Yesterday, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie paid a visit to the Hessian town of Weilburg. On August 31, 1813, the Bürgergarde Weilburg became a permanent institution and to celebrate the 200th anniversary, they had invited the Luxembourgish royals. The event took place under the patronage of Grand Duke Henri but it was the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple who represented the family.
As I had thoughtlessly expressed the wish that their oldest son would attend the event when Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa et moi visited Weilburg last year, it would have been wrong not to grab the chance to get to see the world’s only Hereditary Grand Duke and his wife.
As soon as I arrived in Weilburg, it was obvious what was going on. While a few Luxembourgish flags could be seen here and there, many had decorated their houses with Nassau flags and even a Dutch flag made a lonely appearance on the market square (either that or I am colour-blind when it comes to light and dark blue.) Despite changing weather, members of the Bürgergarde, other dignitaries, locals as well as tourists had gathered on the marketplace and all around the old town to see the arrival of the guests from Luxembourg.
With a little delay, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, who is also the Hereditary Prince of Nassau, and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie arrived in Weilburg. After a short welcome on the marketplace including flowers for Stéphanie, the couple and their entourage made their way into the gardens of Schloss Weilburg from where you can get a lovely view over the surrounding area.
The Hereditary Grand Duchess wore a royal blue Diane von Furstenberg lace dress (the same as Viktória Cservenyák, the fiancée of Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma for her engagement picture). Meanwhile, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume sported one of this Nassau-coloured ties; generally, it would have been quite a task to find an even half-way important gentleman yesterday who did not wear a tie featuring blue and/or orange.
Through the gardens the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess walked to the upper orangery of the castle where a reception took place. While the reception was an invitation-only event, the addresses of welcome where given outside so that mere mortals (a.k.a. people who did not merited an invitation) could also watch and listen. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume also gave a little speech in German.
Afterwards, he and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie used the chance to talk to all kinds of people, mostly dignitaries but also other locals. Two mothers with their little babies seemed to have especially caught the attention of the couple. One of the babies even held the hand of the Hereditary Grand Duke for a little while, while the other one was a little more shy.
In comparison with the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess who visited Weilburg last year, the couple seemed more approachable and talkative, especially Guillaume who was very animated and engaging with all the people he talked to. Not very surprisingly, the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple is much more at ease while speaking German. One other thing I noticed was that Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie only drank water while the Hereditary Grand Duke preferred bubbly (if we are to follow yellow press logic...)
After about an hour, the Hereditary Grand Duke, the Hereditary Grand Duchess and a few people who accompanied them slipped off from the reception and received a tour of Schloss Weilburg instead.
For more pictures by moi, have a look at our Facebook page.
A full report Guillaume's and Stéphanie's Hessian adventures including more pictures and videos is to follow later today.