Monday, December 17, 2012

Luxarazzi 101: Archduchess Marie-Christine and Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum

With the next wedding – Archduke Christoph and Adelaide Drape-Frisch, in case you weren’t aware – lurking just around the corner, it is a good time as any to have a look back at another arch- / grand ducal wedding: The wedding and the life of Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria and Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum.

Photo: Dutch Photo Press (left) & RTL (right)

Marie-Christine is the oldest child of Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria and his wife née Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg. She has four younger siblings, recently married Imre, soon-to-be married Christoph as well as Alexander and Gabriella.

Marie-Christine with her
parents as a baby
(Photo: Carte postale -
LUXNEXS - Editions
A. Rottigni)
She was born on July 31st, 1983 in Brussels, Belgium, which makes her the second oldest grandchild of Grand Duke Jean and the late Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte. Her paternal grandparents are the late Archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria and his wife née Princess Yolande de Ligne. Archduke Carl-Ludwig was the fifth of the eight children of Blessed Emperor Karl  and Empress Zita of Austria.

Wearing on ivory coloured lace heirloom christening robe, she was baptised with the name of  Marie-Christine Anne Astrid Zita Charlotte. The godparents were her mother's cousin Princess Astrid of Belgium and Archduke Rudolf of Austria, her father's uncle. The baptism took place at the Chapelle Sainte-Anne on the domain of the Château de Val-Duchesse in in the municipality of Auderghem in Brussels. She was named Marie for her mother and Christine as a female version of her father's name, Anne for the church where she was christianed, Astrid for godmother as well as her great-grandmother Queen Astrid of the Belgians, Zita for her great-grandmother Empress Zita and Charlotte for her great-grandmother Grand Duchess Charlotte.

Skiing with the family
(Photo: Corbis)
Shortly after her birth, Archduke Carl-Christian moved his family to Switzerland where he pursued his career in banking and management. Subsequently, Archduchess Marie-Christine grew up near Geneva, Switzerland, where she attended local schools. She later attended a boarding school in the United Kingdom. Marie-Christine is fluent in French, German, English and Spanish.

After finishing school, she lived in Chile for a couple of months. She worked for a humanitarian aid project trying to improve the living conditions of poor families in the South of the country.

After returning to Europe, Archduchess Marie-Christine attended the Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels where she studied Psychology. She focused her studies on Psychomotor education, a pedagogic and therapeutic approach with the aim to support and aid an individual’s personal development. During this time, she worked with children with severe motor handicaps for five months. In 2007, she worked in the Lebanese capital Beirut in an institution for handicapped children for a couple of weeks.

Photo: Hola
In the summer of 2008, Archduchess Marie-Christine announced her engagement to Belgian count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum. Born on March 20th, 1979, he is the son of Count Christoph de Limburg-Stirum and his wife née Countess Colienne d' Oultremont.

Rodolphe is the oldest of four children. He has two younger brothers, Philippe and François-Guillaume, as well as a younger sister, Marie. His paternal grandparents are Count Thierry de Limburg-Stirum and Princess Marie-Immaculée of Croÿ while his maternal grandparents are Count Eugene d'Oultremont and Madeleine de Liedekerke de Pailhe.

Originally from Germany, the Limburg-Stirum's are one of the oldest noble families in Europe and can trace their family tree back to (at least) the year 1079. They were semi-sovereign counts within the Holy Roman Empire and mediatised in 1806. Rodolphe descends from the Belgian - junior - branch of the family.

Count Rodolphe with his sister
Marie and his brother Philippe
(Photo: Oreste)
Count Rodolphe grew up in Huldenberg in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant where the family's seat is located. He was educated in Dutch and attended local schools in Huldenberg as well as the Abdijschool Zevenkerken near Bruges. He studied International Affairs and Economics at the Vesalius College in Brussels and earned his Bachelor's degree in 2004. He speaks French, Flemish and English fluently and also knows German and Spanish.

In the late 90's, Count Rodolphe organised and participated in humanitarian aid missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Mexico. He is also a founding member of the charity "Super Day" that tries to help underprivileged and/or sick children. Since graduating from university, Rodolphe has worked for different companies and banks in the world of finance.

Photo: Getty Images
On December 6th, 2008, Count Rodolphe and Archduchess Marie-Christine married in a civil ceremony at the townhall of Mechelen near Brussels and later the same day religiously at the St. Rumbold's Cathedral closeby. Mechelen is located in the Flemish part of Belgium, a tie to Rodolphe and his family and also closely associated with the Habsburg's through Archduchess Margarete of Austria.

Photo: Zimbio
Archduchess Marie-Christine wore an ivory coloured dress by Belgian designer Yves Doom and an antic heirloom lace veil of the Habsburg family. (Archduchess Kathleen wore the same veil at her recent wedding to Marie-Christine's brother Archduke Imre.) Made of satin, the fur cuffed gown had a four meter long train. She honoured her Luxembourgish roots by wearing the smaller one of the two diamond floral tiaras owned by the Grand Ducal family. She also wore the same pearl earrings that her mother and her grandmother Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte had worn for their wedding days. She carried a bouquet of pale yellow roses interspersed with white and blue blossoms.

Marie-Christine's witnesses to the wedding were Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein, Baroness Elisabeth Gillès de Pélichy and Princess Xenia Galitzine. Rodolphe chose his siblings counts Philippe and François and Countess Marie de Limburg-Stirum as his witnesses. The flowergirls and pages were Princess Laya and Princess Nora of Auersperg-Trautson, Princess Charlotte and Prince Léopold of Nassau, Archduchess Antonia and Archduchess Isabelle of Austria, Count Jean de Limburg-Stirum, Count Constantino Secco di Aragona and Edouard Misonne. Archduchess Gabriella acted as her sister's bridesmaid.

In late 2010, Marie-Christine and Rodolphe moved to Argentina where they manage a ranch. The ranch was previously owned by a late member of the Limburg-Stirum family. It is likely that Rodolphe took up management of the estate because he inherited it from this family member.

On April 19th, 2011, they welcomed their first child, a son named Léopold, who was born in Buenos Aires. His full name is  Léopold Menno Philippe Gabriel François-Xavier Marie Joseph Ghislain. His godparents are his paternal uncle Count Philippe de Limburg-Stirum and his maternal aunt Archduchess Gabriella.

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