Thursday, December 12, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg

Today, we are going to have a look at the life and familial background of Princess Sibilla. According to the accounts of different people I know who have met her, she is one of the nicest and warmest members of the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg. Unfortunately for us, the news and events of the wife of Prince Guillaume aren't very well covered by the press (and thus us) but that gives us all the more reason to shine some light on her.

Photo: Point de Vue
Born as Sibilla Sandra Weiller on June 12, 1968 in the French town of Neuilly-sur-Seine, she is the daughter of Paul-Annik Weiller and Donna Olimpia Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi. She has three surviving sisters while a brother and another sister both died in childhood. Both of Princess Sibilla's sides of the family are so interesting that they could merit their own posts so we are simply going to focus on a few interesting bits.

Her paternal grandfather was Paul-Louis Weiller, an aviator, engineer, industrialist and famous patron of the arts. Shot down no less than five times by Germans during World War I, he was one of the youngest recipients of the Legion d'Honneur and later made a fortune in the civil aviation, oil and international banking industries. He was secondly married to Miss Europe 1930, Aliki Diplarakou. Aliki, Sibilla's paternal grandmother, later went on to marry Sir Jack Russell a British diplomat and ambassador to Ethiopia, Brazil and Spain. Meanwhile, Princess Sibilla's maternal family is even more illustrious and features some very royal heritage. Her mother, Donna Olimpia Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi is the daughter of Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince of Civitella-Cesi and his wife Infanta Doña Beatriz of Spain. Beatriz is the daughter of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, which makes Princess Sibilla related to about every European royal family there is. She and her husband are fifth cousins once removed.

Photo: Zimbio
Princess Sibilla, who speaks five languages, grew up in Geneva where she attended the Institut Florimont, a coeducation Catholic boarding school. She graduated from the school with a baccalaureate in economics with honours. From Switzerland she then moved to France where she attended the École du Louvre in Paris from where she graduated with a diploma in Art History in 1991. She subsequently continued her studies in London while focusing on contemporary art.

During her studies, Princess Sibilla worked in the restoration department of the Musée des Monuments Français. Before opening her own art gallery in London in 1993, she gained experience while working for different galleries as a public and international relations director. On April 11, 1994, the cour grand-ducale announced the engagement of Prince Guillaume and Sibilla Weiller.

On September 8 that same year, she civilly married Prince Guillaume, the youngest child of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. The religious wedding took place on September 24 at the Saint Louis Cathedral in Versailles and was attended by some 1,200 guests including an array of royals. The bride wore a creation by Italian designer Valentino. Shortly after their wedding, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla moved to Luxembourg where they continue to live to this day. They are the parents of Prince Paul-Louis (*1998), twins Prince Léopold and Princess Charlotte (*2000) as well as Prince Jean (*2004).

Photo: Zimbio
Since her wedding, Princess Sibilla has been involved in various private cultural institutions and associations linked with social and cultural activities both in Luxembourg and abroad. As mentioned before, sadly most of them aren't covered by the media and thus it is often hard to find news and updates about her. She is a member of the the acquisition committee for the Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean and is on the advisory board of the the Weicker Foundation, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the European Museum Academy, the Edward Steichen Award as well as the Association des Victimes de la Route. Until 2013, she was the international chairman of the Venetian Heritage Foundation. She also worked as the director of a London art gallery until 2000. In 2006, the Princess co-founded an association for the welfare of children’s education in Luxembourg called La Femme Contemporaire ASBL.

While both Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla regularly attended official events of the Grand Ducal Family during the first few years of their marriage, they have faded into the background since Guillaume's older brother Henri became the Grand Duke in 2000. It seems that they indeed do less events but also that they aren't always mentioned by both the cour and the press when they attend the same events as other members of the Family.

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