Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Micheletti Award

Photo: European Museum Academy
Seems like all the museum inspections, check here and here, and the preparations paid off as over the weekend Princess Sibilla attended the award ceremony of the Micheletti Award. During the ceremony at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, the MUSE - Museo delle Scienze in Trento, Italy was announced as this year's winner of the European prize recognising innovative museums featuring contemporary history, industry and science. Princess Sibilla, who repeated a gown she previously wore to the 90th birthday celebrations of King Mihai of Romania, is one of the Micheletti Award's judges.

More pictures are available on the Facebook page of the European Museum Academy.

Source: European Museum Academy

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Celebrating Luxembourg's Independence *

Photo: Luxemburger Wort /
Today, the Grand Duchy marked the 175th anniversary of its independence, which actually occurred ten days ago, with a special celebration attended by the government, representatives of parliament, Luxembourg's mayor as well as members of the Grand Ducal Family and more.

Photo: Luxemburger Wort /
Already the Congress of Vienna in 1815 had granted Luxembourg formal autonomy. Being considered one of the strongest fortifications in Europe, several states had an interest in the newly created Grand Duchy. In the end, King Willem I of the Netherlands was given the country in exchange for the Principality of Orange-Nassau which went to the Prussian kings. Luxembourg also became a member of the German Confederation and Prussian troops took over the fortress.

In 1830, however, much of the Luxembourgish population joined the Belgian revolution against Dutch rule and in 1839, through the Treaty of London signed on April 19th, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was declared an independent state though its size was nearly cut into a half as the west of the country became the Province of Luxembourg of the newly-created Kingdom of Belgium. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of the Netherlands were ruled in personal union by King-Grand Duke Willem I and two of his descendants until 1890 when the House of Orange-Nassau died out in male line and Luxembourg fell to the Walram branch of the House of Nassau.

Photo: Luxemburger Wort /
Grand Duke Henri, who gave a speech during the celebratory event, was accompanied by Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa sporting Princess Ingeborg's brooch, as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. (Someone call Satan and tell him to get on his long johns cause hell just might freeze over, I think for once I don't mind Stéphanie's wide-legged pants as they actually go together with the rest of her outfit. Plus, in not as surprising news, I love her up-do!)

Grand Duke Jean was also supposed to attend the event though he did not as has the cold. However, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel still mentioned him in his speech calling the former Grand Duke "a witness of the last century". Being born shortly after Luxembourg's very own abdication crisis surrounding his aunt, Grand Duke Jean witnessed the Grand Duchy changing from an agricultural backwater to what it is today.

More visuals of the event can be found at Wort in German, Wort in French and Tageblatt as well as RTL and the website of the cour. RTL also has a video (starting at 2:10).

Source: Wort

175 Years of Independence

Tonight, members of the Grand Ducal Family together with a number of officials such as the government and representatives of the parliament will attend a special festive ceremony to mark the 175th anniversary of the independence of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Grand Duke Henri is expected to hold a speech at the event that will also be attended by Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Grand Duke Jean, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. You will be able to watch a livestream of the event, which is going to start at 5pm, on the website of the government.

Already the Congress of Vienna in 1815 had granted Luxembourg formal autonomy. Being considered one of the strongest fortifications in Europe, several states had an interest in the newly created Grand Duchy. In the end, King Willem I of the Netherlands was given the country in exchange for the Principality of Orange-Nassau that went to the Prussian kings. Luxembourg also became a member of the German Condeferation and Prussian troops took over the fortress.

In 1830, however, much of the Luxembourgish population joined the Belgian revolution against Dutch rule and in 1839, through the Treaty of London, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was declared an independent state though its size was nearly cut into a half as the west of the country became newly independent Belgium's Province of Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of the Netherlands were ruled in personal union by King-Grand Duke Willem I and two of his descendants until 1890 when the House of Orange-Nassau died out in male line and Luxembourg fell to the Walram branch of the House of Nassau.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Meanwhile in Luxembourg

Photo: RTL
While both the Catholic and royal watching worlds were busy turning their eyes to the Vatican for the canonisations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was busy back home in the Grand Duchy. Like he always does around this time of the year - You can have a look back at 2012 and 2013 here and here. - the Hereditary Grand Duke participated in a presentation ceremony of master craftman's certificates and work promotion diplomas for exceptional work. The event was organised by the Chamber of Commerce and took place at the Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, who actually handed out the diplomas, was accompanied by the Minister of Labour, Employment and Immigration Nicolas Schmit.

A video of the event can be found at RTL (starting at 9:35) and pictures are available on the website of the cour.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

The Canonisation in Pictures

Some lovely but totally out of order pictures by Getty Images of today's canonisation of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. Methinks Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie looked great (for all the complaining I do, this girl can rock a veil), I love seeing a perfect baisemain (so kudos to Prince Louis) and that someone should send a booklet with pictures of the Grand Ducal and Princely Families to the international photographers so that they will recognise the Luxembourg and Liechtenstein royals in their entirety next time around (though thankfully a Luxembourgish photographer was around, so check out Tageblatt for his pictures)!

Canonisations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II **

Photo: Centro Televisivo Vaticano
Today, Pope Francis, in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI, canonised two of his predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. Among the hundreds of thousands of people at the Vatican and in the adjoining Roman streets attending the canonisation were also a number of royal, grand ducal and princely pilgrims.

As reported previously, the Luxembourgish delegation included Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, their sons Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien as well as their daughter-in-law Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. As always the Grand Duchess rocked the privilège du blanc, one of the world's most exclusive clubs though with Belgium's new(-ish) and third living Queen, Mathilde, it just got a little bigger. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie also brought along one of her nieces; I'm fairly certain it is Isaure de le Court, daughter of Jean-Charles and Isabelle de le Court, who is also the goddaughter of the Hereditary Grand Duchess as well as living in Luxembourg.
Photo: Centro Televisivo Vaticano
Liechtenstein, in turn, was represented by Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie as well as Prince Nikolaus, the Principality's non-resident ambassador to the Holy See, and Princess Margaretha who  as per our attentive reader Isabelle (Thank you!), humble me is still searching for pictures - brought along two of their children, Princess Maria-Anunciata and Prince Josef. (Seems like that finger crossing I asked of you helped.) 
Photo: Centro Televisivo Vaticano
Now, the first thing curious me noticed when seeing Princess Marie was that she was wearing black. This is the first time that the Princess of Liechtenstein attended a Vatican event since Princess Charlène of Monaco stepped out wearing white when meeting the Pope in January last year. After there was a bit of questioning going on, the Vatican's press office issued a statement that "in accordance with prescribed ceremonial of the Vatican for Catholic sovereigns, the princess was allowed to dress in white". 

As explained in the Luxarazzi 101 about the privilège du blanc, the privilege does not come on its own but is a privilege of a Most Catholic Monarch (Most Catholic Majesty) or their spouse. Now, I still find it hard to believe that the Prince of Monaco would be granted such a title while the Prince of Liechtenstein is not. (There hardly is a more Catholic monarch than the Prince of Liechtenstein who has used his very real power in the past to veto laws which went against his (Catholic) conscience.) As demonstrated by Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte in the past, having the privilège du blanc doesn't mean that you have to wear white but, for me at least, questions about the Princess of Monaco indeed having it remain.
Photos: Centro Televisivo Vaticano
Anyway, after the canonisation mass was over, Pope Francis also greeted Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa as well as the other heads of states personally in Saint Peter's Square.

Pictures of the canonisation are to be found all over the internet though finding the ones of your favourite royal can be a bit difficult. (Or just check out our more recent post The Canonisation in Pictures.) Centro Televisivo Vaticano has uploaded the canonisation mass to their Youtube channel if you want to (re-)watch the whole thing. (Or just skip ahead to the 13:49 and 14:50 marks to see the arrival of the Luxembourg and Liechtenstein royals.) Why not discuss the canonisation, the royal guests and the privilège du blanc over at The Royal Resource!?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy Birthday and Other News

Photo: Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Earlier today, one of the Principality's newspapers, the Liechtensteiner Vaterland, marked their 100th anniversary with a ceremonial act in Schaan. Among the well-wishers for the milestone achievement were no others than Prince Hans-Adam II and Hereditary Prince Alois themselves. Firstly published on April 25th, 1914 as the Oberrheinischen Nachrichten, the name of the newspaper was changed in 1936 and has since grown to become the largest paper in the Principality. Pictures of the event are available at Vaterland, naturally.

Also busy today was the only sister of the Prince, Princess Nora, who attended the the actual tournament of the Special Olympics European Floorball Masters as well as a meeting of the managing director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia Mary Davis with Liechtenstein's minister of sports, Marlies Amann-Marxer. Pictures of the tournament are available at Vaterland, as are pictures of the meeting.

Sources: Vaterland

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Flashback: Royal Engagement

Photo: Mondanite Magazine
On this very day exactly two years ago, news of the imminent engagement of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and the former Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy broke. A day later, the engagement was officially announced by the cour grand-ducale. Yet another day later, the future Hereditary Grand Duchess was officially introduced to the official Luxembourg and the public. The above picture shows the now Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple at one of their rare public outings prior to their engagement annoucement at a pre-wedding dinner of friends in Beirut, Lebanon.

Papal Canonisations *

About 800,000 pilgrims are expected to make their way to Rome this weekend to attend the double canonisation of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday (this Sunday, that is). Among the hundred of thousands of people will also be a few royals. As Luxembourgish Le Quotidien reports, the guest list will include the King and Queen of Spain, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium as well as Princes of Liechtenstein. 

However, there is no specification on who is meant exactly by "Princes of Liechtenstein" but I guess that Prince Nikolaus, the Principality's ambassador to the Holy See, and his wife Princess Margaretha are a rather save bet. In addition, there will probably either Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie, who attended the beatification of Pope John Paul II three years ago, or Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie, who were among the guests of the inauguration of Pope Francis last year. Let's keep our fingers crossed that maybe Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha will bring along some of their children like they did for Pope John Paul II's beatification. No word yet by the cour grand-ducale about any possible Luxembourgish attendants at the canonisation but it wouldn't be the most surprising move of the year if we'd find some Grand Ducal guests at the Vatican on Sunday

Note to self: First check the latest updates to the website of the cour grand-ducale before making a post... Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa as well as Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien will be among the guests of the canonisation as well. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume will stay home as he has another engagement planned for Sunday morning.

Source: Le Quotidien, Cour grand-ducale

Special Olympics Opened and Other News

Photo: Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Since yesterday and until Sunday, the European Floorball Masters Tournament of the Special Olympics are taking place in Liechtenstein and Austria. Last night, an opening ceremony, which was attended by Princess Marie and her sister-in-law Princess Nora, took place in Schaan. During the upcoming days, around 200 athletes from 16 countries will compete for the medals. Galleries of visuals of the opening ceremony can be found at Vaterland and Volksblatt.

Today and pictureless as I can't figure out the new website of the IKR just yet and am not sure whether they still have their photo service, Hereditary Prince Alois welcomed four new ambassadors at Schloss Vaduz. During their respective audiences, Linggawaty Hakim of Indonesia, Edgars Skuja of Latvia, Claudinah Ntini Ramosepele of South Africa and Ilir Gjoni of Albania handed over their letters of credence to Liechtenstein's regent.

Source: Volksblatt, Vaterland

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Château de Schengen

Photo: Nikilux / Wikimedia Commons
Pretty much everyone who has ever travelled through Europe has probably heard of Schengen Area, the group of currently 26 European countries that have abolished border controls between each other. But did you know that Schengen actually is a tiny wine-making village with around 400 inhabitants on the banks of the Moselle river in south-eastern Luxembourg? The Schengen Agreement was signed in said village on board the M.S. Princesse Marie-Astrid in 1985 and that's the reason why the tiny village gave its name to such an important treaty. Why I'm telling you all of this? Schengen also has a castle and that castle is on sale.

The first château de Schengen was built in 1390 in close vicinity to the Moselle river. Built as a fortified moated castle, the château survived in its original shape for a little more than 400 years. After a number of changes in ownership, industrialist Charles Joseph Collart bought the castle in 1793. Starting in 1812, his son Jean-Nicolas had most of the castle demolished to rebuild it as a residential manor house. Only one of the towers of the original castle remains to this day. However, Jean-Nicolas Collart had much of the material of the old castle used again in the new construction. Said medieval tower was put on the list of Luxembourgish national monuments in 1986.

Sketch by Victor Hugo
The castle's most famous visitor was French writer Victor Hugo who visited the Collarts in September 1871 and made a sketch of the château using coffee grounds. In 1939, Joseph Charles "Menny" Collart sold the castle to the congregation of Saint Elizabeth who occupied the castle during the following decades. However, the last three nuns moved out of the château into a nearby monastery in 2008.

Since April 2010, the castle has been rented out by the nuns and housed a hotel. Prior to the opening of the hotel, the castle was extensively renovated. However, the Congrégation des Sœurs de Ste-Elisabeth needs money now and thus has thus decided not to extend the lease contract. The hotel will thus close at the end of August.

If you have a few thousand or million bucks lying around - the prince is only on request - I suppose you can buy the castle; if not, just admire the views of this "1ha29 property including five buildings: the Castle, its annex, a further extension, the Marcus house and the Victor Hugo tower for a total of 5.100m² built area. The hotel part has 36 rooms of various sizes, 11 conference rooms (20 to 100 people), various reception rooms, a large terrace, and a restaurant offering Luxembourgish specialties: all overlooking a large baroque garden, within a park on the Moselle river and its vine-yards. In addition to this renovated part, an additional 29 rooms can be further developped."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Friday Flashback (on a Wednesday): Today in History

Photo: Sammlung Rüdiger Jost, Weilburg/Lahn
Today, April 23rd that is, in 1851, Duke Adolph of Nassau, who later went on to become Grand Duke of Luxembourg, married his second wife née Princess Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau. The couple, pictured above in 1852, had five children and are the great-great-grandparents of Grand Duke Henri.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Getting Ready

Photo: European Museum Academy
Kind of missed by moi cause I only discovered their Facebook page now, Princess Sibilla has been busy with the European Museum Academy (EMA) during the past few weeks. In late March, the European Museum Academy's board and experts met with the Micheletti Foundation to select 2014 Micheletti Award winners which will be announced later this week. (Picture here.) More recently the always lovely princess participated in the preparation meetings of the 2014 Micheletti Award ceremony and the annual EMA meeting which will take place in Glasgow. (Pictures here and here.)

Source: European Museum Academy

Pre-Easter Concert

On Wednesday last week, the vocal ensemble "Lyra" from St. Petersburg gave a concert at the parish church in Eschen and Princess Marie was one of the guests. The Russian vocal ensemble has given numerous concerts in Liechtenstein over the years and due to being there shortly before Easter, they sang mainly sacred music this time around. "Lyra" has about 25 members who are students and postgraduates of the Saint-Petersburg Conservatoire working for different choirs or musical theatres. Usually five or six of them sing at a concert; at the concert in Eschen, six singers were present.

A video of parts of the concert is available at 1 FL TV.

Source: Volksblatt

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday in Luxembourg *

Photo: Marc Wilwert / Luxemburger Wort /
It's Easter Monday and thus it was time for the traditional Eemaischen market in Luxembourg today. Among the thousands to crowd the streets of the Luxembourgish capital as well as the village of Nospelt were Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. While the Hereditary Grand Duke has been a frequent visitor to the event, the Hereditary Grand Duchess got her first (public) taste of a long-standing Luxembourgish tradition.

Photo: Alice Steyer-Fonck / RTL /
The most famous feature of the Eemaischen market are the Péckvillercher, little handmade earthenware whistles shaped like birds. Prime minister Xavier Bettel didn't miss the opportunity to gift such a Péckvillchen, appropriately with a crown on its head, to Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. Seemingly much to everyone's delight, he immediately tried it out. Originally a gift between lovers, Péckvillchen have become popular collector items.

The Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple was invited by the Comité Alstad association to visit the market which also includes music, dancing and other performances. They were accompanied by prime minister Xavier Bettel and his partner Destenay Gauthier as well as Luxembourg's mayor Lydie Polfer. All of them were welcomed by the president and general secretary of the Comité Alstad Jean-Mathias Goerens and Claude Esch at the Fëschmaart at 10:30am this morning before touring the Eemaischen together.

More pictures of today are available at Wort in German, Wort in French and Wort in English as well as Tageblatt, L'essentiel in French, L'essentiel in German, RTL, Manuel Dias and the cour grand-ducale. RTL covered the Eemaischen in their French evening news with the Luxembourgish version also available.

Source: Wort, Cour grand-ducale

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Fabergé's Apple Blossom Egg

Photo: Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum
In our Luxarazzi 101 series we - admittedly rather rarely - like to branch out to topics not strictly Grand Ducal or Princely but instead in some interesting relation to Luxembourg or Liechtenstein and today is one of those days because there's hardly anything that says Princely Grand Ducal Royal Imperial Easter more than a Fabergé egg. Admittedly though, this one isn't one of the famous imperial eggs, however, it is still beautiful and sparkly, I like beautiful and sparkly things, and I hope you do too: Happy Easter everyone!

The very first Fabergé egg was crafted in 1885 for Tsar Alexander III of Russia, who had wanted to give his wife, Empress Maria Fedorovna, a special gift for Easter. After seeing the delight of the Empress after receiving the egg, the Tsar decided to commission another egg for the following year from the company of the famous jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé and thus a tradition was born. After Tsar Alexander III's death, his son Tsar Nicholas II continued the tradition by giving eggs to both his widowed mother and his own wife. Until the end of the Russian empire, the imperial collection thus grew to contain 50 eggs, each of them including a little surprise.

Fabergé's eggs, however, weren't only popular with the Romanov family but also with Russian industrialist Alexander Kelch, who commissioned the jeweller to make seven eggs for his wife Varvara Kelch-Bazanova. One of these eggs, the Apple Blossom Egg, is today owned by the state of Liechtenstein.

Also known as the Jade Chest Egg, the Apple Blossom Egg was made in 1901 in St. Petersburg of nephrite, green and red gold, silver diamonds, matt pink and white enamel as well as velvet lining. The nephrite is used for the egg's shell which is adorned by golden twisted branches. Made out of red and green gold, the branches feature spreading and interlacing twigs with knots, veins and patches of moss as well as golden leaves. The egg's most striking feature are the blossoms, which are made out of pink foiled rose cut diamonds mounted in silver and surrounded by pink and white enamel panels. Unfortunately, the egg's surprise is lost. Measuring 11.5 centimetres in height and 14 centimetres in length, the Apple Blossom Egg is one of the largest Fabergé eggs ever made and has, in the past, even been mistaken for an imperial egg. Even though it is not an imperial one, the egg is still rumoured to be worth 30 million pounds.

How such an egg came into the possession of the Liechtenstein state? In November 1996, Liechtenstein art collector Adulf Peter Goop purchased the egg at a Sotheby's auction after it had gone through a number of different hands after the end of the Russian empire. In June 2010 about a year prior to his death, Goop left his art collection containing some 4000 pieces of art to the Liechtenstein state. Among the collection were around 2300 Easter eggs from all over the world, including Fabergé's Apple Blossom Egg, which is currently exhibited at Harrod's in London. Once the London exhibition is over, the egg will return to the Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum in Vaduz where it is part of a permanent exhibition.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Flashback: Eemaischen Through the Years

With Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie visiting the Eemaischen on Monday, I thought we'd have a look back on previous visits by the Grand Ducal Family to the traditional Easter market in Luxembourg City.
Photo: René Weydert / Luxemburger Wort /
Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte as well as her four oldest children (from left to right) Princess Margaretha, Grand Duke Henri, Prince Jean and Archduchess Marie-Astrid looking at some Péckvillercher in 1962.
H. Kohn / Luxemburger Wort /
(From left to right) Prince Guillaume, Princess Margaretha, Prince Jean, Archduchess Marie-Astrid and Grand Duke Henri visiting the Eemaischen together with a nanny in 1967.
Lé Sibenaler / Luxemburger Wort /
Grand Duchess Charlotte at the traditional Easter Monday market in 1975...
Photo: Jean Weyrich / Luxemburger Wort /
...and a grown-up then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri at the Eemaischen four years later, in 1979.
Photo: Thierry Martin
The infant Prince Guillaume trying out a Péckvillchen at the Eemaischen in 1983 which he visited together with his parents, then Hereditary Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa.
Photo: Lé Sibenaler / Luxemburger Wort /
A few years and sons later, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa visited the market together with Prince Guillaume, Prince Félix and Prince Louis in 1990...
...and five years later, in 1995, it's time for Princess Alexandra and Prince Sébastien to try out the little bird whistles at the Eemaischen.

Easter Plans of the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple

Photo: Lé Sibenaler / Luxemburger Wort /
You remember Eemaischen, the event taking place every year on Easter Monday in Luxembourg City, I told you about last year? Lucky you, because you already know what I'm talking about when I tell you that Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will visit the Eemaischen on Monday. The couple was invited by the Comité Alstad association and will arrive at the market at 10:30am.

In short, Eemaischen is a market taking place in both Luxembourg City as well as the village of Nospelt. The most famous feature of the market are the Péckvillecher, little handmade earthenware whistles shaped like birds. Originally, made from left-over red-brown clay by the potters of Nospelt, the little birds were traditionally given to each other by lovers and are now popular with the children of the Grand Duchy. (For the longer version of the history of Eemaischen, have a look here.)

Source: Chronicle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Luxembourg's New National Day

Luxembourg's government has made significant changes to the country's national day celebrations. A few months ago, prime minister Xavier Bettel announced that changes were to be made to make the the national day more "civil" (though I believe he used the wrong word as civil would probably mean more non-military when he actually meant non-religious a.k.a. secular). 

In order to achieve that, a new ceremony at the Grand Théâtre will be hosted in the morning instead of the traditional Te Deum. The ceremony will include speeches by the Prime Minister and the President of the Chamber of Deputies as well as the award of decoration to outstanding citizens. This new ceremony will be followed by the traditional military parade. The Te Deum has been postponed to the evening hours according to Bettel's statement. As the gala dinner for foreign dignitaries usually takes place in the actual evening hours, I guess that the late afternoon is meant. No word yet on which events will be attended by the Grand Ducal Family.

Source: Wort, Tageblatt

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Friday Flashback (on a Wednesday): Birthday Boys at Cabasson

Photo: Corbis
Today, the Grand Ducal Family isn't celebrating one but two birthdays. While Grand Duke Henri turns 59 years old, his youngest son Prince Sébastien is celebrating his 22nd birthday. The picture above shows the two birthday boys during a family holiday at Cabasson in southern France.

About Liechtenstein-Czech Relations...

Photo: 1 FL TV
The day before yesterday, the Liechtenstein-Czech historical commission in collaboration with the Historical Society for the Principality of Liechtenstein presented two new books. Among the guests for the book presentation in Vaduz was Hereditary Prince Alois.

The first book entitled "Liechtensteinisch-tschechische Beziehungen in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Synthesebericht der Liechtensteinisch-Tschechischen Historikerkommission" (Liechtenstein-Czech relation in history and presence, synthesis report of the Liechtenstein-Czech historical commission) was written by eight historians as a final report about the relation of Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic after three years of work. As you may recall, the Prince of Liechtenstein as well as 37 other Liechtenstein citizens lost their Czechoslovakian properties on the basis of the Beneš decrees after the end of the Second World War as they were deemed German because of speaking German. Only in 2009, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein formed official diplomatic relations and a year later a historical commission was installed by the two countries.

The second book called "Die Liechtenstein und die Kunst" (The Liechtensteins and the art) includes 18 lectures given by historians at a symposium in Brno about the passion for art of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein and their contribution to art in the former Bohemia.

A video of the book presentation is available at 1 FL TV (starting at 5:32).

Source: Historischer Verein

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein

Hereditary Prince Alois is probably the most (publicly) busy member of the Princely Family and so I thought it was time to shed some light on Liechtenstein's regent who is simply called 'Louis' by family and friends. Named for his paternal great-grandfather Prince Alois (1869-1955), he was born on June 11th, 1968, at around 5:30am in Zürich, Switzerland, as oldest son of Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie. Ten days later, he was christened on the name Alois Philipp Maria at the parish church of Vaduz by the Archbishop of Chur, Johannes Vonderach. Prince Alois' godfather is his uncle Prince Philipp.

Source: SR
Together with his parents, the then hereditary princely couple, his three younger siblings, Prince Max, Prince Constantin and Princess Tatjana, as well as his grandparents, Prince Franz Josef II and Princess Gina, he grew up at Schloss Vaduz above Liechtenstein's capital by the same name. Prince Alois and his siblings were the first members of the Princely Family to receive their school education entirely within the Principality. Just like his father had done, Prince Alois went to the local primary school Ebenholz. Between 1979 and 1987, he attended the Liechtensteinisches Gymnasium in Vaduz where he was class mates with Liechtenstein's former prime minister Klaus Tschütscher. In 1987, he passed his Matura - the Liechtenstein version of the A-Levels exams - with a literary-historical focus.

Having finished school a year earlier than usual in Liechtenstein as he was put into school a year earlier, Prince Alois, at the time still second in line to the throne after his own father, decided to take a gap year and, due to personal interest, he entered the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst to receive an officer's training like his uncle Prince Wenzel had done a few years earlier. To make such a move possible, a special agreement had to be signed between Prince Franz Josef II and Queen Elizabeth II as Liechtenstein's army was already disbanded in 1868 for financial reasons, after having probably been the first army in the world's history to come back from a war with more men than they had left with during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

Photo: SR
After receiving his commission as second lieutenant, he served for six months in the Coldstream Guards in Hong Kong and London before enrolling as a law student at the University of Salzburg in October 1988. According to his own account, Prince Alois had the choice between studying in the German-speaking part of Switzerland or in Austria as both countries have similar legal systems to the one in Liechtenstein though he felt that Switzerland was just too close to home.

In November 1989, Prince Alois became the Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein upon the death of his paternal grandfather, Prince Franz Josef II. On national day 1990, he took an oath on the constitution alongside his father, the new Fürst Hans-Adam II. 

Probably around Christmas 1992, Hereditary Prince Alois got engaged to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, daughter of Duke Max and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria and great-great-granddaughter of the last Bavarian King, Ludwig III. The couple had firstly met seven years earlier at the birthday party of a mutual friend and their engagement was officially announced on January 12th, 1993. 

Photo: EinTracht
In the following spring, the Hereditary Prince graduated with a master's degree from Salzburg university. His dissertation dealt with the topic of a nation's right to self-determination. Hereditary Prince Alois then did a couple of internships and was likely also busy planning his own wedding which took place on July 3rd in Vaduz.

In September 1993, the newly weds moved to London where Hereditary Prince Alois worked in an accountant firm. In May 1995, Hereditary Princess Sophie gave birth to the couple's first child, Prince Joseph-Wenzel (who has simply been known as Prince Wenzel even by the newspapers for basically his entire life). He was followed by Princess Marie-Caroline in 1996, Prince Georg in 1999 and Prince Nikolaus, who was born in 2000.

About three years after moving to the British capital, in July 1996 to be exact, the young family moved back to Liechtenstein where they continue to live at Schloss Vaduz. At around the same time, Hereditary Prince Alois started to work in the different branches of the family's own companies (such as the LGT Group) in order to get to know them better. Allegedly, the original plan was to move abroad once again though on national day 2003 Prince Hans-Adam II announced his intention to hand over large parts of his powers to his oldest son. 

Photo: EinTracht
A year later on national day and after quitting his day job, Hereditary Prince Alois was appointed regent according to Liechtenstein's constitution which states that "the Prince Regnant may entrust the next Heir apparent of his House who has attained majority with the exercise of the sovereign powers held by him as his representative [...] in preparation for the Succession."

And so, since 2004, Hereditary Prince Alois has been exercising the role of the head of state of Liechtenstein and has thus been the one to represent the Principality at official functions both at home and abroad. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Durchlaucht! (Plus, Another Interview)

Photo: Paul Trummer / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt /
As we mentioned earlier, Princess Marie is celebrating her 74th birthday today and as it is tradition in the Principality a reception was hosted at Schloss Vaduz to celebrate the occasion. Among the guests for the reception which was also attended by Prince Hans-Adam II and Hereditary Prince Alois were the prime minister and the other members of Liechtenstein's government, the vice president of parliament, the archbishop and the mayor of Vaduz.

Galleries of visuals can be found at Vaterland and Volksblatt. 1 FL TV has a video.

P.S. If you are into finance and banking, you might want to check out an interview Princess Marie's second son Prince Max gave to Neue Presse on Saturday.

Friday Flashback (on a Monday): Beatification of John Paul II

Princess Marie, who is celebrating her birthday today, talking to Grand Duke Henri at the beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II on May 1st, 2011. Other Luxarazzi regulars at the Vatican that day were their respective spouses, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa and Prince Hans-Adam II, as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Louis, Prince Nikolaus, Princess Margaretha, Princess Maria-Anunciata and Princess Marie-Astrid.

P.S. Have you joined The Royal Resource yet?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Last Goodbye

Photo: ZVG
As you might have caught, Liechtenstein private banker Jürgen Frick was murdered earlier this week by a fund manager and today he was laid to rest in Balzers, one of the eleven municipalities of the Principality. Among the mourners at the funeral taking place earlier today was Hereditary Prince Alois as well as Liechtenstein's government. Already yesterday, Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie attended a memorial mass for the deceased. The suspected murderer is believed to have committed suicide in the Rhine river shortly after the crime though, as his body hasn't been found yet, the Principality's political institutions as well as the Princely Family have been put under tight security.

Source: SF, Volksblatt

Friday, April 11, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Turquoise Tiara and Necklaces

Photos: Tom Wagner, RTL, Getty Images
So, you know that newest Point de Vue I told you about yesterday? It also included some interesting new information about one of the tiaras of the Grand Ducal Collection that we generally don't know much about. While it still does not cover it's entire history simply because it isn't even known to those who are in the know - a.k.a. the members of the Grand Ducal Family and their employees - it does shed some new light on a tiara, its accompanying necklace and an extra necklace that have caused much speculation.

Photos: PPE
In 2007, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa surprised royal jewel watchers when she wore a previously unseen turquoise and diamond necklace for the return dinner of an outgoing state visit to Belgium. A year later, that surprise grew even bigger when she was spotted with a turquoise and diamond parure. (What's a parure? May I redirect you to The Court Jeweller?!) Since then, she has sent royal jewel lovers in overdrive: Was this a previously unseen heirloom tiara? Where did it come from, the Belgian or the Luxembourgish side of the family? Or was it a new acquisition, maybe on the occasion of the Grand Ducal Couple's wedding anniversary in 2006? A while later, in 2010 to be exact, Princess Tessy wore the turquoise and diamond tiara for national day showing us that it wasn't just a one time thing.

According to Point de Vue, the story behind turquoise jewellery goes as following: In 2006, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa handed over a turquoise and diamond tiara and a necklace in the same design as well as another turquoise and diamond necklace to Muriel Prieur, curator of the Grand Ducal collections, as the Grand Duchess wished for them to be brought in a wearable state once again and also for earrings to be made to accompany the pieces. 

Photo: PdV
[Quick note: Unfortunately, it isn't specified where Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa found them though with royals pretty much everything is possible. Have you heard the story about Queen Silvia, the cupboard and the cut steel tiara? I mean, I guess those palaces and castles have an awful lot of cupboards to hide stuff in, though you'd think that the original owner would have noticed that something went missing... #RichPeopleProblems]

Anyway, Muriel Prieur has determined that the tiara and the accompanying necklace date back to the 1830's though not much more is known about it apart from that. The article does not mention anything about the bigger necklace and when it was likely made though upon closer inspection, I have to say that certain elements do remind me of the Empire Tiara which has been in the family since 1829. While there are no indications of the turquoises being worn by other Grand Duchesses prior to the current one, Grand Duchess Charlotte apparently already owned the pieces, so they definitely do not seem to be a new acquisitions but rather Nassau family heirlooms.