Tuesday, February 25, 2014

And the Saga Continues...

I think I might have missed my calling as a criminal justice journalist: Today, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg's prime minister between 1995 and 2013, as well as Henri Etienne, former diplomat, and his wife were summoned to the court in the Bommeleeër trial to talk about the "lead Prince Jean".

Former prime minister Juncker told that he set up a meeting with with the witness who claimed to have seen Prince Jean for November 14th, 2005 through the journalists who interviewed Beffort for an RTL documentary. Asked who the well-known person was, Beffort gave Juncker a piece of paper on which Prince Jean's name was written. The witness also told the then prime minister that he had been visited by people who told him to never tell anything to anyone about seeing Prince Jean at Findel Airport the night before a bomb exploded there.

The following day, Juncker called Grand Duke Henri and set up a meeting for the 16th to inform the head of state about what Beffort had told him. At first, Juncker was a little reluctant to tell the court about the meeting with the Grand Duke as those meetings are considered confidential. He, however, revealed that Grand Duke Henri was shocked about Beffort's statement and could not believe it.

Asked if he knew anything about Prince Jean's reasons to sign away his rights to the throne, Juncker said that he wasn't prime minister at the time and that the court should ask Jacques Santer, who was the head of government during the time of the bombings. Juncker, however, revealed that Grand Duke Henri didn't agree with the decision and would, in fact, like to reinstate his brother into the line of succession.

In addition, Henri Etienne and his wife, whose names you might remember from the Prince Jean/Prince Guillaume confusion last week, were heard. The hearings didn't bring much new information apart from a little more confusion on the question whether Etienne told attorney general Biever simply "the prince" or "Prince Guillaume" when they talked about a conversation between Etienne and former attorney general Wampach. While Etienne insists that he said "the prince," Biever is sure that Etienne said "Prince Guillaume." Etienne's wife confirmed that during a dinner with them Wampach said about the Bommeleeër case, "We think it was the prince." However, neither Etienne nor his wife did believe Wampach as they suspect Ben Geiben, former policeman and founder of the BMG, to be the Bommeleeër.

A few comments from my side: It's interesting to note that Grand Duke Henri would - if he could which I'm fairly certain he can't - give his brother Prince Jean back all his rights. It was also the current Grand Duke, who gave his niece and nephews the titles of princesses and princes of Nassau and the styles of royal highnesses in 2004 and thus making them equal - in style and title at least - to all other children of younger sons of a Grand Duke. Judging from pictures of christenings and such, Prince Jean's siblings and many royal and noble relatives and friends always supported him and his first wife, Hélène Vestur. I can't believe that they would have kept in close contact if Prince Jean had indeed been the Bommeleeër.

It is often stated in court that Prince Jean also lost his titles and was simply "Jean Nassau" after he signed away his rights. I'm fairly certain that this is not the case as he was always referred to as Prince of Luxembourg and Prince of Nassau even after his renunciation. While he did lose his rights, he neither lost his titles nor the style of a Royal Highness. It will be interesting to see what Prince Jean has to say about his renunciation on Thursday when he is scheduled to give a statement. The official reason given was "business reasons", which, by the way, was also the official reason for Prince Louis' renunciation of his rights to the throne in 2006. Prince Guillaume and Prince Félix, however, seem to be getting by business-wise, just fine without renouncing their rights, so everyone who can count one and one together knows that it more likely had to do with both Prince Jean and Prince Louis fathering children out of wedlock.

FYI, I have added a label to all the posts dealing with this trial, check them out here to learn what has happened thus far.

Source: Tageblatt, Wort

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