Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Luxarazzi in Königstein: Félix and Claire's Civil Wedding

Yesterday, Prince Félix, the second son of Grand Duke Henri, got civilly married to his longtime girlfriend Claire Lademacher in the German town of Königstein im Taunus and as those of you who follow us on the various social media outlets (You don't? You should! Check out our Contact section to do so.) have likely already caught, I was present to witness the occasion.
Photo: Luxarazzi
Located just north-west of Frankfurt on the wooded slopes of the Taunus region, Königstein and its surroundings are rather well known for being a favourite residential area of the rich and richer of Frankfurt am Main, the financial centre of continental Europe. So it's no surprise that Princess Claire, whose father has made a fortune in telecommunications, grew up in the area. Königstein also has historic ties to the Grand Ducal Family as it was once part of the Duchy of Nassau and the Grand Duke, to this day, also carries the title of the Count of Königstein. Consequently, Königstein was an obvious and perfect choice for the civil wedding of the second in line to Luxembourg's throne who also is a Prince of Nassau.

Photo: Luxarazzi
Prince Félix and Princess Claire chose the Villa Rothschild out of the various places offered by the registry office of Königstein to any bridal couple. Today a hotel of the Kempinski chain, the Villa boasts a grand history. Built for a member of the famous Rothschild family, the building is considered to be the birthplace of the German constitution, which was written there, and thus the Federal Republic of Germany.

A small number of royal watchers as well as a much bigger number of photographers, journalists and other media people had gathered in front of the hotel when the bridal couple and their immediate families arrived at the Villa Rothschild for the civil wedding that was conducted by the local mayor Leonhard Helm.

The first ones to arrive were the Lademacher family. Princess Claire's parents Hartmut and Gabriele as well as her brother Felix. The bride's mother wore a beige coloured dress and a jacket of the same colour including embellishments as well as a very eye-catching red pair of gloves.

Photo: Luxarazzi
Even though I had expected some of the groom's siblings to arrive next, it were actually no other than Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa themselves. In fact, the order of arrival seemed a little weird though a possible explanation might be that this wasn't an official but a private event. 

Whatever the explanation, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess got out of the car and happily posed for the photographers just as the Lademachers had done. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wore an outfit by Edouard Vermeulen for Natan. I must say that it did not look as shiny in real life as it does on pictures. I wonder whether that is generally the case for his (very often) shiny designs.

As soon as the Grand Ducal Couple had entered the Villa Rothschild, the next car in the motorcade stopped and the occupants got it. While Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were seated in the back row Prince Sébastien was seated on the passenger seat. After they had gotten out of the car, the trio were welcomed by mayor Helm just like all the guests beforehand.

Photo: Luxarazzi
It was my impression that (out of the wedding guests) the Hereditary Grand Duke, the Hereditary Grand Duchess and Prince Sébastien took the longest time to pose for the photographers. The media was positioned on two different stances; one directly next to the entrance where most photographers stood and the other one opposite the entrance. The public was allowed to stand next to the second one. What was especially nice of these three was that they seemingly equally divided the time looking at the two stances so that royal watchers could also take a good look (and a few pictures) of them.

The Hereditary Grand Duchess looked very lovely in her coral coloured dress by Prada. After having seen her twice in the last month, I must say that she has an aura of genuine niceness around her that makes me like her very much. If she and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume aren't madly in love, they both deserve Oscars for their performances. Observing them, there are many little gestures that let you instantly know how much they care for one another.

Photo: Luxarazzi
Next up were Princess Alexandra as well as Prince Louis and Princess Tessy with their (not so) little (anymore) sons, Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah. The five arrived in a van that the boys couldn't get out of themselves so Princess Alexandra had to help Noah who made a very cute gleeful sound when his aunt 'flew' him out of the vehicle.

Both Princess Tessy and Princess Alexandra looked very lovely. I was surprised when I saw pictures of the latter one's dress because I seem to remember that it looked much lighter in real life. I thought that the Bavarian style vests of princes Gabriel and Noah were a very sweet touch. I don't know what a traditional costume of the Hessian area that we were in would have looked like so those Bavarian vests made it clear that (presumably) their mother wanted to give a little nod to the country we were in, Germany.

During the course of the entire event yesterday, it became very clear who are the centre of the Grand Ducal Family: Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah. The entire family seems to be besotted with the boys and I think I have seen every female member of the family touching or talking to them at least once. The boys seem very attached to their grandparents which was lovely to see. (Not that I ever really had a doubt.)

Photo: Luxarazzi
Naturally, the last ones to arrive were the bridal couple themselves, Prince Félix and, at that moment still, Claire Lademacher. The bride looked radiant in her white Jan Taminiau peplum-style dress. After looking at pictures, I must admit that it looked better in real life. Claire is a very tall and slim person so she could totally pull it off; the peplum didn't look as major when seeing it live (at least in my memory). In addition, the dress seemed to have much more texture than it does on pictures. Claire's updo looked extremely elegant, as did Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie's by the way. Whoever did them, should come to Luxembourg and take care of all the updo events the family has (and possibly add another few such events in the mix).

When Félix and Claire entered the hotel, one could hear a few cheers from inside, presumably from their families. The train of photographers and other press people quickly went to the backside of the hotel in order to snatch the best places for the announced photocall which was to take place after the civil wedding.

The whole day, the weather had been very varying, changing from sunshine to rain in just minutes. While it had cleared up before the wedding guests arrived, it quickly changed during the arrival and clouds gathered again. The civil wedding took a little longer than it had been said beforehand and during the wait, the first few drops of rain fell from the sky only to stop again soon after. Now and then, one could see members of the cour coming out of the hotel and having a few anxious looks at the sky. It had been announced earlier, that the photocall was to take place outside in the park surrounding the Villa Rothschild if the weather permitted. As the various press photographers had already gathered, it would have probably been difficult to change the setting at the last minute.

Photo: Luxarazzi
With a few minutes delay, Prince Félix and his new wife Princess Claire smilingly emerged from the Villa holding hands. Just at that moment, the rain started again. Nevertheless, the couple happily posed for a few pictures and just when they were about to (publicly) kiss for the first time, a very short shower of about 20 or 30 seconds came down making for a few funny face expressions on Prince Félix's part. If it's true that rain brings any luck for a newly-wed couple, these two are definetely blessed. Thankfully, it was only a very short shower and only a few more drops of rain followed.

(As a sidenote, I can totally understand now why they chose to get married in the south of France around this time of the year. I actually think that most of the ladies must've felt quite cold when they were outside as it was only about 12°C. You will need to convert that into Fahrenheit yourself if you need to because I've never been good at such things...)

Photo: Luxarazzi
At first, Prince Félix and Princess Claire posed for the photographing crowd on their own. There were a few waves, a few kisses and a bunch of loving glances. Those who are close followers of the Grand Ducal Family know that Prince Félix isn't the most comfortable guy in front of the media. He is no Guillaume when it comes to the lovey-dovey department but he certainly seemed very happy. Princess Claire was much more comfortable in front of the media and also made sure to give a few thankful waves to those who had come to see them.

The bridal couple was then joined by their parents, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa (who had their grandsons in tow) as well as Hartmut and Gabriele Lademacher. A few moments later, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Louis, Princess Tessy, Princess Alexandra, Prince Sébastien and Felix Lademacher also came out to pose for the cameras. Unfortunately, the Grand Ducal couple's only daughter always managed to hide between someone in all of my group shots.

After a few minutes and likely thousands and thousands pictures taken by the present photographers later, the families made their way up the stairs back to the hotel terrace again while Prince Félix and Princess Claire posed for another few (tons of) pictures and additional kisses before also going back into the hotel. And that was almost it.

Photo: Luxarazzi
The only thing left was the departure of the bridal couple and their families. Prince Félix and Princess Claire did so in style in a BMW Isetta. Apparently, the prince is a lover of the cult car that is lovingly dubbed a Knutschkugel in German. Knutschkugel literally translates to smoochball and what better way to start married life in a car by that name?!

Questioned whether her husband could actually drive the historic Isetta, Princess Claire asked everyone to "wish us luck". Luckily, it looked very much like the prince was able to drive the car that had an additional license plate saying "Félix & Claire - Just Married - 17.09.2013" and the obligatory cans for any newly wedded couple.

As I had never been to Königstein before, I also used my day there to do a little sightseeing. It's a lovely small town with lots of old buildings. I was especially enchanted by the Villa Andreae which is, you guessed it, owned by the Lademacher family.

To view a few more pictures taken by me, have a look on our Facebook page.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful report and pictures.

  2. Thank you so much for this! I really appreciate it specially because I'm from the Philippines. I'm such a follower of the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg since The Heredetary grand Duke and Heredetary Grand Duchess' wedding.

  3. As much as I wish them happiness, Claire's comfortability in the spotlights is exactly my problem with her - she seems (to me) to be too comfortable in them. I get the feeling that Félix is her pedestal to have the cameras on her; somewhere I have a tingling that she is using him and he is too blinded to see it. She appears very business-like and not very warm, but maybe I am wrong.

    Anyways, I hope that they are happy and will remain so.

  4. I think she's just comfortable in front of the cameras as she is used to them. Claire was often photographed at society events even before she and Félix became a couple. After everything I have heard and seen, Félix is just a very shy person when he is in the public eye.

    Have a look at the videos of the wedding and pay attention to how Claire looks at her new husband. Those are looks full of love.

  5. Thank you for your detailed report and the pictures :-)

  6. So I have taken a look at a video and okay, I suppose Claire's comfortability is due to her being used to the cameras. But I still have a double feeling with her, there is something about her that doesn't strike me as sincere but rather fake.

    I guess she's just not my type - I have already felt this since their engagement was announced - but I hope they are happy and that I am wrong.

  7. Fair enough! I'm not all positive about her either but in the end it matters that they are happy and in love and they seem like that.