Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hélène Vestur's Testimony

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort /
Today is the day, Prince Jean, his former wife Hélène Vestur and Prince Guillaume appeared in court today. Both Tageblatt and Wort offer written live coverage of the testimonies and this one as well as two upcoming posts, will feature the testimonies given by the three members of the Grand Ducal Family given in front of court in the case today.

Hélène Vestur told the court that she only learned about the Affair Bommeleeër and an alleged implication of her former husband in 2006 when he called her. When she first heard about the rumours, she found them to be so absurd that she almost started laughing. Vestur said that Prince Jean could not remember exact details about what happened on the weekend of November 9, 1985 when a witness claimed to have seen him at the Findel Airport in Luxembourg. His former wife thus went through old letters she had kept and found some about the weekend as they had an argument about it.

Hélène Vestur and Prince Jean had planned to spend the weekend of November 9th and 10th together in Paris but the prince changed his plans last-minute to attend a hunt organised by the Giscard d'Estaing family. Prince Jean had just come back from the United States where he had attended university and seemed very positive, motivated and full of ideas to his then girlfriend. Before he went to the hunt, he made a quick stop in Paris to meet Madame Vestur and they had an argument about the fact that Prince Jean preferred to attend the hunt. He came back to Paris on Sunday evening (November 10th) and stayed there until Monday morning.

About the fact that Prince Jean gave up his rights, Hélène Vestur said that it was a voluntary decision by her former husband as he wanted to be free. She had become pregnant in 1985 after only having dated a rather short period of time but Prince Jean did not make a fuss about it and said that they would get married. Grand Duke Jean, however, was against the marriage. According to Madame Vestur's statement, she also was under the impression that it was more Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte who was not in favour of the wedding. She never met either Grand Duke Jean or Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte prior to her wedding in 1987 but only after her wedding when they had dinner together in Paris. Her relationship with her husband's family wasn't very easy in the beginning. She also stated that it took Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa a long time to convince his parents to give permission to their marriage.

According to Hélène Vestur, Prince Jean wasn't forced to give up his rights to the throne but decided to do so to be free. As his older brother, Grand Duke Henri, had already fathered three sons, there were four people ahead of Prince Jean in the succession and thus the matter had come very hypothetical to him.

Hélène Vestur couldn't remember to have talked about the whole Affair Bommeleeër with either her former husband or with his family prior to 2006. She said that they were quite removed from life in Luxembourg and built their own life in Paris. They were also quite removed from the cour grand-ducale as Madame Vestur stated that they only learned about a name change of their children by an arrête grand-ducal through a letter. Unfortunately, neither Wort nor Tageblatt stated what name change but I guess it was that they were created counts and countesses of Nassau in 1995.

In her finishing sentences, Hélène Vestur said that her children feel very sad that their father has been implicated in the bombings and that she is surprised herself that such a minor detail as someone claiming to have seen Prince Jean at one of the sites of the bombings hour before the bomb exploded would have such a big impact. She also said that she can, however, understand all the rumours within the 1980's but that she is sure that her former husband wasn't involved in the bombings.

Source: Wort, Tageblatt

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