valid without a counter signature? I have a lot of legalistic issues with the decree and how the Cour wishes for it to be interpreted. 

Sources: LegiluxTrond Isaksen's Blog and Luxembourg's Constitution.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Luxembourg royals to attend Princely Wedding in Monaco...

The agenda of The Grand Ducal Family confirms that The Grand Ducal Couple and The Hereditary Grand Duke will attend the wedding celebrations of The Prince of Monaco and Miss Charlene Wittstock. During RTL's National Day coverage it was already confirmed that The Hereditary Grand Duke would attend.

The wedding will take place this Friday and Saturday in Monaco. It should be noted that the agenda only confirms their attendance for the celebrations on Saturday. It specifically confirms their attendance at the religious wedding. No mention is made of Friday's civil ceremony or the other events scheduled during the two day celebration.

Source: Cour Grand-Ducale

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Photos ***

The Grand Ducal Family is giving us a belated National Day present: Like they do every couple of years, The Family posed for pictures in the gardens around Château de Berg.

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as all of their children Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Félix, Prince Louis with his wife and children, Princess Alexandra and Prince Sébastien were in attendance and made us almost forget they we still haven't seen any picture of the National Day Gala :)

Various newspapers and photo agencies offer galleries, just have a look at Wort, Tageblatt, PPE Agency, Royal Press Europe, Manuel Dias or Tom Wagner to enjoy loads of photos. RTL also covered the photoshooting in their daily news, in case you don't want to watch the whole thing just have a look at 14:45 and 17:53. Royal Press Europe also has video on their youtube channel.

Lucky for us, as Wort is reporting, there are two more photoshoots to come. The first one will take place at the Palais Grand-Ducale and the second one at Parc Merveilleux in Bettembourg.

National Day Fashion 2011

I am going ahead with the fashion post even though I have yet to see any Gala pictures (I want tiaras!). I will update if/when those pictures are made available.

So, first up, the day before National Day, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa visited Oberanven.

MT wore a lovely, red floral dress with a white blazer and matching white shoes. This is the red version of the purple dress she wore on the recent state visit to Norway. Henri was his usual dashing self, in a black suit and blue and red striped tie.

Alexandra looked wonderful in a belted, on trend, neon green/yellowish dress by Natan. She tied her look together with a two-toned beige jacket and beige heels. Guillaume looked spiffy and cheerful in a dark suit with a light blue and red striped tie (very patriotic, sir!)

The day before National Day continued with an evening parade and fireworks display which saw the entire Grand Ducal Family (except for the dashing Prince Felix, and Louis and Tessy's little ones) in attendance.

Henri, Guillaume, and Alexandra all wore the same outfits as they had earlier in the day. Maria-Teresa changed into a sparkly and festive peach colored Elie Saab ensemble. Sebastien made an appearance in a salmon colored tie and dark suit, and Louis matched his wife Tessy in a black suit and red tie. Tessy was sporting a trendy military inspired jacket over a red dress with black heels. Red looks good on Tessy, and I'm glad she's been wearing more of it lately.

National Day saw the family attend the Te Deum Mass and Henri, Maria-Teresa, and Guillaume review military troops and watch a parade.

The Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duke looked dapper in their military uniforms. Although the color of those uniforms is not the best shade of green in my opinion, I do love a man in uniform. Maria-Teresa wore a bright, shiny, fushia creation. I like the idea of the outfit, the fit works well for Maria-Teresa's shape, and I love the pill box hat. I even like the color, but I do not like the shiny fabric. I'm also not a fan of the giant ruffle thing on her shoulder.

Alexandra wore, what looked like a beautiful rose colored dress, underneath a sheer raincoat thing. I really wish she hadn't worn the coat because the outfit underneath looks so interesting. The jacket did nothing for her figure and it looked like a sheer lab coat. I do like the whimsical fascinator in her hair. Age appropriate and fun.

Tessy wore a white, belted dress that looked more suited to a cocktail party than mass. I can handle the dress, but that blue thing that is attacking the side of her face has got to go. Tessy did so well the last two national days that I hated to see her regress like this. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Louis played the role of dutiful spouse again by matching his tie to Tessy's blue head monstrosity. Sebastien wore a light blue tie with his morning coat.

All in all, it was a wonderful National Day. I just wish Felix had made an appearance. Let us know what you thought about the various 2011 National Day fashions in the comments below!

Prince Robert at Flower Festival

Last Friday, the Vinexpo, which took place in the Bordeaux region during the last week, ended with the traditional Flower Festival at Château Lascombes in Margaux, Gironde. Among the 1.500 wine lovers who attended the event was Prince Robert.

Sources: Newscom, Sud Ouest

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Watching National Day...

As I'm sure you are all aware, National Day celebrations began yesterday. If you are interested in watching the live coverage offered by RTL of today's events you may do so using their live stream. You may also watch the special features and the interview with The Grand Duke that are scheduled between the live coverage of the events. The broadcast starts at 10 am with a special, the Te Deum will be shown at 10:30. Afterwards it's time for another special and at 11:40 the military parade will be on. In the evening at 7pm there will be another special showing the highlights of the day. At 11:15 am an interview with The Grand Duke will be shown.

You may access the live stream here and view the schedule with links to specific shows here.

Later we will provide a series of articles awash with photos, links, videos and summaries.

My enthusiasm for National Day was somewhat dimmed recently, and this year I have other responsibilities. Since the pre-information provided wasn't really as detailed as previous years, I'll try to make up for it with the after event coverage.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Visit of the HGD to LuxEnergie

Yesterday, the Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume visited LuxEnergie. The Kirchberg-based company focuses on the planning, financing, implementing and running combined heat and power plants. They opperate about 40 of those heat and power plants in the Grand Duchy.

The amazing Manuel Dias has a gallery of very nice pictures of the event. Muito obrigado, Sir, you rock!

New Succession Rules...

Yesterday, the Maréchalet de la Cour announced that the succession to the throne has been modified. On 16 September 2010, The Grand Duke modified the internal regulations of the House of Luxembourg-Nassau making succession to the throne gender neutral. The change will begin with the descendants of Grand Duke Henri. The press release also states that the internal regulations of the house are undergoing further undisclosed modernization.

Luxembourg based news papers indicate that the changes to the succession are awaiting legislative approval (rubber stamping, they call it). They further state that succession will be based on direct constitutional provisions (like everyone expected) and not the Nassau Family Pact or any internal regulations of the Grand Ducal House. That isn't exactly what I gathered from the full text of the press release, which mainly focused on the changes made via the house law/family pact.

Unfortunately, the act of 16 September 2010 has yet to be published nor have any other details concerning the modernization of the "internal regulations of the House of Luxembourg-Nassau."

The information released leaves many questions unanswered: does the gender neutral succession include other branches (simply beginning with Henri's heirs) or does it exclude them, just legitimate descendants of a marriage or a marriage with consent and are any new provisions made to regain lost rights of succession (Belgium and Monaco style)? Does anyone come after Prince Sebastien in the line of succession, and if so, is it Princess Marie-Astrid or Prince Guillaume? An entirely new house law along the lines of the wonderfully thorough house laws of Liechtenstein would be smashing.

You can read the English article in Wort and view the press release curtsy of RTL. I would also point out that the last change the succession (other than renunciations) was in July 1907, contrary to Wort's indication that the succession hasn't changed since 1783.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Venetian Heritage Gala*

Yesterday it was time for a rare Luxembourgish Royal sighting. This doesn't apply so much for the gentleman on the right as for the one on the left.

This doesn't mean that Prince Jean isn't out and about attending events all the time, it just means that he is usually flying under the radar of the press and, therefore, it is quite hard to find updates about him.

Anyway, yesterday the Prince as well as his younger brother Prince Guillaume attended the Venetian Heritage Gala in Venice, Italy. Prince Guillaume acts as the International Chairman for Venetian Heritage, for more information about the organisation please have a look at the post about the Vianden Gala from a few weeks ago.

Alongside many other European royals and nobles, Prince Jean's second wife Diane was also in attendance. Unfortunately, I am not sure what her official title is. In the photos she is referred to as Princess of Luxembourg, at other events she is referred to as Princess Jean of Luxembourg or just de Nassau. Some media still call her by her maiden name de Guerre. I have also started further inquiries and hope to get an answer soon. She is never mentioned in Luxembourg or by the Cour Grand-Ducale.

Update: Prince Jean's wife Diane is officially styled Madame Diane de Guerre, without the surame de Nassau or any title.

More pictures can be found at the New York Social Diary website.

Source: New York Social Diary, Venetian Heritage

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Updated Cour Grand-Ducale Website: A Review

Yesterday the Cour Grand-Ducale relaunched their website. The revamped version of the website contains many improvements. It also maintains a few of the less than stellar attributes of previous versions. I have decided to review the website instead of just writing the usual piece noting that it is updated. I wanted to highlight the good, the bad and my pet peeves.

First and foremost, I draw your attention to the updated and yet still outdated biographies of Prince Sebastien and Prince Louis.

Prince Sebastien now has his first patronage. He is the patron of the Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Natation et de Sauvetage. Although, he is no longer eligible for U18 rugby and I understand he no longer a student at the International School of Luxembourg. When adding new information to a biography it should be standard protocol to ensure that other sections remain accurate. If providing current details of the Prince's life is undesired it should still be standard protocol to change the sentence structure to indicate past tense instead of present tense. 

The Fédération Aéronautique Luxembourgeoise is now under Prince Louis' patronage. This is a good fit for Louis given his education, his flight skills and skydiving.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the site yesterday was the new color scheme. The website is now adorned in the colors of the Nassau dynasty: orange and blue. I am sure that more than a few of the frequent readers of the website are/were unaware that these particular colors were chosen because they are historically associated with Nassau-Weilburg dynasty. After navigating to the symbols section I was disappointed to find that no explanation of these colors is offered. If flags had been covered in the symbols section I feel that most readers would be able to understand the color usage. My quarrel isn't really about unexplained colors. I just feel that the stage was set to provide a bit of historical information that wasn't provided. Back to flags, I'm not sure why the symbols section omitted flags. Isn't the flag an important symbol? The Grand Duke has a personal standard. If you happen to see The Grand Duke's car parked on your street or flying past you behind his police escort, you will see a miniature version of this standard (specifically called a "car flag," I believe) attached to the car flag pole. It doesn't actually wave in the wind, as you can see from the picture. If actually waved it wouldn't be easily identifiable, which I think is the whole point of a diplomatic car flag. The historic flag of the House of Nassau-Weilburg would have been right at home in this section. But, I guess, the flag isn't really associated with the family in Luxembourg anymore. I also think that this would have gone a long way toward explaining why male members of The Family often wear orange and blue striped ties. I sincerely doubt that these sometimes horrific ties are chosen because they are fashion forward. Once you understand these colors you can actually appreciate and admire these frequently worn blue and orange ties.

The second thing I noticed was that the website now only shows past events of this year. The previous versions of the website archived photos and information about past events. I think it is unfortunate that you can no longer locate this information using the official website.

One of my favorite new sections on the website is the agenda. This addition is long overdue. As someone who blogs about the activities of The Grand Ducal Family, I am delighted that the Cour Grand-Ducale now provides an advance schedule for the month at hand. Although, I do feel that as June (Happy Birthday Prince Felix) is now half over that it would be a great time to provide the schedule for the first 2 weeks of July. Alas, beggars can't be choosers. Unfortunately, the agenda section will only carry a selection of events. It will  not be a court circular style complete listing of future engagements.

I think that whomever updated the website was really after my own heart when they included the new publications section. While the list isn't really exhaustive (I can think of a few missing titles) it is certainly helpful to anyone seeking to learn more about Luxembourg or The Grand Ducal Family.

One new part of the website that I found interesting was the listening aspect. When you click Ecouter by the sound icon a friendly sounding lady will read the entire page to you - in French. Each word is highlighted as it is spoken. This great for anyone attempting to improve their French. A lot of other Luxembourg based websites also have this function (Wort, for example). However, it is new to the website and I think it is a good addition.

The interview and speeches section of the website remains an important resource. Unfortunately, the interviews listed as "the last ten interviews" aren't really the last ten interviews. I can think of five unlisted interviews that are more recent. Once upon a time, you could actually search the interview and speech sections using a search box. Several months ago this wonderful tool was removed from the website and has not returned in the current incarnation. One theme that runs throughout the entire website is that only Henri, Maria Teresa and Guillaume are relevant. I fail to see why the speeches and interviews of Guillaume and Grand Duke Jean are not included. Since great pains are taken to promote Guillaume's activities as Hereditary Grand Duke, shouldn't his speeches and interviews be included? I know that he gives speeches, because I've heard him give one. It was a fine speech that would have been right at home in these sections.

There is now a FAQ section (two questions so far), but no simple function to submit other questions. Part of the FAQ is the pictureless information about the all, too, brief open season of the Grand Ducal Palace. There is an exhibit at the palace this summer entitled The Dynasty Through Stamps and you haven't provided any further details? How big is the exhibit? Is this thirty stamps or five thousand? When you say "the dynasty" do you mean after the dynasty arrived in Luxembourg or will you also have stamps from Nassau? Why is this not on the LCTO list?

My initial pet peeve when viewing the website is that everything is still all French. In a nation with three official languages doesn't it make sense to have the website of the first family in each of those three languages? I'm not asking for an English language section. And, I do understand that French is the administrative language of The Grand Duchy. But, but, but, the monarchy isn't just government it is for the people. If you give your Christmas speech in more than one language you could provide your biography in Luxembourgish and German.

Which brings me to one of my biggest pet peeves about all of the versions of the website. I positively hate how the website only focuses on Henri, Maria Teresa and Guillaume. Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla are actively engaged with many organizations to the benefit and prestige of their house. Even Princess Marie-Astrid is a socially engaged woman who receives little or no credit. Henri's siblings are relegated to mere footnotes in Grand Duke Jean's biographical section. In my opinion, this is a pretty poor repayment for years of service. I really do understand that the theme is keeping the focus on the "senior" members of the family. Although, it is worth noting that some of the excluded members of the family fulfill more activities and engagements than those who hold prime focus. One thing that strikes me is that this also serves to remind us that in ten years time (or whenever Guillaume has a wife and children) Felix, Alexandra, Louis, Sebastien and their families will also be irrelevant, forgotten and barely recognizable to the general population. Like the families of Henri's sisters, aunts and cousins: they will not even be welcome to participate in the Octave, National Day events, or attend state banquets. I very, very strongly dislike this trend. I know that members of The Family have private lives and work for their living. It does not mean that they cannot also still receive recognition for their patronages or humanitarian activities. What is the point of even having a patronage if your own house will not make note of your activities for the organization? These actually make Luxembourg and The Family look good. Even in nations with a strong public desire to decrease the size of their royal families you will find that the "junior" members of the family still attend state banquets, national holidays, continue to have their social work covered and receive note on the websites of their family.

This brings me to my final point and my absolute biggest pet peeve. For a long time I really disliked Princess Tessy. The reason I didn't like her was because The Family and the Cour Grand-Ducale really didn't provide any information to make her likable. And, they still don't. She may be a princess now, but, she still seems to be just "that girl" who got pregnant by a teenage prince and married him after he gave up his succession rights with no title for her or their children. They have titles now and enjoy a prominent place at events.

Unfortunately, it takes more than a title, a tiara and a nice hat to alter perception. One could argue that these are indicators that The Family valued Louis' family. It is great that you've accepted her but it takes more than giving her a title and throwing the occasional tiara on her head to make people outside of your family see her value. Trust me, you need to be concerned with what people outside of your family think on this matter. You're supposed to represent a whole nation of people. You can't just live in a bubble! Just last year, I met many wealthy, educated and well connected Luxembourgers. They discussed Luxembourg and The Grand Ducal Family. Their opinions were not particularly favorable concerning Tessy. It really isn't even Tessy's fault. The problem is that she is relegated to a mere three lines in Louis' biography or as the occasional name on a picture caption. Other than the fact that she is a wife, mother and now a princess not a single redeeming quality is listed. She is actually an intelligent and nice woman with her own interests. I'm very sorry to say that in the modern world it really does take more than being married with children to create respect. I do not mean to offend married women or mothers. But, I think that we can all agree that Tessy should be more than just Louis' +1.

After reading the very brief biographies of Alexandra and Sebastien I am convinced that Tessy has ample interest and achievements to fill a section at least the size of those entries. I'm just saying that her military service and continued educational endeavors could be noted. Her interests in animal welfare, scuba diving, surfing and physical fitness are also interesting. In my opinion, she is far more interesting than some of the fashionistas in other monarchies.

There is also a nice new press section. While I do know some bloggers who receive press information from the Cour Grand Ducale, I am not one of them. I have to go looking for information. Simple requests for information are politely rebuffed. There are no ads on this blog. No revenue is generated here. This is 100% free almost-always-positive publicity. This blog has a higher reader rate than some publications have subscribers. That is 2011 and the digital/social media world at your doorstep. I don't get paid for generating interest in The Family or Luxembourg and your Prince Charming wasn't really even nice to me. I do this because I like The Grand Ducal Family and I'm passionate about Luxembourg. So, could you give me a freaking break! And, could you give Tessy one, too!?!

You can now provide your feedback and thoughts concerning the Cour Grand-Ducale website. I would just ask that if you arrive there after reading this post that when it asks how you arrived there that you do list this blog as having sent you there. Don't be shy! They won't know how to improve the site if you don't guide them.

And, there you have it. A little less positive than usual but that 6:22am tweet from the Cour Grand-Ducale on my Andriod reminded me that I need to check my twitter settings and that I should provide constructive criticism about the new website. Naturally, you are all free to disagree with my very long review. ;)

I do apologize for any spelling and grammar mistakes contained in this entry. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another Audience for the Grand Duke

Today, the Grand Duke received the president of Tajikistan at the Palais Grand-Ducale. His Excellency Emonalii Rahmon, who has been head of state of the Central Asian country since 1992 and acts as its president since 1994, is currently on a state visit to the Grand Duchy.

Source. Cour Grand-Ducale

Visit from Qatar

Yesterday, the Grand Duke received the Qatari Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, who is currently on a state visit to Luxembourg, at Château de Berg. The Hereditary Grand Duke and Princess Alexandra were also in attendance.

Extending the bilateral relations between two nations was discussed during the audience.

On a similar note, the final contract between Cargolux, one of the world's leading cargo airlines originating from the Grand Duchy, and Qatar Airways were signed this morning. Qatar Airways now holds 35% shares. For more information about this topic please refer to the Tageblatt article.

Interestingly, the Grand Ducal family was involved in the deal; the idea was first introduced when the Hereditary Grand Duke visited Qatar back in February and proceeded during the Grand Duke's visit to the emirate in May.

Sources: Tageblatt, Cour Grand-Ducale,, Qatar News Agency

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Grand Duchess' Brother wakes from coma...

Yesterday, the Cour Grand-Ducale announced that Antonio Mestre woke from his coma on Sunday evening. The brother of The Grand Duchess was hospitalized 10 days ago with acute cardiovascular problems. His condition is so serious that he spent 8 days in a coma.

The Grand Duchess departed the state visit to Norway a day early to be with her brother. She is extending her stay in Florida to monitor the condition of her brother.

As reported by Tageblatt and Wort, part of the press release expressed gratitude for the concern and care that people have shown toward The Grand Duchess and her family during this time. Naturally, our thoughts remain with The Grand Duchess, her brother and their family.

Sources: Wort, Tageblatt

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grand Duke Jean and Princess Margaretha at TdL *

Today, it was time for two other Luxembourgish royals to show up at the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg, this time for the final stage. The Grand Duke Jean and his younger daughter Princess Margaretha were there to witness the victory of Linus Gerdemann - of the newly formed Luxembourgish cycling team Leopard Trek - in the overall rankings.

A gallery of the final stage can be found over at Wort and another picture with Luxembourg's very own Kim Kirchen at Another small gallery of pictures is available at Roland Miny Pressphoto.

Source: Wort

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Grand Duke (and family) at Tour de Luxembourg **

This week the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg is taking place in, you guessed it, the Grand Duchy. Today's stage was won by the Italian Davide Appollonio, and no other than the Grand Duke himself congratulated the winner and awarded him with the green jersey for the best sprinter. Tomorrow, the cyclists will cross the final finish line of this year's Tour de Luxembourg.

Pictures of the event can be found at RTL, RTL, Wort and Roland Miny Pressphoto.

Update: Not only the Grand Duke attended the second last stage of the Tour de Luxembourg; Prince Louis, Princess Tessy and their sons, as well as Princess Alexandra were also there. A gallery of photos and a short video can be found at and the Cour also released a few pictures.

Source: Wort

Friday, June 3, 2011

Princess Margaretha out and about

Yesterday, alongside the Belgian Royal Family, Princess Margaretha attended the First Communion of Princess Louise, the eldest child and only daughter of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium at the St. Catherine Church in Bonlez. Princess Margaretha is one of the godmothers of Princess Louise.

Isopix offers a lovely gallery of the event.

Already last month, on May 21th, Princess Margaretha accompanied her aunt Queen Fabiola of Belgium to the final concert of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in the category 'Voice'.

From Liechtenstein to Italy

It seems as if the Hereditary Grand Duke is trying to cover as many European countries as possible during the last couple of days. After visiting Liechtenstein with Princess Alexandra to support the Luxembourgish athletes at the 14th Games of the Small States of Europe, it was now time for Guillaume to pay a visit to Italy.

Originally the Grand Duke was scheduled to attend the festivities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy under King Vittorio Emanuele II, but Guillaume took his father's place and made his way to Rome to be part of the Luxembourgish delegation. About 80 representative of different states attended the military parade held in the Via dei Fori Imperiali, among them the Hereditary Grand Duke seated together with the Crown Prince of Norway and the Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein.

Photos of the festivities can be found at Daylife. Or just click here, here, here and here to see the pictures showing Guillaume.

Sources: Tageblatt, Daylife
, Wort

State visit to Norway - Day 2 and 3

It is time to wrap up the state visit of the Grand Ducal couple to Norway. After a jam-packed first day in Oslo, the second day continued where the first one left off with loads of activities for Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa. As it was reported earlier, the Grand Duchess did not attend the events of the third day but instead travelled to Florida to be with her brother.

The second day in Oslo started with a visit to the Fram Museum, a museum portraying the history of Norwegian polar expeditions. It continued with a visit to the National Gallery by Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa and Queen Sonja, and a business reception for two head of states King Harald and Grand Duke Henri.

Afterwards the two couples were reunited at a luncheon hosted by the Government, followed by a visit to the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, that the Grand Duke had prepared with a visit to the CRP-Santé a few days ago. The day ended with an official banquet at the Oslo Town Hall and another round of beautiful gowns.

The third and last day of the state visit took place in Norway's third largest town Trondheim. In the morning the Grand Duke visited the Statoil Research Centre, followed by a luncheon hosted by the Mayor of Trondheim. Afterwards Grand Duke Henri and the Norwegian royal couple visited the Nidadros Cathedral and the Munkegatan, a street that burnt down in the 17th century during a fire and was rebuilt by Luxembourgish engineer. Lastly, the three royals visited Rockheim, a museum for pop and rock music, and met with Norwegian singer and star of the 60's and 70's Wenche Myhre.

Pictures of both days are available at Getty Images, APA Picturedesk, RTL, and Daylife. More can be found on the website of the Royal Family of Norway (Day 2 and Day 3), at Tageblatt, at Wort (Day 2 and Day 3), and on the website of the Luxembourgish government. Of course, the Cour Grand Ducale also offers a gallery of pictures.