Thursday, October 18, 2012

Luxarazzi 101: Grand Ducal Weddings (Part 3)

We already had a look at the weddings of Grand Duchess Charlotte and her sisters and at the weddings of Grand Duke Jean and his siblings, so now it's time to have a look at more recent Grand Ducal weddings.

Or as recent as more than 30 years can be... Because on February 14th 1981, the then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri married Cuban-born Maria-Teresa Mestre y Batista, whose family fled her birth country when she was a child and grew up in the United States, Spain and Switzerland. The two had met when there were both students in Geneva, Switzerland. Ther bride wore a dress by Pierre Balmain and the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara. As is probably very well known on the blog, they have five children - Guillaume, Félix, Louis, Alexandra and Sébastien - one daughter-in-law - Tessy - one soon-to-be daughter-in-law - Stéphanie de Lannoy - and two grandsons - Gabriel and Noah.

The wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Henri actually sparked a little wedding boom in the Grand Duchy. About a year later on February 6th, 1982 his older sister Princess Marie-Astrid married Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria, son of Archduke Carl-Ludwig of Austria and Princess Yolande de Ligne and thus grandson of the last Austro-Hungarian emperor, Blessed Karl I. The couple had five children: Archduchess Marie-Christine, who's married to Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum and has a little son called Léopold, Archduke Imre who recently married Katie Walker, Archduke Christoph, who will marry Adelaide Drape-Frisch in December, Archduke Alexander and Archduchess Gabriella. Like Maria-Teresa, Marie-Astrid opted for a Balmain dress and the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara.

Just a month later on March 20th, Princess Margaretha married Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, son of Franz Joseph II, Prince of Liechtenstein. Like her sister and her sister-in-law, Princess Margaretha chose Pierre Balmain as the designer of her dress and she adorned her veil with the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara. After at least one miscarriage and the birth of their oldest son Léopold, who died just hours after his birth, the two were blessed with three children - princesses Maria-Anunciata and Marie-Astrid as well as a boy, Prince Josef.

On May 27th 1987, there was yet another controversial wedding (think Grand Duke Jean's brother Prince Charles) within the grand ducal family. A year ealier, Prince Jean had become father of a daughter named Marie-Gabrielle. After giving up his succession rights he married the mother of his daughter Frenchwoman Hélène Vestur. The couple went on to have three more children, sons Constantin, Wenceslas and Carl, before divorcing a couple of years ago. Upon marriage Hélène did not become a princess but plain "Mrs. Nassau", their children did not have a title either. In the 90's they were upgraded to the titles of "Counts/Countesses of Nassau", the children became "Prince/Princesses of Nassau" with the style of royal highnesses.

This couple might be rather new to most of you, which isn't really surprising as we don't get to see them very often, but nevertheless the bride is a princess of Luxembourg. I may introduce to you Princess Charlotte, daughter of Prince Charles and thus a cousin to all the above mentioned couples. Princess Charlotte married civilly in Mouchy on June 26th and religiously in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on September 18th, 1993 Englishman Marc-Victor Cunningham. Together with their three children they live in London. Keep your fingers crossed to see them in Luxembourg on the days to come. While I do not know who designed her dress, I know that she wears a tiara that belongs to her mother.

In the early to mid-90's we had another little royal wedding boom at our hands. On January 29th 1994 Princess Charlotte's brother Prince Robert married American Julie Houston Ongaro in Boston, MA. Prince Robert manages famous winery estates belonging to his mother's family. Together with their three children the couple lives in Switzerland.

The youngest child of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Prince Guillaume, might not have married a lady with a noble title, but his wife, Sibilla Weiller, had very royal ancestors. Through her mother, Donna Olimpia Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi, she is a great-granddaughter of Alfonso XIII of Spain and thus descendent of Queen Victoria. The couple married civilly on September 8th, 1994 and religiously in Versailles on September 24th. They have four children: Paul-Louis, Léopold, Charlotte and Jean. Her dressed was designed by Valentino.

The next couple of years were quiet and nobody expected anything to happen for the next couple of years. But then it was annouced that 19 year old Prince Louis would become the father of a child. The mother of the unborn child Luxembourgish soldier Tessy Anthony and the boy was born on March 16th, 2006. In September that same year little Gabriel's parents married at the parish church in Gilsdorf. A year later their second son Noah was born. The dress was by Pronovias.

On December 6th, 2008 the daughter of Princess Marie-Astrid and Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria, Archduchess Marie-Christine married Belgian Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum in Mechelen, Belgium. She wore a dress by Ives Dooms, an antic lace veil that she adorned with the smaller one of the two diamond floral tiaras. The couple has a young son and lives in South America.

On March 18th, 2009 Prince Jean married Diane de Guerre. Her actual title is one of the big mysteries of the grand ducal family. The wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Stéphanie will be the first time that Madame de Guerre is present at an official function in Luxembourg.

Only a month ago, Archduke Imre, oldest son of Princess Marie-Astrid, tied the knot with American Kathleen Walker. Just have a look at our coverage of the wedding if you want to know more about the couple.

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