Thursday, November 15, 2012

Luxarazzi 101: The Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg

Before, during and in the aftermath of the grand ducal wedding last months, there were questions arising about the new Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie and her life before we got to know her, so this post is trying to answer some of those questions...

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
The Hereditary Grand Duchess was born as Countess Stéphanie Marie Claudine Christine de Lannoy on February 18th, 1984 in Ronse, Belgium. She is the daughter of Philippe, Count de Lannoy (*1922) and Alix, Countess de Lannoy (1942-2012) and has seven older siblings, Count Jehan, Count Christian, Nathalie Hamilton, Countess Gaëlle, Count Amaury, Count Olivier and Isabelle de le Court. She grew up on the family estate in Anvaing in the Belgian province Hainaut.

Then Countess Stéphanie started her primary education at the Dutch-speaking school Sancta Maria in Ronse. The first two years of her secondary education, she spent at the Collège Sainte-Odile in Lambersart, Northern France. Afterwards she transferred to the Brussels-based Institut de la Vierge Fidèle.

She graduated from secondary education in 2002. Afterwards she spent a year in the Russian capital Moscow to learn Russian and take violin classes. After returning from Russia, she then spent 3 months in Munich to learn German.
Photo: Cour grand-ducale

She started her university education at the Université catholique de Louvain, where she would spend the next three years to study Germanic Philology. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree with distinction. After graduating, she moved to Berlin, Germany, where she attended the Humboldt University for her Master’s studies. She wrote her Master’s thesis in German about the influence of German romanticism on Russian literature using the examples of E.T.A. Hoffmann and Alexander Pushkin.

After finishing up university, she decided to stay in Berlin for a year and did an internship at the L'Agence Wallone à l'Exportation at the Belgian embassy. When she returned to Belgium, she started to work in an investment firm in Brussels. During this time she lived at her family's home in the Belgian capital.

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
Since a young age, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie had an interest in classical music; she can play piano and violin herself. During her teenage years she discovered a passion for literature, which she likes to read in its original language. Besides her native French, she is fully fluent in German and English. Of course she is learning Luxembourgish and also has some knowledge of Russian and Dutch.

Being involved in voluntary work, Stéphanie has made many trips with youth groups. In her free time, she enjoys skiing and swimming.

On April 27th, 2012, she was introduced to the public when she announced her engagement with Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. The two had been a couple for a few years, after being introduced by mutual friends a few years earlier. Even though there was an instant connection, the two lost track of one another before finally starting to date.
Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale

Upon her marriage to the Hereditary Grand Duke – civilly on October 19th and religiously on October 20th, 2012 – she gained Luxembourgish citizenship. From the religious wedding on, she is known as “Her Royal Highness Princess Stéphanie, the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Hereditary Princess of Nassau and Princess de Bourbon de Parme”.

Since June 2012, she has been a member of the board of directors of the Fondation du Grand-Duc et de la Grande-Duchesse. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie has expressed the wish to dedicate some of her time fighting solitude in all age groups.

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