Thursday, February 27, 2014

Prince Jean's Testimony

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort /
The court saved the most interesting for the end and thus Prince Jean was the third one to give his statement in the Bommeleeër case in court today. The prince's former wife Hélène Vestur and his younger brother Prince Guillaume had been called upon beforehand. For their testimonies, have a look here and here respectively.

Prince Jean preferred to answer all the questions he was asked in French, something that is his right in Luxembourg where you can chose whether you want to give your testimony in Luxembourgish, German or French.

Asked when he first heard about the rumours of him being involved in the bombings, Prince Jean said that he firstly heard about it in 2005 when he was told so by his older brother. At the time of the bombings, he finished up university education and started to work. Prince Jean believes that his family wanted to protect him from any unnecessary distractions and thus did not tell him about the rumours. Later he was very busy as he worked 80 hours a week in Paris to support his own family. Defense lawyer Gaston Vogel could not understand the non-reaction of Prince Jean in 2005 but the prince said that he was a witness and preferred to only talk to the police.

About November 9th, 1985, the day a deceased witness claimed to have seen Prince Jean in Luxembourg, the prince said that he spent the 9th and 10th at a hunt organised by the Giscard d'Estaing family. The night from 7th to 8th, he spent with his then girlfriend and later wife Hélène Vestur though he cannot reconstuct where he was during the night from 8th to 9th. He, however, was certain that he did not make a quick trip to Luxembourg via helicopter or car as Vogel suggested. Vogel also asked why Prince Jean did not have the night included in his alibi to which judge Conter answered that it speaks for the prince that he did not claim to have an alibi for the night if he could not prove it. Hélène Vestur did not accompany him to the hunt as they were a new couple and she wasn't invited.

Asked if he knew Ben Geiben or Jos Wilmes, had contacts with the CIA or was a member of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), Prince Jean answered no.

During his time at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the prince learned how to handle guns and bazookas but wasn't educated on how to work with bombs and booby traps.

Prince Jean also said that it was a voluntary decision by himself to give up his rights to the throne. Prince Jean told that things were different in his family and that the Grand Duke also always decides about marriages. His wife being a commoner would not have been a problem per se as it wasn't for his older brother Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, who the family had known for years. Prince Jean, however, presented them with a fait accompli as his fiancée was already pregnant. While they were a new couple in November 1985, their daughter Marie-Gabrielle was born in September 1986. Neither Grand Duke Jean nor Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte agreed with the wedding that happened in 1987.

At the time of his renunciation, there already were four people ahead of him in the line of succession which had become very hypothetical to him. Already at the age of 14, his father, Grand Duke Jean, had told him that he would not become Grand Duke and thus make a living for himself which he did. Prince Jean decided to built his own life and career outside of Luxembourg.

Prince Jean also cleared up some confusion that was often stated by the criminal court, the media and even former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker. Like we stated before, Prince Jean did sign away his rights to the throne but he kept his title "Prince of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau" as well as his styling as HRH all along.

At the end of this testimony as well as in a statement to the media, Prince Jean pointed out how hurtful the false implication of his person in the Bommeleeër case were for him, his family and the entire country. He elaborated that he was raised with a big love for Luxembourg and that he hopes that whoever was behind the bombings will be found and punished.

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