Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dutch Investiture

Today was the big day for the new King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands! As there is so much coverage about the abdication of his mother, now Princess Beatrix, and his investure, we are solely focusing our attention of the Luxarazzi representatives at the event, the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple of Luxembourg as well as the Hereditary Princely Couple of Liechtenstein.

Photos: AFP
Yeah... Ermm... Humm... How nice of Stéphanie to pay tribute to the now former Queen Beatrix - can't quite get myself to simply call her Princess Beatrix yet - with her choice of hat. The rest of her outfit looks like stolen from her mother-in-laws wardrobe anno early 2000's. Memo to the Hereditary Grand Duchess: you are in your late 20's not twice that age. On the other hand, Sophie wasn't much better. That's a lot of kermit green and I never understood the shape of those hats.

So let's talk about talk-worthy stuff, the orders. While Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume is sporting the Order of Orange-Nassau, which he received during a state visit last year, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie is wearing the Civil and Military Order of Merit of Adolph of Nassau, the second hightest order of the Grand Duchy. It appears that she hasn't gotten the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau yet.

Usually, the orders of the Grand Duchy are given out on National Day so it's entirely possible that she will get the higher order in June, though it is also entirely possible that it will take a few years before she gets it. The late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte became a member of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau on 11 November 1964, a day before her husband became Grand Duke. For the life of me and after about two hours of searching, I can't find pictures of Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa wearing the insignia of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau when she was still Hereditary Grand Duchess.

So, I guess we will have to wait and see. The Civil and Military Order of Merit of Adolph of Nassau is given to all members of the Grand Ducal Family without any reference - at least according to the government - whether they were born members of the family or married in.

Meanwhile, our friends from Liechtenstein are showing of their highest national order, the Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein. The principality doesn't do state visits so they have close to no foreign orders.

Pictures and videos of today are everywhere, just go to any photo agency or the NOS website.

Welcoming New Ministers

After former ministers Marie-Josée Jacobs and François Biltgen had their farewell audiences with the Grand Duke yesterday, it was today time of the swearing in of the new ministers, Martine Hansen and Marc Spautz, which also gave us a peek of the stunning interior of the palais grand ducal.

Photo: Serge Waldbillig / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
More pictures are located at Wort, a video at RTL.

Source: Wort

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dutch Gala Dinner

The Dutch hosted a dinner for their royal and non-royal guests tonight and there were tuxedos, gowns and tiaras. In other words, my favourite kind of dinners.

Photos: Getty Images, Semana
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie opted for an Elie Saab dress which has similarities to the Saab dresses worn by several women at the pre-wedding gala in Luxembourg last year. All of them were Ready to Wear, so I'm inclined to believe that this one is, too. If we throw away the wrap (and all other wraps she owns), we'll be in business. She topped of her look with the Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara which is made of a large central sapphire and diamonds and makes quite the rounds on Luxembourgish heads as of late.

The event also gives us the chance to introduce some of our new editions to the blog, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein. What better way to introduce people than by admiring the tiara on their head?! In this case it is the Habsburg Fringe Tiara also described as "the fringiest fringe that ever fringed" (by Order of Splendor, which you should also consult to have a look at all of tonight's fashions once it becomes available). Mady by Austrian jeweller Köchert, it came into the Liechtenstein family via the Hereditary Prince's grandmother Archduchess Elisabeth-Amalie of Austria and thus we have the explanation for its name.

For pictures of more bejewelled ladies and dashing gentlemen, have a look at Hello!, Belga, PPE, Getty Images, Semana, AFP, Hola, Zimbio, Berlingske and pretty much all over the internet. A video of the royal guests arriving, can be found at NOS.

Biding Ministers Farewell

While the royal world is currently focusing on the events going over in the Netherlands, Grand Duke Henri was busy biding farewell to two long serving ministers today. There's a bit of a cabinet reshuffle going on in the Grand Duchy and so the Grand Duke said goodbye to François Biltgen, the former Minister for Justice, for Communications and the Media, for Religious Affairs, for the Civil Service and Administrative Reform, and for Higher Education and Research - a lot, I know, but he was the minister with the most fields in the government - as well as Marie-Josée Jacobs, the now former Minister of Family, Integration and Equal Opportunities during two audiences this afternoon.

The two new ministers, Marc Spautz and Martine Hansen, will have audiences with the Grand Duke tomorrow so they can be sworn in.

Two small pictures are located on the website of the government, bigger ones are available on the website of the cour. RTL's evening news included a report about the two meetings, starting at 2:19.

Source: Gouvernement.lu

Watching the Dutch Investiture

There is a whole array of royals in the Netherlands right now to witness the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the investiture of the new King Willem-Alexander. While Luxembourg will be represented by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, the new players to our blog from Liechtenstein have sent Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie.

Especially tomorrow's events will be broadcasted by different stations all over the world, so better check your TV paper if you find the time to watch it. In case it isn't shown in your country, have a look at Hello! or NOS, alternatively also on their Youtube channel. The first event to be streamed will be a dinner hosted by Queen Beatrix tonight.

Thanks to those sending me the links to the streams on Twitter!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Luxarazzi Goes Liechtenstein

Over the last couple of weeks and months, we, your faithful bloggers at Luxarazzi, have taken a great interest in another one of Europe's reigning families, the Princely House of Liechtenstein. What started as research for a post to publish around the date of the country's national day - which is regularly attended by Princess Margaretha and her family - later this year, quickly turned into hours of reading and researching about a family that is intersting both historically and currently.

Up until know, we have already covered a part of of the Princely Family as five of their members are very well connected to Luxembourg's Grand Ducal Family. In March 1982 the two families formed close bonds when Grand Duke Jean's daughter Princess Margaretha married Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, son of Prince Franz Joseph II. The couple has three surviving children and whenever we find out about the things Princess Margaretha and her family have been up to, we cover them on this blog.

Now we would like to expand on this coverage to other members of the Liechtenstein family. You, however, do not need to worry of them eclipsing the Grand Ducal Family in any way as Luxembourg is and will remain the focus of our blog.

The Princely Family is notoriously private and only has few public appearances. We will focus our coverage on the offspring of Prince Franz Joseph II and Princess Gina, the late parents-in-law of Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg. If something major happens in another branch of the family, we will make sure to report on it but the family is simply to big - and too private - to write about in its entirety. All legitimate male line descendants of Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein (1760-1836) are considered members of the Princely Family, there is no general limit to the title and females don't lose their membership upon marriage, so it's not too hard to imagine just how many princes and princesses of Liechtenstein there are living all around the world.

The only members of the family that have regular official duties are the Prince, Hans Adam II, and his wife Princess Marie as well as the Hereditary Prince Alois and his wife Princess Sophie, so they will be our main focus.

When we can find news about them, we will also cover the Prince's two other sons Prince Max and Prince Constantin, who both work regular jobs, and their families. Any tidings about the Princely Couple's daughter Tatjana will be hard to come by as she lives privately in Austria with her family and does not have any representational role whatsoever. We will try to find occassional bits of news about Prince Hans-Adam's siblings Prince Philipp and Princess Nora and their families and of course continue to report about Prince Nikolaus and family.

We hope that you will enjoy the Princely Family as much as we do! So far the idea of extending our coverage to Liechtenstein was met with an overwhelmingly positive response on the different social media.

Apart from also having a look at the Hereditary Princely Couple at the Dutch inauguration in the days to come, we will kick off our coverage of the Princely Family with a two part Luxarazzi 101 edition to give you a general idea of the reigning family of the tiny alpine principality. (You thought Luxembourg is small, think again!) The first part will lay its focus on the family's history up until the end of the of the Second World War, the second part will have a look at how they have fared since the end of the war

We have also introduced a new page to our blog called Liearazzi which will give you a general idea of Liechtenstein as a country and the part of the Princely Family that will be covered on the blog.

As the Princely Family does not have the most jam-packed calendar of public appearances, there will only be occassional updates when we can get hold of their latest adventures. So you really do not need to worry of Liechtenstein taking over the blog, it will be merely a nice little supplement. Other additions are neither planned by us nor entertained in any way.

Long story short, we hope you will enjoy it as much as we do and that our coverage it might spark interest in Europe's least known reigning family that has a seriously interesting history.

Luxarazzi 101: The House of Nassau

On Tuesday, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will be abdicating in favour of her oldest son, the current Prince of Orange, who will ascend to the throne as King Willem-Alexander. There are a whole lot of events planned for the occassion, for any details simply have a look at the website of Het Koninklijk Huis.

Most important for all Luxaholics will be the dinner hosted by Queen Beatrix on Monday evening, as well as the inauguration events of the new King on 30 April. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will be the ones representing Luxembourg at the events.

To gear up for the historic event - the Netherlands will get a king for the first time since 1890 - we will have our own little look at Dutch-Luxembourgish relations. Though I'm sure that you could write one, or rather many, posts about the two countries who were founding members of what has become the European Union and, together with Belgium, are often simply described as the Benelux countries. We are going to have a very royal look at things.

Once upon a time, there was a count who had many children. Two of those sons followed in their father's footsteps by sharing the rule over his realm in 1247. Eight years after taking over, they decided to divide their inheritance. Today that act is known as the Great Division of the House of Nassau, forming the senior Walram line and the junior Ottonian line. Fast forward almost 800 years, one of the lines reigns over the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the other one over the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

But let's start at the beginning. The first known member of the House of Nassau was Count Dudo of Laurenburg (ca. 1060 - ca. 1123) who is considered its founder. The family's properties at the time were located close to the Lahn river, an eastern tributary of the Rhine river in Germany. They took their first name from the Burg Laurenburg in today's north-east corner of Rhineland-Palatinate. In 1159, a dispute with the cathedral chapter of Worms was settled and the family received the Burg Nassau above Nassau, which, founded in AD 915, was the name given not only to the House of Nassau but thus various other places around the world.

Burg Nassau (Photo: Geo)
The aforementioned count was Count Heinrich II of Nassau, also called 'the Rich'. His two sons were Count Walram II and Count Otto I who co-reigned for eight years before deciding to divide their territory. The Lahn river served as the border and Count Otto I got Siegen, Herborn, Dillenburg and Ginsberg north of the river, while Count Walram II got Weilburg, Idstein and Sonnenberg, which at the time was pledged to Otto I, located to the south. They continued to co-own a few properties such as Nassau and Laurenburg.

Even though the House was divided into different branches - at times more, at other times less - they always considered themselves to be part of a larger dynasty. The House of Nassau was considered one of the biggest but due to its many branches enormously weakened dynasty in Europe.

There were the Nassau-Weilburg, the Nassau-Wiesbaden-Idstein, Nassau-Saarbrücken and Nassau-Usingen and more in the Walramian line, and the Nassau-Dillenburg, Nassau-Beilstein, Nassau-Hadamar, Nassau-Siegen and Nassau-Dietz plus a few others in the Ottonian. All the branches intermarried and died out, lines merged or new ones emerged; it would simply be too complicated to cover it all.

Grand Duke Adolph
The two most important branches of the House of Nassau were the House of Nassau-Weilburg, descending from the Walram line, and the House of Orange-Nassau, stemming from the Ottonian line. Because of aforementioned complicatedness and length, we will have a look at the history of the two branches in fast motion to give you a general idea.

At the end of the 13th century, the Nassau-Weilburg line provided a Roman-German king. Four centuries later in 1806, the counties of Nassau-Usingen and Nassau-Weilburg merged under the pressure of Napoleon into the Duchy of Nassau. The Duchy was co-reigned by the head of the Usingen branch, Friedrich August who became the Duke but had no heirs, and the head of the Weilburg branch, Friedrich Wilhelm who was given the title Prince of Nassau. Friedrich Wilhelm's son, Wilhelm, being the heir of both branches, would become the first Duke of Nassau from the House of Nassau Weilburg in 1816.

Duke Wilhelm's oldest son and heir Duke Adolph sided with the Austrian Empire in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and after Austria had lost the war, the Duchy of Nassau was annexed by Prussia. But fate intervened and after many years, in 1890 Adolph became Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

The year 1890 might sound familiar to you as it has actually been mentioned in this post before. It was the year that the Netherlands last had a king.

The House of Orange-Nassau was as a result of the marriage of Hendrik III of Nassau-Breda (also Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz) and Claudia of Châlon-Orange. In 1530, their son René inherited the Principality of Orange from his uncle though, as per his uncle's wish, he continued to use the name Châlon-Orange. It was his cousin and heir Willem I, Prince of Orange from the House of Nassau-Dillenburg who was the first one to call his line Orange-Nassau.

King-Grand Duke William III
In 1815, Willem VI, Prince of Orange declared himself King Willem of the Netherlands and the very same year the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, to be governed in personal union with the Netherlands, was been formed during the Congress of Vienna. King Willem I as well as his son Willem II and his grandson Willem III thus governed both countries.

In 1890, King-Grand Duke Willem III died without a male heir. While the Kingdom of the Netherlands was inherited by his daughter Wilhelmina, the Grand Duchy of Nassau went to his seventeenth cousin once removed, the former Duke Adolph of Nassau thus dissolving the personal union between the two monarchies due to different laws of succession.

Already in 1783, the two lines had formed the Nassauischer Erbverein, a family pact, which covered the areas of inheritance and succession. It stated that if one line of the House of Nassau became extinct in male line, the other one succeed. It was also agreed that the pact would be applied to those territories owned or acquired in the then Holy Roman Empire. Even though Luxembourg had been acquired after the pact was formed and even after the Holy Roman Empire came to its end, it was still part of the German Confederation which was considered as the Empire's successor.

On this basis, the Grand Duchy was inherited by the House of Nassau-Weilburg. While there were efforts to change the Luxembourgish law of succession so that a female could inherit the throne, it is generally said that King Willem III's wife, Queen Emma, a niece of Duke Adolph had campaigned against such a change so that her uncle would once again become a sovereign.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Queen Beatrix, Grand
Duchess Maria Teresa and Grand Duke Henri last year
(Photo: Luc Deflorenne / SIP / Cour grand ducale)
In 1912, when Grand Duke Adolph's son Grand Duke Guillaume IV died without leaving a male heir, the House of Nassau-Weilburg died out in male line as well. After changes in the Luxembourgish laws were made, his oldest daughter succeeded him on the throne as Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde who was followed on the throne by her sister, Grand Duchess Charlotte, who was succeeded by her son Grand Duke Jean and then Grand Duke Henri.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, Queen Wilhelmina was succeeded by her daughter Queen Juliana who was followed by her daughter Queen Beatrix. On Tuesday, the country will once again get a king, the first one in 123 years when the House of Nassau-Weilburg became regents of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Visiting Mersch

This morning, the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple conducted the first of several visits scheduled until the end of the year that will lead them to the fifteen Centres de Développement et d'Attraction (CDA) all over the Grand Duchy. The aim of the visits is the new Hereditary Grand Duchess getting to know her adopted country better. The Grand Ducal Couple did a similar thing after they got married in the 1980's.

Photo: Nico Muller / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
The very first visit led Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie to Mersch, the geographic centre of Luxembourg. They visited the Château de Mersch, which is one of the castles of the Valley of the Seven Castle, were given a presentation by the commune and met with students from the local primary school Jean Majerus and of the Mersch branch of the Lycée classique in Diekirch. The visit was rounded off by visits to the local house of culture and deanery church.

Series of lovely photographs are located at Wort, on the website of Manuel Dias, on the website of Mersch and on the website of the cour. RTL covered the event in their evening news.

Source: Wort

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Coming Up: A Visit to New York City

You might remember that in October last year Prince Félix was scheduled to attend the Luxembourg American Business Award usually held in the presence of his older but smaller brother, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume who was on his honeymoon at the time. The celebrations however never took place due to hurricane Sandy and was postponed to this year.

Now, the award session has be rescheduled to 9 July and will be attended by the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess who will be on their first official duty in the United States together. The black tie dinner will take place at the University Club in New York City and the lucky award winner is the Airtech Advanced Materials Group.

Source: The Luxembourg American Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five Bishops for the Religious Wedding

According to an interview by Monaco Matin with Père Florian a church official at the Sainte-Marie-Madeleine basilica, the religious wedding of Prince Félix and Claire Lademacher will be conducted by Dominique Rey, bishop of Fréjus-Toulon. In addition there will be four other bishops (my guess are Jean-Claude Hollerich and Fernand Franck from Luxembourg, probably the papal nuncio to Luxembourg and maybe a bishop from Claire's home region). The priests also states that there will be three or four heads of states in attendance, the King of the Belgians being one of them. (According to moi, Grand Duke Henri will be another one with the Prince of Liechtenstein possibly being number three.)

Source: Monaco Matin

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wedding Dates Announced! ***

Prince Felix and his fiancée Claire Lademacher will marry civilly on 17 September in Königstein im Taunus, a city in Germany close to Frankfurt and Claire's hometown. A few days later on 21 September they will tie the knot religiously at the Sainte Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume basilica in the South of France.

Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume is a commune located in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region about 40 kilometres east of Aix-en-Provence. It's about an hour car ride from the Grand Ducal Family's holiday home near Bormes-les-Mimosas. Claire's father Hartmut Lademacher also owns property in the Provence region. The Château Les Crostes that he owns is located between 50 and 60 kilometres west of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.

Apart from being the place where Claire spent large parts of her childhood, Königstein im Taunus is also connected to the Grand Ducal Family as it was an important town in the old Duchy of Nassau and the place of death of Grand Duchess Adelheid Marie, second wife of Grand Duke Adolph and great-great-grandmother of Prince Felix.

I know that some people might question why they are getting married in Germany and France and not in Luxembourg. Already during the engagement announcement it was said that the wedding would not take place in Luxembourg as it was a tradition to marry at the bride's home. The wedding of the Hereditary Grand Duke was an exception to this rule as he is the heir to the throne.

Neither of the groom's uncles had their wedding in the Grand Duchy; Prince Guillaume married in France as did his brother Prince Jean for his first wedding. His second wedding took place in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the daughters of Grand Duke Jean all tied the knot in Luxembourg as did Prince Louis who married a Luxembourgish girl. A similar pattern can be found in Liechtenstein where the male princes of the House often marry religiously abroad though they often have their civil wedding in the country's capital Vaduz.

It might also have to do with the fact that Prince Felix, as well as his brothers, are expected to make their own living in the future. Much like his uncles before him, he will work a regular job. The working Grand Ducal Family consists of the head of state and his spouse as well as the heir and his spouse.

Source: Cour grand-ducal, Nous

Dutch Inauguration

In not the most surprising news of the day, Peter Kok, the Dutch ambassador to Luxembourg, has confirmed that indeed Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will be the ones to represent the Grand Duchy at the inauguration of future King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands on 30 April. There's also a dinner to be held on the eve of the investiture, a full schedule of events can be found on the website of Het Koninklijk Huis.

Also have a look at the updated post about the couple's event yesterday.

Source: Wort

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Handing Out Diplomas *

This morning, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie participated in a presentation ceremony of master craftman's certificates and work promotion diplomas for exceptional work at the Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg. The event was organised by the Chamber of Trade. More information about those receiving the accolades, have a look at PaperJam. A gallery of pictures is now available on the website of Manuel Dias and on the website of the cour.

Source: PaperJam

Two Anniversaries In One

On Friday afternoon, the Grand Duchess attended an academic symposium on the occassion of the 30th anniversary of the Lëtzebuerger Aktiounskrees Psychomototik (LAP) and the 20th anniversary of the Service de Consultation et d’Aide pour troubles de l’Attention, de la Perception et du développement Psychomoteur (SCAP) in Oberanven. Other notable guests at the symposium which was followed by a reception included Mady Delvaux-Stehres, the education minister. More information and pictures can be found on the website of the cour.

Source: CGD

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg

This afternoon, the annual Luxembourgish Octave celebrations start with a mass celebrated at the Cathédral Notre-Dame. This year's Octave celebrations take place under the motto "Faith, Hope and Charity". In two weeks on 5 May, the closing procession - one of the major outings of the Grand Ducal Family - will take place. So it is time for us to have a look at the history of this important event and what it is all about.

The octave celebrations are one of the Grand Duchy's major annual religious celebrations honouring Our Lady of Luxembourg, Maria Mater Jesu, Consolatrix Afflictorum, Patrona Civitatis et Patriae Luxemburgensis - translated as "Maria, Mother Jesus, Consoler of the Afflicted, Patroness of the City and Country of Luxembourg" if my Latin hasn't left me. It traditionally starts on the third Sunday after Easter and ends on the fifth Sunday after Easter.

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
If you have paid attention and can count, you know by now that the Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg is actually a double octave as it celebrated for two weeks.

The Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg has its roots in a time when plague, famine and war were omnipresent occurrences in Europe and the adoration of images of saints a common way of escaping in the hope of a better future. The marial cult was celebrated throughout the whole of Christian Europe.

The Glacis Chapel in 1628
Made of lime wood and measuring 73 centimetres, the statue of Our Lady of Luxembourg is known since 1624 when on 8 December, the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, students of the local Jesuit school, today known as Athénée de Luxembourg, carried the Madonna to an open space outside of the fortress of Luxembourg and placed it under a wooden cross. This very first procession had been initiated by the Jesuit priest and teacher Jacques Brocquart.

Due to a high number of donations, the foundation stone for a pilgrimage church was laid at the same place outside of the fortress the following year. During 1626 the whole of Luxembourg including Father Brocquart were struck by the plague. The priest vowed that he would finish the chapel, make a barefoot pilgrimage and donate a candle weighing two pounds if he would make a fully recovery and indeed he soon recovered. In 1628, the Kapell Glacis was consecrated under the vocable of "Our Lady of Consolation" and subsequently became the home of the Madonna.

Closing procession in 1893
by Michel Engels
By 1630 the numbers of pilgrims had reached about 30,000 and two years later the first eight day Marian pilgrimage was held. In 1639, the pilgrimage was celebrated at the Jesuit church for the first time because of the large number of people attending. On the last day, the Madonna was brought back to the pilgrimage church in a grand procession, the origins of today's closing procession.

Between 1640 and 1642, the Glacis Chapel was enlarged and in the following years the invocation of the Consoler of the Afflicted became increasingly popular among the people of Luxembourg. In 1766, an elaborate votive altar was manufactured on which, to this day, the Madonna is placed during the Octave. During the French revolution the chapel was profaned and later demolished. The Madonna found a new home at the Jesuit church, today known as the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Luxembourg, in 1794.

Photo: Guy Wolff /
Cour grand ducale
Already in 1666, the city of Luxembourg had chosen the Virgin Mary as patroness. In 1678, the Duchy of Luxembourg followed by chosing the Mother of God to become its patron saint as well. The celebrations were soon moved from October to the time after Easter. Baroque books of miracles tell numerous stories of answered prayers and faith healings during that time. The pilgrimage was elongated to two weeks in the early 1920's.

Since the beginning the Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg had been a national pilgrimage. During the 19th century the devotion to Virgin Mary became an essential part of the national identity for the newly independent Luxembourg. The statue also acted as an important sign of nationality during the German occupation in the Second World War and served as a symbol of consolation and hope for many.

In 2008, the Madonna was restored by Muriel Prieur; it took her no less than 500 hours to bring the statue back in its original shape.

Over the years, the Grand Ducal Family has shown great devotion to the Statue of Our Lady of Luxembourg, Maria Mater Jesu, Consolatrix Afflictorum, Patrona Civitatis et Patriae Luxemburgensis. For example, Grand Duchess Charlotte donated the rosary that accompanied her during her years of exile during World War II to the treasury of the statue. You might also remember that during the recent wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie the family offered various gifts to the treasury of the Lady of Consolation.

Generations of family members attending the Octave celebrations
(Left photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu)

While religious festivities are held throughout the whole two weeks, the closing procession is without a doubt the pinnacle of the celebrations. Every year various family members attend the different events though they usually fly under the radar as they take part as normal pilgrims. Holding their rosary firmly in hand, many members of the family always make it a priority to be in Luxembourg for the closing procession. They are joined by Catholics from all over the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as well as the neighbouring Lorraine, the Belgian Ardennes and the Gaume and Eifel regions.

Wort offers a livestream of this year's Octave celebrations. For information about the different events, have a look on the website of the Catholic Church in Luxembourg.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

State Visit to Austria - Day 3 **

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa finished up their state visit to Austria today by venturing out of Vienna and into the two states of Lower and Upper Austria. (If you haven't been following their activities, have a look to catch up on the first and the second day.)

Photo: Peter Lechner / HBF
The Grand Ducal Couple started off their day by visiting the Stift Melk, the world famous and stunningly beautiful Benedictine abbey overlooking the Danube river about 80 kilometres west of Vienna. They were accompanied by the Austrian president Heinz Fischer and his wife; at the abbey, they were welcomed by Lower Austria's Landeshauptmann Erwin Pröll and abbot Burkhard Ellegast. All together they toured the permanent exhibition at the abbey and had a look at the interiors. This was followed by an organ recital at the church.

Photo: Luc Deflorenne / SIP / Cour grand-ducale
Afterwards, the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess as well as their hosts paid a visit the Mauthausen concentration camp located east of Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. The Couple laid down a wreath of flowers at a monument erected by former Luxembourgish prisoners in 1968 to commemorate victims from the Grand Duchy. 176 Luxembourgers were imprisoned at the Mauthausen camp or its 49 sub-camps, more than 60 of them died during their time there or shortly after the liberation and the end of the Second World War.

Photo: Luc Deflorenne / SIP / Cour grand-ducale
After yet another official luncheon, this time hosted by the Landeshauptmann of Upper Austria Josef Pühringer, the Grand Ducal Couple on their hosts attended a presentation on environmental engineering by the company Voestalpine AG in Linz. Before leaving Austria, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa also viewed an exhibition titled Neue Bilder vom Menschen (New pictures of the human) at the Ars Electronica Center Linz, a former tobacco factory turned experimental center dedicated to social phenomena at the crossroads of arts, technology and society.

More pictures are located at Tageblatt, Wort, AFP, ORF #1, ORF #2 and on the website of the cour as well as on the website of the Austrian president. RTL now has a gallery of 60 visuals of the whole state visit as well as video footage at the beginning of their French evening news.

Source: Gouvernement.lu

Visiting the European Parliament

While the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess are finishing up their state visit to Austria (more on that later), Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie are currently visiting Strasbourg.

Photo: RTL

At about 10am this morning, they were greeted by the president of the parliament Martin Schulz who had invited them. Afterwards they went to the parliament to listen to a speech given by Irish president Michael D. Higgins, who is also currently visiting the town, and to witness a voting session. They rounded off their day by meeting Luxembourgish officials working in Strasbourg and have lunch with the six Luxembourgish members of the parliament.

A video of Stéphanie and Guillaume waiting and being greeted by Mr Schulz, signing the official guest book and chatting in German and French can be found on the website of the European Parliament. Pictures are located at RTL and on the website of the cour.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

State Visit to Austria - Day 2

Today, Grand Duke Henri and his youngest son Prince Sébastien are celebrating their respective birthdays. The Grand Duke got (at least) one cake from the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, so I hope that someone also baked something nice for Seb because turning 21 is a big deal in the United States were he is living at the moment.

The birthday boy who is currently statevisiting - I still think that should be a verb - Austria and his wife started their second day in Vienna with two meetings; at first they met Barbara Prammer, who is the as President of the National Council of Austria, and later the Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.

Photo: Luc Deflorenne / SIP / Cour grand-ducale

Afterwards, they attended an Austro-Luxembourgish economic forum which was jointly organised by the two country's chamber of commerces as well as Luxembourg for Business and served as the central point of today's activities. After an official luncheon given by aforementioned Mrs Prammer at Epstein Palace, the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess visited the Austrian National Library, which is home to about 7.4 million items.

Photo: Luc Deflorenne / SIP / Cour grand-ducale

Next up was a meeting with Yuri Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which is based in Vienna, before the Grand Ducal Couple attended the signing of partnership agreements between the University of Luxembourg and three Austrian universities in Vienna and Innsbruck. In his speech the Grand Duke underlined and thanked for the equality between Austrian and Luxembourgish students in Austria.

Photo: Pierre Matge / Tageblatt.lu

To round off the day, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa gave an official reception in honour of the Austrian presidential couple at the famous Albertina. Other guests included the head of the House of Habsburg, Archduke Karl of Austria also known as Karl Habsburg-Lothringen.

The Grand Duchess appears to be wearing everyone's beloved Elie Saab; she has the same or a very similar dress in blue that she wore at the incoming Dutch state visit last year. That's how you do it!

A news report about today's day activities can be found at RTL, pictures are available at the cour, Revue, Tageblatt, Getty Images and Wort. More pictures of meeting Mr Faymann are located on the website of the office of the federal chancellor.

Source: RTL, Gouvernement.lu

Monday, April 15, 2013

State Visit to Austria - Day 1 ***

After a proper send-off at Findel Airport in Luxembourg including saying goodbye to the government, lots of soldiers and bowing to the flag, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as the delegation accompanying them flew to Vienna for their state visit. The plane ride entailed one of the most favourite parts of any state visit by your bloggers here at Luxarazzi, the air escort.

Photo: Pierre Matge / Tageblatt.lu

At the airport in the Austrian capital, the Grand Ducal Couple was greeted with military honours by the Bundesheer, the Austrian Armed Forces. They then made their way to the enormous Hofburg Palace, who once the home of the Habsburg rulers is now the official residence of the President of Austria. It was Heinz Fischer, the current one, to greet the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess upon their arrival. Together the two head of states inspected the guard of honour before moving inside to take a few pictures together with their wives.

Photo: Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu

Afterwards, Mr. Fischer and Grand Duke Henri participated in a meeting that was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, and the Minister of Economy and Trade, Etienne Schneider as well as members of the Austrian government. Meanwhile, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Margit Fischer, the president's wife, took part in a discussion about the integration of immigrants and people living on the fringes of society in in a globalised world. The round table was attended by various NGO's working in this field.

To round off the morning, the Grand Duke viewed the Imperial Treasury, which is also located at the Hofburg. As the name suggests, the museum is home to both secular and ecclesiastical treasures compiled by the Habsburg family over the course of centuries, including the Imperial Crown, Orb, and Sceptre of Austria, as well as the Imperial Regalia of the Emperors and Kings of the Holy Roman Empire.

Photo: Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu

After a private luncheon, the presenditial couple accompanied Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa to a concert of the Wiener Sängerknaben. They sang a selection of eight songs. When the concert was over, the Grand Ducal Couple was gifted with two little teddy bears wearing the uniforms of the boys' choir that I'm sure will be appreciated by the couple's grandsons Gabriel and Noah or whoever gets them.

Photo: Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu

Afterwards, the couple made their way to the Vienna city hall to be received by Michael Häuptl, the mayor of Vienna who is also the Landeshauptmann - I don't think there is an English term for that, it's the term for the chief executive of an Austrian state. At the town hall, they apparently received a couple of more gifts.

Photo: Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu

In the evening, a state banquet was held at the Hofburg. The Grand Duke wore white tie together with the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria and the badge of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wore what's probably Natan, the Belgian Scroll Tiara and the female version of the Austrian order.

Photo: Luc Deflorenne / SIP / Cour grand-ducale

I will keep my judgement about the Grand Duchess' attire largely to myself (well, I already aired it on other sources) because if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all... But, why in the world would you chose to wear just large, very obviously fake brooch-y ornamentation if you got the real deal at home?!

If you still haven't go enough, you can also check Wort for a few pictures of former state visits between Luxembourg and Austria to keep yourself occupied.

More pictures of today can be found at Wort, Tageblatt, L'essentiel, the cour grand-ducale, APA, Getty Images, SIPA and AFP, a news report is available at RTL.

Source: Gouvernement.lu

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cooking for the Grand Ducal Family

Since 1 February, the Grand Ducal Family has a new cook, whose name is Cédric Denolf. The 24 years old Belgian simply called the cour to put in an speculative application, little did he know that they were actually about to start searching for a new cook. A few days later he was called in for an interview and a week later his trial period started. Preparing dishes for lunch and dinner, he works at both the palais and the Château de Berg. The new cook describes the food at the Grand Duke's as "traditional cuisine yet revisited".

Source: La Meuse

90 Years of Concrete

Photo: Marc Wilwert / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
On Friday afternoon, the concrete product producer Chaux de Contern celebrated its 90th anniversary and the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess were on hand to celebrate with them. More information and a galleries of visuals can be found at Tageblatt, the cour grand-ducale and Wort.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Source: Tageblatt

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Wedding of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte

Today is April 9th and this means that Grand Duke Jean and the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte would have celebrated their diamond wedding jubilee today.

Some time in November 1953, a 26-year-old Princess Joséphine-Charlotte sat down on her father's lap to tell him that she had gotten engagement. "To whom?", asked the surprised King Leopold III of Belgium and his daughter smilingly answered "To Jean of Luxembourg."

Even though rumours of the engagement between the Belgian princess and the heir to the Luxembourgish throne instantly made it into the press, the public had to wait for an official announcement until December 26th. The young couple were frenetically celebrated by the Belgian crowds when they appeared on the balcony of the royal palace in Brussels. In the evening, a ball was held in honour of the newly engaged couple

Much has been made of the engagement of then Hereditary Grand Duke Jean and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte. It is usually said that their union was an arranged one; or at least heavily suggested by the fiancée's grandmother Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and the fiancé's mother Grand Duchess Charlotte, who coincidentally was also Joséphine-Charlotte's godmother.

News reports at the time speculated that one or both of them were in love with commoners who were considered unsuitable marriage choices. Wherever the truth lies, Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte had known each other for most of their lives and had struck up a friendship.

Even though the press and society in general is usually quick to conclude that an arranged marriage can only be loveless and miserable, their marriage was by all accounts a happy one and many sources claim that they did eventually fall in love with each other. No one will probably ever forget the grief-stricken tears of Grand Duke Jean at his wives funeral many years later.

Soon after the engagement was made public, the royal courts announced that the wedding would take place on April 9th at the Cathédrale Notre Dame in Luxembourg City.

Two days before on April 7th, tens of thousands of Belgians turned up at the royal palace in Brussels to wish their princess all the best. She appeared on the balcony to greet the cheering masses. Together with her family she then travelled by train from Belgium to Luxembourg on April 8th.

Hereditary Grand Duke Jean met the special royal train at the border and greeted his soon to be wife with a kiss before the train rode on into the city of Luxembourg. Once again, thousands of well-wishers welcomed the Belgian princess in her new country. In the evening hours, a ball was held at the palais grand-ducal.

On April 9th, Hereditary Grand Duke Jean and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte were firstly married in a civil ceremony at the palais by mayor Emile Hamilius, before making their way to the cathedral for the religious wedding.

Despite light rain, Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte travelled in an open carriage. About 100.000 to 140.000 well-wishers lined the streets, a number twice as high as had been expected. Many of them had made the (rather short) way from Belgium. In fact so many Belgians visited the Grand Duchy for the weekend that the Luxembourgish government asked the citizens to open their own homes to the guests as all hotels were booked months in advance. The streets were decorated with flowers and flags of both Belgium and Luxembourg.

Photo: DPA

While Joséphine-Charlotte was let to the alter on the arm of her father, the former King Leopold III of Belgium, Jean was accompanied by his mother, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. Prince Alexandre of Belgium, Joséphine-Charlotte’s younger half-brother and godson, carried the train of her white organza dress.

The high collared and ruffled dress was made of two layers seperated by white tulle. The train was about four meters long and made of handmade needlepoint and pillow Brussels lace. Her veil was also made of Belgian lace. During the actual wedding ceremony Joséphine-Charlotte wore the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara, later she opted to change into the Belgian Scroll Tiara for the official wedding pictures.

Jean wore the olive green uniform of the Luxembourgish army as well as the Luxembourgish Order of the Gold Lion of House of Nassau and the Belgian Order of Leopold.

Not only the Luxembourgish sky was clouded on the wedding day. Joséphine-Charlotte's teary mood and (almost) fainting is often attributed to the (apparent) fact that the wedding wasn't a love match. It later surfaced that other problems had been lingering over the occassion.

As you may know, Princess Joséphine-Charlotte had lost her mother, the beloved Queen Astrid, at a very young age when she tragically died in a car accident. The widowed King Leopold III married the Belgian commoner Mary Lilian Baels during the Second World War. The wedding wasn't too well received by the Belgian public.

Through her marriage she automatically had become a Princess of Belgium but the question of her right of precedence remained. Princess Lilian had apparently insisted of taking the place of the bride's mother but was disputed by Queen Elisabeth, the mother of King Leopold III. In the end, Queen Elisabeth entered the church on the arm of Prince Felix, husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte, and Princess Lilian was placed eight.

Appearing shaky, pale and nervous during the religious ceremony, the long fighting - which had resulted in Queen Elisabeth travelling to Luxembourg seperately - is said to have been despairing the bride, who confused the order of responses to her vows, began crying and almost fainted during the service. During the whole service, Jean tried to console his bride and repeatedly asked if everything was alright.

After the service was over, the newly wed couple made their way back to the palais in an open carriage even though in now rained quite heavily. Joséphine-Charlotte seemed revived and smiled happily but reportedly fainted some time later on. The couple appeared on the balcony at the palais, where a reception for more than 700 guests took place, a few times. Due to the bride's indisposition their honeymoon to the Mediterranean was cancelled and Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte spent their time in the lovely Grand Duchy instead.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Belated News

Finding news on the extended Grand Ducal Family can be like looking for a needle in a haystack called internet sometimes. So we often do so with a delay; sometimes it's weeks, sometimes even months but as I'm sure that many of our readers are interested anyway, here we go...

Le Bal des Débutantes, held at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, is as famous for its fashions as it is for being a get-together for the rich and famous. Since 1992 the ball has garnered an array of celebrity daughters as well as offspring of politicians and aristocrats to make their debut into society. On November 24th last year, it was time for a Luxembourgish prince to get in his tuxedo mode and be a cavalier.

Prince Carl, the youngest son of Prince Jean and his first wife Hélène Vestur, participated in le Bal by accompanying Eliza Moncreiffe, the daughter of The Hon. Peregrine Moncreiffe of that Ilk, baron of Easter Moncreiffe and Chief of the Scottish Clan Moncreiffe. You can spot Carl almost hidden behind another cavalier in this picture, he is the first on the left in the third row.

In more recent news on February 19th, Prince Carl's cousin Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein was out and about in Paris attending the opening of the exhibition organised on the occassion of the release of the book "Calder by Matter". The art exhibition  included over thirty works by Herbert Calder, including mobiles, stabiles, bronzes, decorative objects, gouaches and photographs. A picture of Anunciata can be found on the website of Cahiers d'Art, no spotting ability required this time.

And as a last point no news but a thanks to my and your fellow Luxaholic Iza, who keeps finding these awesome news of the extended family by looking through the haystack with me. Have I told you lately how amazing you are?!

Source: le Bal, Cahiers d'Art

Friday, April 5, 2013

Coming Up: State Visit to Austria

A while ago it was announced that Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa would be visiting Austria between 15 April and 17 April, now further plans were released. The couple will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn and Minister of Economy and Trade Étienne Schneider.

Various political, economic, social and cultural meetings are planned for the time the Grand Ducal Couple stays in Vienna. The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess are in Austria at the invitation of the federal president Heinz Fischer.

Besides the usual state visiting stuff like state banquets and meetings with politicians, the Grand Ducal Couple will be visiting the Schatzkammer and a concert of the Wiener Sängerknaben on the first day.

On the second day they will attend an Austro-Luxembourgish economic forum organised for the occassion, meet with the Executive Director of the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime as well as different Austrian associations to discuss the integration of immigrants in a globalsed world. They will also be visiting the national library to explore Luxembourg's and Austria's common history.

On the third day, the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess will be visiting two companies in Linz, the capital of the state of Upper Austria, the Abbey of Melk, one of the the world's most famous monastic sites, and the concentration camp in Mauthausen to honour Luxembourgish victims who died there during the Nazi era.

Source: CGD

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Château de Fischbach

Château de Fischbach, Schloss Fischbach or Schlass Fëschbech – depending which of Luxembourg’s three official languages you prefer – is located close to the town of Fischbach in Central Luxembourg.

The Fischbach estate is one of the oldest in the country. Originally owned by the Abbey of Echternach, it first non-religious owner was Udo of Fischbach, who bought the castle in 1050. In the following centuries, the castle undertook various renovations and alterations while the ownership changed a couple of times.

The Château de Fischbach in 1834

The Lords of Fischbach fought in the Battle of Worringen, one of the largest battles in Europe during the Middle Ages, in 1288. The estate belonged to the family until 1466, when the heiress Angèle of Fischbach married Henri de Boland, Lord of Rollé and Esch-sur-Sûre.

When the new owners of the estate died out in 1571, it passed to Bernard II of Orley, Lord of Linster and Meysembourg. In 1628, François de Cassal, a man of Wallonian nobility ennobled in 1644 by King Philip IV of Spain, bought parts of the castle.

In 1635, during the Thirty Year War, the castle was burned down by the Polish of the army of Duke François of Lorraine. The reconstruction of the central building by Count Edmond of Schwarzenberg was completed three years later. In 1674, the descendants of François de Cassal purchased the parts of the castle that did not belong to them yet.

Sometime later the castle was acquired by Auguste Garnier, industrial and metallurgist. He granted the ownership to the S.A. Belge des Hauts Fourneaux and in 1768 a blast furnace and a smithy were built on the estate. He was the last non-royal owner of the castle.

Much like the Château de Berg, King-Grand Duke William II bought the Château de Fischbach to regain control over Luxembourg and to placate its population after the Belgian Revolution in 1847. He immediately commanded that the furnaces erected by Garnier should be demolished.

The castle during the 1980's
In 1884 Duke Adolph of Nassau, who six years later would become Grand Duke of Luxembourg, bought the castle from his Dutch cousin King-Grand Duke William III.

During the Second World War the Nazis took over the castle and made it into a home for artists calling it Künstlerheim Fischbach. Much like it happened to other residences of the Grand Ducal Family, the majority of furniture and art were stolen and sold during that time.

When Grand Duchess Charlotte returned to Luxembourg in 1945, the Château de Fischbach was the only inhabitable castle in her possession and thus she moved into the castle with her family. Even after the restorations of her other residences were finished, she chose to stay at the castle out of personal preference. Until his death in 1977 Prince Charles and his family lived together with his parents in the castle, as did his sister Princess Elisabeth and her daughters for many years.

The Château de Fischbach in 2000 (Photo: Tom Wagner)
Two years after Grand Duchess Charlotte had died in 1985, then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa moved into the castle; it is where their five children spent the majority of their childhood until the family moved into the Château de Berg in 2002. Smaller family occassions such as christenings and first communions usually took place at the castle and the parish church of the village nearby.

The same year Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte moved into the Château de Fischbach. In 2005, the Grand Duchess died of lung cancer at the castle surrounded by her family. Grand Duke Jean’s sister Princess Elisabeth spent the last years of her life at the castle where she died in November 2011.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pro-Life in Brussels

Recently on March 24th, Archduchess Kathleen, the American-born daughter-in-law of Princess Marie-Astrid, participated in the 4th Annual March for Life in the Belgian capital Brussels and wrote an article about it.

One of the main aims of this year's march was to protest against the proposed changes in the laws regarding euthanasia. In late 2002, the Belgian parliament legalised euthanasia for people over the age of 18. Now, a new law has been proposed to expand the law to minors and people suffering from Alzheimer's-type illnesses.

The wife of Archduke Imre has long been involved in the pro-life movement. Prior to her wedding she worked as the communications director for the Catholic Charities of the Arlington Virginia Diocese and was a member of the board of the Catholic Business Network of Northern Virginia. One of the most asked questions around the wedding was if she would continue with her work and it seems that she does.

[Just a quick note: To be perfectly honest, the team of Luxarazzi was a little hesitant to post about these news as we are aware of the strong feelings some people have about Archduchess Kathleen and this matter in general. Nonetheless, everyone should keep in mind that every person is entitled to their own opinion so if you have a comment please be thought- and respectful. Treat others like you want to be treated! (And yes, I feel strange for having to say this because it should be a given.)]

Source: AFP, LifeSiteNews.com