Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Diamond Art Deco Tiara

We haven't had a thorougher look into the (actually quite large) Grand Ducal Tiara Collection in quite a while - high time to change that! We are going to do so with a piece personally owned by one of the princesses of the Luxembourg family, the Diamond Art Deco Tiara of Princess Sibilla.

The wife of Prince Guillaume does not only come from a very royal background - she is a descendant of one of the most famous monarch's in history, Queen Victoria - through her mother, but is also the daughter of a very wealthy father. Her paternal grandfather was Paul-Louis Weiller, an aviator, engineer, industrialist and famous patron of the arts who made a fortune in the civil aviation, oil and international banking industries. (More on her family background in our Luxarazzi 101 about Princess Sibilla.)
Princess Sibilla with the tiara in both its settings, Countess Diane, Princess Silvia d'Arenberg
This tiara made of diamonds and set in an art deco style apparently was a gift to Princess Sibilla by her parents. Some say that she was presented with the tiara upon her wedding though considering that she only started to wear this sparkler a few years into her marriage, I say it is more likely she was given the tiara at some later point in time. For the first few years of her marriage, she always wore the Belgian Scroll Tiara belonging to her mother-in-law, the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, when a tiara was required.

Starting in the very late 1990's, Princess Sibilla, who was married in 1994, began to wear this diamond tiara that can actually be worn in two different settings: A large one and (with the top half removed) a smaller one. Quite handy if you only got very few tiaras at your disposal! Since owning her own, Princess Sibilla has not sported any Luxembourgish tiaras. However, she has been very generous in lending out her tiara: It was worn by Countess Diane, wife of Prince Jean, for the pre-wedding dinner of the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple (while Princess Sibilla herself donned her mother's aquamarine tiara originally belonging to Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain). In addition, the tiara was also worn by Princess Silvia d'Arenberg for the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Prince Philipp Talks Jewish Aunt and More

Photo: Milagros Martínez-Flener / NU
Prince Philipp recently gave an interview to NU, an Austrian Jewish magazine for politics and culture. Apart from banking and finance, he also talked about Princess Elsa, the Jewish-born wife of Prince Franz I of Liechtenstein. Below a few translated excerpts from the interview. The full one can be found here.

Not many people know that there once was a Jewish Princess of Liechtenstein. What is the story of Elsa of Liechtenstein?
Franz I, direct predecessor of my father as Prince of Liechtenstein, had a very interesting personal history. He was ambassador in Saint Petersburg, friend of the Tsar, bought whole libraries in Russia and gave them to the University of Vienna. He was a honorary member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. After the death of his brother Prince Johann II in 1929 he became ruler of the Principality. He remained a bachelor for a long time, until he met and later married Elsa von Gutmann. However, their marriage did not produce any offspring and so my father inherited the throne.

How did Franz and Elsa meet?
He visited Vienna regularly and Vienna had a very open society. Thus the two of them met, later married and spent a very happy life together. He moved to Prague in 1938 and died there. Then my father took over. Aunt Elsa moved to Switzerland where she spent World War II. She lived near Lucerne until her death.

How aware was your family that she came from a Jewish family?
It didn't play a major role. Of course you have to remember that the society back then was much more open. I find that this is also shown very well in the Jewish museum here in Vienna. Vienna and Judaism were very much connected.

Vienna around that time was heavily influenced by the Jewish bourgeoisie...
...and that was the interesting thing about the city. The diversity, the multilingualism, the many different cultural backgrounds - something few cities had around that time. If I compare that to France: There they only had French, the people rarely knew any foreign languages. Here you only moved little and already spoke Czech, Hungarian, Croatian and so one. Such an immense treasure!

Elsa von Gutman came from an enobled Jewish family: Her father was a knight, enobled by Emperor Franz Joseph I but at the same time very active in the Jewish community, in fact he was their president. 
Yes, this is one of the great signs what an open society Vienna had.

Franz I and Elsa were the first who showed a greater interest in Liechtenstein?
The original main residences of the family were in Vienna, Bohemia and Moravia. Towards the end of the 17th century the territories of today's Liechtenstein were bought. Now and then family members visited, schools were built, the school system reorganised and so on. Franz and Elsa then did a lot for the people of Liechtenstein and to this day Aunt Elsa is considered the "good Princess". My father moved to Liechtenstein in 1938, considering what was happening at that time in the countries around us, I can only say, Thank God.

The interview then continues via Jewish community of Liechtenstein, the country during World War II to Liechtenstein's post-war development and banking and finance.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Château de Vianden

All photos: Wikimedia Commons / Château de Vianden overlooking
the city of Vianden and the River Our
Luxembourg’s most famous non-grand ducal castle is probably the Château de Vianden, Burg Vianden, or Buerg Veianen, depending on which of Luxembourg’s three official languages you prefer. Château de Vianden perches more than one thousand feet (310 meters) on a rocky cliff, overlooking the city of Vianden and the River Our that flows through it. Imposing towers and five gates, with one served by a drawbridge, protected Château de Vianden during its medieval days. After serving as the Counts of Vianden’s seat of power for centuries, the castle would eventually be neglected and fall into ruin. But a committed restoration project in the late 20th century saw Château de Vianden restored and returned to its former glory.

There has been a structure on the site of Château de Vianden since the age of the Romans. In fact, the town at the time was known as Viennensis. A castellum, of fort watch tower, is believed to have sat there originally. Historians also date the basement of the castle to the 9th century, when it was a Carolingian refuge. Additionally, the Carolingians erected a decagonal tower, which would later become the castle’s chapel.

The upper level of the decagonal
chapel at Château de Vianden
The first mention of a Count of Vianden occurs in 1090, and construction on the Château de Vianden appears to have begun right around the beginning of the 12th century. Early construction resulted in a keep, a kitchen, a chapel, and rooms for family members, all built in the prevailing Romanesque style of the day.

Within the next fifty years, the palace within the castle grew, receiving a residential tower, as well as the large and unique chapel that was placed in the Carolingian decagon. This chapel spans two levels, connected by a central opening. The Vianden locals were allowed to attend services and sit in the lower level, while the aristocrats sat in the upper level. (The Count of Vianden was afforded an even higher spot, seated in a balcony in the upper level.) The expanded palace, however, proved insufficient, as a two-level palace was later added in the early 13th century, with a gallery connecting it to the chapel.

In the mid-13th century, Château de Vianden received a complete makeover that gave it a Gothic styling. The chapel still reflects the split style history of the castle: the lower level maintains the earlier Romanesque look, while the upper level features Gothic elements.

In 1417, the region encompassing Vianden transferred via inheritance to the House of Nassau, although the Counts of Vianden retained their hereditary title. Then, in 1530, Elisabeth, the daughter of Henry II of Vianden, received ownership of the castle and the entire County of Vianden. She chose to will both to her cousin Count Engelbert of Nassau. When this occurred, the Count of Vianden also assumed titles of the House of Orange-Nassau and became the Count of Orange-Nassau-Vianden.
The castle changed hands entirely, if relatively briefly, during Willem of Orange’s revolt against King Felipe II of Spain. At one point, the latter took ownership of the castle and gave it over to Peter Ernst I von Mansfeld-Vorderet, who was Governor of Luxembourg at the time. The castle was eventually returned to the Orange-Nassau-Vianden family.

Prince Maurice of Orange-Nassau-Vianden added the Renaissance-style Nassau Quarter in 1621, which included a banqueting hall and a large bedroom. This new mansion took the place of a damaged keep dating from the 11th century. After this, though, Château de Vianden fell largely into ruin, as the Counts of Vianden abandoned it as their primary seat. In 1667, lightning started a fire that would affect the chapel and remove some traces of the castle's Gothic look.

A view of Château de Vianden by night
Such was the merging of family lines that by the early 19th century the Count of Vianden, Willem Frederik, was also King Willem I of the Netherlands. In the process of managing his various properties, he chose to sell Château de Vianden in 1820, to an alderman named Wenzel (Wenceslas) Coster for the cost of 3200 florins. Coster, as was his right as the new owner, began taking the building apart piece by piece: quite literally, he sold doors and windows individually, wood panels from inside the castle, pieces of masonry, and tiles from the roof. Coster also relocated the staircase from the castle, as well as pieces of paneling and furniture, to his home within the town of Vianden. This seemingly wanton demolishment angered the people of Vianden, and William I found himself obligated to buy the now-ruined structure back for 1100 florins. William had the goal of restoring the castle, but he became otherwise occupied in the Belgian Revolution of 1830.

In 1851, Prince Henry of the Netherlands took it on himself to begin reconstruction by paying out of pocket for the cost of repairing the chapel. In 1890, Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg became the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and also took ownership of Château de Vianden. He hired the German reconstruction specialist Bobo Ebhardt to take on the full repairs for the castle. Ebhardt's work was successful, but was also interrupted by the violence of World War I.

Château de Vianden holds an interesting honor from World War II, when the anti-Nazi resistance from Luxembourg held off the Waffen-SS from the castle. Despite the castle’s medieval origins, it proved a sufficient fortification against the modern warfare of the Nazis. The 30 members of the Luxembourgish resistance managed to fight of 250 Germans with only light casualties (1 dead, 6 wounded) against 23 Germans killed.

Further restoration work flagged after World War II, but some work resumed in 1962. Then, in 1977, Grand Duke Jean transferred ownership of Château de Vianden to the state. Reconstruction on the roof, walls, and gables began in 1978. The chapel and the tower received a facelift. Between 1981 and 1982, the elaborate Nassau Mansion was restored. Throughout the reconstruction, workers made every effort to return the castle, both internally and externally, to an authentic look.

Work on Château de Vianden finally ended in 1990, and the castle is now open daily to visitors.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Year's Interview with the Hereditary Prince

Photo: 1 FL TV
The New Year came a little early in Liechtenstein when 1 FL TV broadcasted their traditional New Year's interview with the acting head of state on December 25. The whole interview with Hereditary Prince Alois, that is about half an hour long, can be found on their website. During the interview the regent of Prince Hans-Adam II talks all kinds of matters of state that have kept Liechtenstein busy in 2014 and what awaits the country in 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Grand Duke's Christmas Speech

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
Grand Duke Henri's traditional Christmas speech was delivered right into his "dear fellow citizens" living room - or wherever their TVs are situated - last night. The lovely people over at Wort offer an English translation of the message including a video with the Luxembourgish and French speech.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Luxembourg and Belgian Royals Spent Indian Christmas

Princess Sibilla and her four children, Prince Paul-Louis, Prince Léopold, Princess Charlotte and Prince Jean, spent their Christmas Day attending a polo match at the Maharaja Gaj Singh Sports Foundation polo ground in Jodhpur today. They were joined by Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eleonore of Belgium as well as (presumably) Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and the King and Queen of the Belgians. Princess Sibilla and the children were pictured together with the Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur.

King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and their children also spent parts of their Christmas holiday in Indonesia so I guess that Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla and their family did as well. (Actually not, it seems the Belgian press simply got confused and could need a geography lesson or two.) Prince Guillaume, his family and the family of his Belgian cousin King Philippe regularly spent their holidays together. They are not the first members of their family to visit India: Archduchess Marie-Astrid and her youngest son Archduke Alexander spent some time there during the past few years, as did Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen during their honeymoon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg, Archduchess of Austria

It's (almost) Christmas, so it's time to get Christmassy! We'll do so with a woman who influenced the Christmas traditions of a country - Austria, that is - more than most of the world's population could hope for: Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg, aunt of Grand Duke Adolph of Luxembourg and a member by marriage of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg,
Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Teschen
Fearing the invasion of his own Principality after the capture of nearby Mainz by French troops, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Nassau-Weilburg fled his country together with his family in 1796. He, his wife, née Burgravine Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg, and their oldest child - another daughter had died at the age of two - subsequently settled in Bayreuth. It was there at Schloss Eremitage where another two children were born. One of them was Princess Henriette Alexandrine Friederike Wilhelmine, born on October 30, 1797. Four years later, the family returned home.

Princess Henriette was educated together with her two brothers, the future Duke Wilhelm of Nassau, father of Adolph of Luxembourg, and Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, in languages and sciences. She also had a special talent for music. At the age of 17, she met her future husband, Archduke Karl of Austria, third son of Emperor Leopold II and his wife Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain. 26 years her senior, the princess' future husband was a famous Austrian field-marshal and victor of the Battle of Aspern-Essling against Napoleon I of France. Despite their age difference, theirs was a happy marriage.

The couple married on September 15, 1815, in Weilburg despite their notable religious differences: Archduke Karl was a Roman Catholic and Princess Henriette a Calvinist. However, she did not convert after her marriage and remained a Protestant until her death. Two months after their wedding, the newly weds settled at the Archduke's Palais in the Annagasse in Vienna. For Christmas 1816, Archduchess Henriette set up her first Christmas tree, a tradition already widespread in most Protestant areas of the German states. However, this first Christmas tree went largely unnoticed.

Henriette with her oldest son
Between 1816 and 1827, Archduchess Henriette gave birth to seven children, six of whom survived to adulthood: Archduchess Maria Theresa, the future Queen of The Two Sicilies; Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen; Archduke Karl Ferdinand; Archduke Friedrich Ferdinand; Archduchess Maria Karoline; and Archduke Wilhelm Franz. On December 24, 1821, Archduke Karl gifted his young wife with the re-edified Schloss Weilburg near Baden in Lower Austria as a summer residence.

By December 1823, the Archduke and Archduchess and their family moved to a building today known as the Albertina and as the home of one of the world's finest art collections. Archduke Karl had inherited the palace from his childless but very wealthy uncle Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen. For Christmas of that year, Archduchess Henriette had a Christmas tree set up in the audience room. The tree was richly decorated with candles, sweetmeat and apples - something unheard of in the Austrian Empire.

Henriette's husband and children
For Christmas Eve, many of their Habsburg relatives joined the family at their palace to celebrate, sing and pray together. However, not all of them were in awe of the Protestant tradition: Henriette's brother-in-law Archduke Johann, known as much for his philanthrophic and economical character as for marrying Anna Plochl, the daughter of a postmaster, did not like the abundance of precious candles and food used to decorate a tree. He also criticised that the Christmas tree had replaced the Catholic crib.

Another brother-in-law of the born Princess of Nassau-Weilburg, however, apparently took a greater liking to the tradition: The following year, Emperor Franz I had a festively decorated Christmas tree set up at the Hofburg as well. From the centre of Habsburg power, it soon spread all over the country.

How much Archduchess Henriette knew about being the inventor of a new Austrian Christmas tradition remains unknown. She died only a few years later on December 29, 1829, in Vienna from scarlet fever and pneumonia at the age of 32. To this day, she remains the only Protestant buried in the Imperial Crypt of the Capuchin Church. This was allowed by order of her brother-in-law Emperor Francis I against the will of the Catholic clergy stating "She dwelt among us when she was alive, and so she shall in death".

International Peace Light at Schloss Vaduz

Photo: Liechtensteiner Volksblatt
On Monday, the International Peace Light arrived at Schloss Vaduz in Liechtenstein. The annual event is celebrating its 28th anniversary this year, with the original Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign started by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation.  Traditionally, a child known as the Peace Child, or, Friedenslichkind, is selected from Upper Austria to go to Bethlehem and gather the Peace Light from the Grotto of the Nativity. The light is then flown back to Austria, where it is distributed to Scouts and Guides for sharing throughout 30 countries.

The Peace Light made its way to Liechtenstein, where it was welcomed by Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie at Schloss Vaduz. Additionally, the Peace Light made its way to the government building, where it was received by Adrian Hasler and Albert Frick, and then it traveled to the police, the prison, and other organizations.

This year's Peace Message is "Sharing happiness will bring Peace."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Prince Max, Alumni Dialogue, and a Princely Portfolio

Photo: EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht
In "better late than never," news, Prince Max participated in the Alumni Dialogue at EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht on October 9th. Prince Max, who is a 1993 graduate of EBS, spoke to students about traditional and alternative investment models. The event was held in Oestrich-Winkel.

Also, back on May 6th, Prince Max presented at the Prestel & Partner Family Office Forum in Wiesbaden. Prince Max's presentation, entitled The Princely Portfolio, focused on investment strategies with a long-term focus.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Prince Rudolf and Princess Tılsım Attend Memorial

In a kind of a one-two punch for us - this being number two and the Swiss-Turkish Economic Forum number one - Prince Rudolf and Princess Tılsım attended a memorial for Hacı Sabancı back in late November. A second generation member of the renowned Sabancı family, he was a Turkish businessman and philanthropist. Hacı Sabancı died on June 24, 1998 in İstanbul after a two-year struggle against lung cancer.

Prince Rudolf and Princess Tılsım at Swiss-Turkish Economic Forum

Photo: Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Turkey
Prince Rudolf, youngest son of Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, and his Turkish-born wife Princess Tılsım recently were among the guests of the 10th Swiss-Turkish Economic Forum held at the İTÜ ARI Teknokent of the Istanbul Technic University. The event was organised by the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (SCCT) and held on December 10. The topic of this year's forum was "Can Family Businesses Innovate?". Looking at the pictures, it seems that Prince Rudolf was among those to give a speech at the event.

Prince Hans-Adam Talks to Dutch TV

On the occasion of his silver throne jubilee, Prince Hans-Adam II recently gave an interview to Dutch TV show Blauw Bloed. In the English-language interview, he talks about the advise he gives to his son, Hereditary Prince Alois, his family's art collection as well as a number of other related topics. The interview was broadcasted on November 22.

Luxarazzi 101: Royal Recycling and Clothes Sharing Vol. 4

They can't leave it, can they? The Grand Ducal Family loves to wear out each others clothes though let's be honest, if our mothers, sisters, aunts or cousins had a wardrobe full of designer gems, we would probably do the same all the time. The dress and jacket above were first worn by Princess Alexandra for national day 2008 as well as pictures taken by Lola Velasco around the same time and later by Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie for a visit to Steinfort in 2014.
This time around, even the Princely Family is in on the clothes sharing action with a sentimental favourite of mine: On national day in 2014 Sophie von Lattorff, daughter of Princess Tatjana and her husband Philipp von Lattorff, wore a dress previously worn by her cousin Princess Marie-Caroline for the wedding of little Sophie's parents in 1999.
So turns out that the coat Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie wore to Archduke Christoph's wedding in December 2012 does not originate with Princess Alexandra, who wore it to her grandfather's 90th birthday party in January 2011 (as previously mentioned in the first post of this kind), but with Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa. The Grand Duchess sported the coat - including some very obvious buttons that were later obviously removed - for an official visit of former German President Christian Wulff to Luxembourg in 2010.
And as (almost) always, there was also some hat sharing going on: For the funeral of Queen Fabiola of Belgium Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie borrowed a black pillbox hat previously worn by her mother-in-law on a number of occasions.
Not all clothes though are handed to someone else. Either these two dresses worn by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were two strikingly similar ones to begin with or the long dress lost to the scissors et voilà, it became a short dress.

For more clothes sharing action within the Grand Ducal and Princely Families, have a look at the previous three posts of this series: Here, here and here.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Grand Duke Jean and the Day of the Tree

Photo: RTL
Turns out we missed a bit of news back in November: On the 8th of last month, Grand Duke Jean watched children (and adults) planting trees in Fischbach. The day was Luxembourg's Dag vum Bam or Day of the Tree. Inititiated by the Stëftung Hëllef fir d'Natur, that Grand Duke Henri is the patron of, the Dag vum Bam has been a patronage of Grand Duke Jean since 1997. The children were obviously delighted to greet the Grand Duchy's former head of state.

A video of the day can be found at RTL.

EYOF-Ticket for the Hereditary Prince

Photo: Michael Zanghellini
Exactly 38 days prior to the opening of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), Hereditary Prince Alois received a delegation of the organising committee at Schloss Vaduz on Thursday. The EYOF will take place between January 25 and 30 in Liechtenstein and the neighbouring Austrian federal state of Vorarlberg. The Hereditary Prince and Austrian President Heinz Fischer will open the Festival together. While Hereditary Prince Alois will do so in English, the Austrian President will take over the German part. Both of them already received their tickets this week.

More pictures at Volksblatt, who also have a video, and Vorarlberg Online.

Princess Tessy at 2014 Chiefs of Transformation Conference

Photo: Petty Officer Stephen Oleksiak
Princess Tessy was among the more than 300 military and civilian leaders from all 28 NATO nations and partner nations to attend the 2014 Chiefs of Transformation Conference (COTC) at the Waterside Marriott Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia, from Tuesday to Thursday this week. Previously the princess had already visited Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation (HQ SACT) and the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

About her attendance at the conference Princess Tessy said, "For me as an academic, I've learned a lot of what Transformation is and especially ACT. I've met some truly wonderful and inspiring people who all in own rights love their nation and really want to move forward to create a sustainable peace, togetherness and cooperation within one world. For me it was a beautiful experience..."

"...It was incredible to see how each person communicated, exchanged ideas, worked together, created new plans," she continued. "It was really an enjoyable moment to be in the middle of them and listen and see Transformation happening in front of my eyes."

More information and pictures on the website of the NATO.

Last Christmas Visits for Princess Marie and Hereditary Princess Sophie

Photo: Nis Vollmar / Volksblatt /
One final visit today to APH Schlossgarten in Balzers, as well as the St. Mamertus retirement home in Triesen! Princess Marie and Hereditary Princess Sophie brought gifts and visited with residents.

Volksblatt has some more lovely photos from both locations, with the ladies rounding off their participation in the annual event to bring seasonal joy to those in hospitals and retirement homes.

Prince Wenzeslaus at Charity Dinner

On Thursday, Prince Wenzeslaus, second son of Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle, attended the Annual Charity Dinner hosted by the AEM Association Children of the World for Rwanda. At the event held at the Held at Espace Cardin in Paris, he was pictured together with Hungarian model Barbara Palvin. Other royal and noble guests at the charity dinner inluded the Princess of Venice and Piedmont  (a.k.a. Clotilde Courau) and Princess Alessandra Borghese.

Friday, December 19, 2014

More Christmas Visits in Liechtenstein

On Wednesday, Princess Marie and Hereditary Princess Sophie paid more visits to retirement homes, St. Martin in Eschen and St. Laurentius in Schaan. These visits are a continuation of the Christmas tradition amongst the Liechtenstein ladies, to meet with those in hospitals and retirement homes in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

There are no pictures of the visits yet, but they'll be added if any are made available.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guillaume at FNEL

Photo: Gilles Martin / Cour grand-ducale
This evening at 6:30, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was in attendance at the closing ceremony of the centenary celebration for the FNEL (Fédération Nationale des Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses du Luxembourg), or the National Federation of Scouts and Girl Scouts of Luxembourg.

The event began with an academic session and then concluded with a vin d’honneur, during which Guillaume visited with the Scouts (and Girl Scouts, of course!). The FNEL was founded in 1914 and encourages all participants to embody the organizational motto “Zesumme fir eng besser Welt,” or “Together for a better world.” The centenary event was focused around honouring the tradition of volunteering that all Scouts and Girl Scouts represent.

No photos spotted just yet, but they'll be added if they show up.

More photos available at the Cour website!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Princess Tessy Visits USS Theodore Roosevelt

Photo: US Navy
Princess Tessy visited the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier in Norfolk, Virginia, today. The Princess currently is in the United States to participate in the 2014 Chiefs of Transformation Conference (COTC) at the Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation (HQ SACT). The Allied Command Transformation is a NATO military command intended to lead military transformation of alliance forces and capabilities. She got to tour several areas of the ship, including observing photos of the crew in action.

A few visuals of her visit can be found at NewsChannel 3.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Princess Tessy Visits NATO

Photo: NATO
Yesterday, Princess Tessy visited Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation (HQ SACT). The Allied Command Transformation is a NATO military command intended to lead military transformation of alliance forces and capabilities. The wife of Prince Louis met with Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros; the Deputy Commander, Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani; and Chief of Staff, British Army Lieutenant General Phil Jones. 

In exactly what capacity Princess Tessy visited the Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation remains unknown. The princess does not usually carry out solo engagements nor has she ever represented Luxembourg internationally in an official capacity. However, she will be part of the Grand Duchy's delegation at the 2014 Chiefs of Transformation Conference (COTC) in Norfolk, Virginia, this week. The conference gives national Chiefs of Transformation and NATO leaders the chance to collaborate and share ideas regarding the future of the Alliance. Princess Tessy entertains an interest in all things military as she participated in a KFOR mission, the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

More pictures on Twitter.

Luxembourg Commemorates Battle of the Bulge

Members of the Grand Ducal Family were out and about today to pay their respects to those who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, which started exactly 70 years ago today. The battle was the last major German offensive launched against the Allied Forces towards the end of World War II. Fought in the Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg on the Western Front, it was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States during the course of the Second World War.

Photo: Marc Schmit / Cour grand ducale
In the morning at 9am, Grand Duke Henri welcomed a delegation of veterans of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge association for a reception at the palais. The former soldiers were accompanied by the Ambassador of the United States of America and the Ambassador of Germany to the Grand Duchy.

About one and a half hours later, the Grand Duke attended a national commemorative ceremony at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg-Hamm. Other guests at the ceremony included the Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, the President of the Chambre des Députés, Mars Di Bartolomeo, other government members, as well as the Luxembourg Army Chief of Staff Romain Mancinelli, U.S. Ambassador Robert Mandell, representatives of U.S. armed forces and both American and German veterans that fought in Luxembourg during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944 and 1945.

Photo: SIP / Luc Deflorenne
The ceremony began with a traditional fly-over of four U.S. combat planes (F-16C Fighting Falcon) and continued with speeches delivered by various dignitaries. Following these, Grand Duke Henri laid a wreath of flowers to pay tribute to the American soldiers that fought for Luxembourg’s freedom and liberation from Nazi-Germany.

The American delegation then also laid a wreath of flowers, followed by a contingent of American veterans laying 70 roses in honour of the soldiers who died in combat for Luxembourg together with students of the Lycée Technique de Bonnevoie. The ceremony closed with a minute of silence, followed by a three-fire gun salute and the playing of the U.S. and Luxembourgish anthems.

Photo: Cheryl Cadamuro /
In the early afternoon, there was another commemorative event, this time around attended by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. The couple was among the guests for a ceremony at the National Liberation Memorial (NLM) in Wiltz also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, Étienne Schneider, and more government ministers as well as American representatives and students from the Nordstad-Lycée as well as, of course, veterans. 

Wiltz, located in the north-west of the Grand Duchy, probably was the Luxembourgish town to suffer most during the Second World War and a major battleground during the Battle of the Bulge. When German soldiers of the Wehrmacht overran the north of the Grand Duchy on December 16, 1944, the American forces were trapped in the encircled town but managed to hold into until the renewed liberation of the area.

More pictures of the day at the cour, the government, Wort, RTL #1, RTL #2, RTL #3 and Tageblatt; videos at Wort and RTL.

Monday, December 15, 2014

More Christmas Visits by the Liechtenstein Ladies

Photo: Paul Trummer / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt /
The Princess Marie and the Hereditary Princess Sophie continued their visits to Liechtenstein's hospitals and retirement homes today. The mother- and daughter-in-law duo visited the St. Theodul home for the elderly in Triesenberg today. It's a tradition in the Principality that the female members of the family visit the retirement homes and hospitals througout the country in the weeks before Christmas. The Princess and Hereditary Princess already made similar visits in Vaduz on Friday.

More pictures of the day at Volksblatt.

Hereditary Prince Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of EFTA Court

Photo: Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Hereditary Prince Alois attended an event for the 20th anniversary of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) Court on Monday, in Vaduz. The EFTA states include Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and the association exists to promote free trade and encourage economic integration among the member states. The EFTA Court takes the place of the European Court of Justice, as the EFTA countries are not EU member states. Additionally, EFTA governs the application of policies for the EEA (European Economic Area) Agreement, which merges the economies of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway into a single market.

The seat of the EFTA Court is actually in Luxembourg, where an anniversary conference was previously held in June of this year. This event in Vaduz and featured a keynote address as well as a panel discussion about EEA law. Carl Baudenbacher (shown above, left), a Swiss native who also works as the expert advisor to the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein, is the current president of the EFTA Court and has held the post since 2003.

Prince Gabriel Presents Cheque to SOS Children's Village

Photo: Karin Kirsch
Royal philanthropists start young: Prince Gabriel visited the SOS Children's Village in Mersch this past Saturday together with his parents, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, and his younger brother, Prince Noah. During the Children's Village's Christmas party, Prince Gabriel presented the children with a cheque over 1,050 euros. The young prince celebrated his First Communion earlier this year and instead of gifts for himself, he asked for donations for the SOS Children's Village in Luxembourg. SOS Children's Villages is an independent, non-governmental international development organisation which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children since 1949.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Court Marshall Talks Grand Ducal Finances

Pierre Bley on the far left (Photo: Charles Caratini / SIP)
Maréchal de la Cour Pierre Bley has given an interview to the print edition of Wort in which he talks about the finances of the cour grand-ducale and states that they have reached the limit when it comes to budget cuts. Bley warns that one shouldn't look at the money the Grand Duke receives too one-sided and explains that the money given by the state does not cover all the expenses of the official duties of the Grand Ducal Family. Thus the Grand Duke pays part of it out of his private pocket. However, Pierre Bley insists that the Grand Ducal fortune is nowhere as big as media reports suggest dismissing them as a fantasy.

Unsurprisingly, the court marshall did not go into any further details of the Grand Duke's private finances and the financial situation of the monarchy in general. In 2014, the cour diminished the operating costs, which make up around 10 percent of its total expenditure, by 10 percent. Monsieur Bley does not see any further potential to cut the costs adding that the staff costs, which will 8.1 million euros next year, make up 86 percent of the Grand Ducal budget. If they would want to save any more money, they would need to lay off some of their employees. The cour grand-ducale currently consists of around 100 staff members, only ten of which are detached and directly paid for by the state while all others have to be paid by the Grand Duke using his budget.

Luxarazzi 101: Grand Duchess Charlotte's Pearl and Diamond Necklace

When Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie stepped out in Japan for her first solo engagement to do what a royal on an economic mission does - promote their country's companies - a while ago, she did so for a company that has long and strong ties with the Grand Ducal Family, Schroeder Joalliers. As we never pass up a chance to delve deeper into the jewellery box - well, probably more like room - of the Grand Ducal Family, let's highlight one of Schroeders pieces of the grand ducal collection.
This pearl necklace including a diamond and pearl pendant was made for Luxembourg's Queen of pearls, Grand Duchess Charlotte. There was hardly a day in her life that the former Grand Duchess did not wear pearls though unfortunately we haven't been able to locate a picture of her wearing this particular necklace. It might be due to the fact that the length of the necklace is a rather difficult one to wear with the fashions Grand Duchess Charlotte preferred.

However, there were numerous occasion (including the two pictured above) during which Grand Duchess Charlotte's daughter-in-law Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte sported the pearl and diamond necklace. Created by Schroeder, the necklace is made out of round south sea pearls. Established by Lambert Schroeder in 1877, the jeweller became a purveyor to the Grand Ducal Court in 1920 and remains so to this day. Schroeder has created and adjusted jewellery for at least three generations of grand ducal ladies including Grand Duchess Charlotte, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa over the past almost 100 years.

Pre-Christmas Traditions

Photo: Elma Korac / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
While her husband was in Brussels to attend the funeral of Queen Fabiola, Princess Marie and her daughter-in-law Hereditary Princess Sophie visited the Landesspital hospital in Vaduz as well as the retirement home St. Florin, also located in Liechtenstein's capital, yesterday. During their visits they spent time with the patients and residents and presented them with little gifts. This tradition of the ladies of the Princely Family visiting the hospital and retirement homes of the country has existed for many, many years. During the coming days, the Princess and the Hereditary Princess will pay more visits to other such institutions.

More photos of yesterday at Vaterland.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hereditary Princess at Charity Auction

Photo: Art for Children
Hereditary Princess Sophie was among the guests of the charitable auction Art for Children, which took place in Zürich, Switzerland, in late November. The Hereditary Princess is the patron of the event by the organisation We Help You which raises money for disadvantaged children. This year's auction raised 59'385 CHF in favour of Kids Kidney Care and Intensiv Kids. Other nobles involved in the charitable organisation which organises the auction are Prince Heinrich of Orsini-Rosenberg and Count Conrad of Salm-Reifferscheidt.

More pictures of the event can be found on the website of Art for Children.

Reception at Berg

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
On Thursday, December 4th, members of the Grand Ducal family hosted the annual reception at the Château de Berg for the members of the Luxembourgish army and police after all. (A few small question marks remained as no pictures became available in what seemed an eternity and a half.) Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria-Theresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were there to greet those who served in the peacekeeping and humanitarian missions during 2014.
Photo: Cour grand-ducale
The reception welcomes not only the members of the army and police force but also their spouses, significant others, parents, and children. This event occurs shortly before Christmas every year, as the Grand Ducal family opens the grand dining room and the ceremonial hall to their guests. The Luxembourgish the forces participate in the KFOR (Kosovo Force) and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) missions. The Luxembourgish army has served with KFOR since 2000 and ISAF since 2003.
Photo: Cour grand-ducale
More pictures are finally available on the website of the cour.

Funeral of Queen Fabiola of Belgium

On a rainy day in Brussels, royals and politicians from around the world gathered to pay their respects to Queen Fabiola of Belgium today. After a funeral mass at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, the widow of King Baudouin was laid to rest at the royal crypt of the Église Notre-Dame de Laeken. As expected, the attendance of the Luxembourg and Liechtenstein families was numerous. 

Among the mourners were Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa; Grand Duke Jean; Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume (who read one of the intercessions in German) and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. In addition, all of the Grand Duke's siblings, who are all nieces and nephews of the late Queen, were present: Archduchess Marie-Astrid and her husband Archduke Carl-Christian with their daughter Archduchess Marie-Christine and her husband Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum as well as Archduke Imre and his wife Archduchess Kathleen; Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus together with their three children, Princess Maria-Anunciata, Princess Marie-Astrid and Prince Josef; Prince Jean, his wife Countess Diane, his children Princess Marie-Gabrielle and Prince Constantin as well as his former wife, Hèlène Vestur; and Prince Guillaume and his wife Princess Sibilla and their four children, Prince Paul-Louis, Prince Léopold, Princess Charlotte and Prince Jean.

The Princely Family was represented by Prince Hans-Adam II, his sister Princess Nora, his sister-in-law Princess Isabelle together with her youngest son Prince Rudolf, as well as the aforementioned Prince Nikolaus, Princess Margaretha, Princess Maria-Anunciata, Princess Marie-Astrid and Prince Josef.

The full funeral can be watched at NOS.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hereditary Couple at Medical Ethics Conference

In addition to receiving the Association nationale des Victims de la Route and attending the swearing in of the new President of the European Commission and his Commissioners yesterday, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were among the guests for a conference on medical ethics last night. The conference held at the Grand Duchy's largest hospital, the Centre hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL), was organised by the Société des Sciences Médicales (SSM). The society of medical sciences is part of the Grand Ducal Institute. Main speaker of the conference was Christian Hervé of the Université Sorbonne Paris Cité.

No pictures are available yet but will be added later on.
There you go!

Guillaume Receives Road Victim Association

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume welcomed a delegation of members of the administrative council of the Association nationale des Victimes de la Route (AVR) at the palais yesterday. The Hereditary Grand Duke is the patron of the organisation which (in line with its name) supports victims of road accidents and their families. They offer a wide range of help starting with psychological and social support through to administrative support. The AVR also tries to do prevention work by educating young drivers for example.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hereditary Prince Alois Receives Ambassadors

Today, Hereditary Prince Alois received four ambassadors for the presentation of credentials. They were as follows: Mr. Karel Boruvka from the Czech Republic, Mr. Moulay Mohammed Guendil from the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Mr. Bernardo de Sicart Escoda from the Kingdom of Spain, and Mr. José Luis Balmaceda Serigos from the Republic of Chile. Prior to the presentation of credentials, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aurelia Frick, paid a courtesy call to the government building.

Guillaume and Stéphanie at the European Court of Justice

Today at 3:30, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Kirchberg to attend the swearing in of the President of the European Commission, as well as new Members of the College of Commissioners. The new president is Luxembourg native Jean-Claude Juncker who succeeds Jose Manuel Barroso. Juncker is also the former prime minister of Luxembourg, having served in that position from 1995 to 2013. Between 1989 and 2005, he also served as Luxembourg's Minister for Finances. Juncker holds the unique honor of being one of the longest-serving elected leaders in the world.

Juncker's career in politics began around 1980, after he completed a law degree at the University of Strasbourg. He was elected Parliamentary Secretary in Luxembourg, and he was then elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1984. In this role, he was appointed to Prime Minister Jacques Santer's Cabinet as the Minister of Labour.

Despite being injured in an auto accident in 1989, and suffering from a brief coma, Juncker was able to return to politics and be elected once again to the Chamber of Deputies. That same year, he was given the role of Minister for Finances, and from here he rose to be Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Juncker's career has reflected a strong respect for the European Union and its goals, and he was at one time the chair of the Council of Economic and Financial Affairs. Between 2005 and 2013, Juncker served as the first President of the Eurogroup.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was also there with the Hereditary Grand Ducal couple.

A short video of the event may be found here and pictures at the cour.