Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This and That

Earlier today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume visited the company ELTH in Steinsel. After a presentation about the enterprise, he toured the facilities of the manufacturer of various electromechanical components for the automotive and household appliances industries. Thus far, there don't seem to be any pictures of the visit available online yet.

Last night, an exhibition featuring works by French artist Pal Sarkozy was opened at the Landesmuseum in Liechtenstein. Among the guests for the opening of the exhibition, which will run until January 25, was no other than Hereditary Prince Alois himself. More information though not Luxarazzi-relevant pictures can be found at Volksblatt.

Already on Friday last week, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were present for a gala dinner in favour of the Fondation Kräizbierg. The Hereditary Grand Duke has been long involved with the foundation that helps to integrate people with handicaps into society and the job market. He became the Fondation Kräizbierg's honorary president in in March 2011 after serving as its actual president for more than ten years. Unforntunately though, no pictures of the event are available yet.

Turns out I was right when I said a few days ago that there like were more ambassadors who presented their letters of credence to the Grand Duke on last Thursday. In addition to Peadar Carpenter from Ireland, there were Carlos Maria de Lojendio y Pardo Manuel de Villena of Spain, Timo Ranta of Finland, Roberto Flores-Bermudez of Honduras as well as Mimoza Ahmetaj of Kosovo.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Diamond Honeysuckle Tiara

Delving deeper into the Liechtenstein jewel collection one will inevitably come to this goody, a diamond tiara owned by one of the junior branches of the family. As we have pointed out time and time again, the Princely Family is a pretty large family while our blog's coverage only focuses on one part of the family, the descendants of Prince Franz Josef II, father of the current sovereign prince. One thing all these branches of the family have in common is one ancestor, Prince Johann I.

The tiara is made of diamonds set in three large honeysuckle motifs with two seperate diamonds set between the different honeysuckles. Who exactly the owner of this tiara is, I cannot tell you. There is visuals evidence of this tiara being worn by the late Princess Karoline (1912-1996), her daughter-in-law Princess Maria-Theresia as well as other ladies of their family branch.

Born a Countess of Ledebur-Wicheln, Princess Karoline was the maternal aunt of the Princess Marie as well as - in this connection more importantly - the wife of Prince Johannes Franz of Liechtenstein, who was a first cousin of Prince Franz-Josef II. Both the wife and some of the daughters of Princess Karoline's oldest son, Prince Eugen-Hartmann, have also sported this diamond sparkler at their respective weddings, the last one of them being his youngest daughter, Princess Sophie, at her 2012 wedding to Count Clemens Hoyos.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prince Guillaume Visits Romania

Photo: Daniel Angelescu
Prince Guillaume visited Bucharest yesterday where he attended a dinner hosted by "The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Romania" held at the Athénée Palace Hilton. Prior to it, he was welcomed by Crown Princess Margareta of Romania and her nephew Prince Nicholas at the Elisabeta Palace where Prince Guillaume also planted a tree at the Memorial Tree Park. The brother of Grand Duke Henri is the president of the Luxembourgish version of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, the Mérite Jeunesse, while their father is the patron. Crown Princess Margareta is the patron of the Romanian award.

A number of visuals of both events can be found on the website of the Romanian Royal Family.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Visiting Remich

Photo: Marc Schoentgen / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie completed their second to last visit on their of the Grand Duchy's 15 Centre de Développement et d'Attraction (CDA) when they visited Remich in the south-east of the country. The only visit left now is the one to Wiltz.

Photo: Marc Schoentgen / Wort.lu
At 10am this morning, the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple arrived to the city on the left bank of the Moselle river. After being welcomed at the local town hall by Remich's mayor Henri Kox, the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess made their way to the community centre Al Schoul where they viewed a photo and video exhibition about the flood history of the town entitled "When the Moselle comes". Afterwards, they visited the local retirement home St. Joseph to have a chat with the elderly.

After a change of clothes into some better suited attires, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie visited the Institut Viti-Vinicole, the Grand Duchy's viticultural institute, where they learned all kinds of things related to Luxembourgish wine and sparkling wine production and even got the chance to little harvesting themselves. The visit was rounded off with a wine degustation of local products.

As always, the lovely people of Wort have more visuals of the day, as does RTL.

Royally Speaking with Team Luxarazzi

Don't worry, our Royally Speaking series isn't over yet as we still have a few interviews in the pipeline, which we will continue to publish over the coming weeks, and who knows, maybe there will also be an occasional Royally Speaking in the future after that. However, we thought it might be a fun idea for you to interview us (because interviewing yourself doesn't sound quite as exciting). So send us your questions on Twitter @Luxarazzi, on Facebook or via e-mail (lux-arazzi at gmail dot com), we will answer (almost) everything.

To kick things off, I asked all those who have contributed to our blog more than once during the past few weeks and months, to each give an answer to the question all of our Royally Speaking interviews have in common - "If you could invite six royals (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would find an invitation in their mailbox..." - and added a little extra bit, "...and where would you like your dinner to take place?" (And of course I'll also answer it first up.)

Svenja (a.k.a. Sydney)
First of all I’d like to apologise for asking this question in the first place as I now understand how incredibly difficult it is to just name six people in royal history and present you would like to have dinner with. However, here’s my list:
I wouldn’t be Luxarazzi without inviting someone Luxembourgish and after some consideration – mostly between Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide and Grand Duchess Charlotte – I decided to go with Prince Felix instead as rather little is known about him and I would like to hear his stories about being one of the 24 children of Duke Robert of Parma, a soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, a man marrying a female head of state during an era when even equal rights of men and women were still far away, the family during the Second World War and so on.
Catherine the Great
My second invitation would go to Catherine the Great. I don’t know as much about Romanov history as I would like to but I certainly find her to be the most interesting family member. Her rise from a princess of a minor German princely family (Anhalt-Zerbst) to Tsarina of All the Russias is simply fascinating. 
Number three on my list would be Electress Sophie of Hanover for the simple reason that she was the first historical royal I ever got interested in. She was a woman of great intellect and curiosity who was friends with German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who greatly shaped the region of southern Lower Saxony where I am originally from. 
Invitation number four would go to Otto von Habsburg, who lived an incredibly interesting life spanning almost a 100 years of European history that he was very much part of. Born as the first son of the last Austro-Hungarian Emperor and thus Crown Prince two years before the beginning of the First World War, he fought both Nazism and Communism and was a keen supporter of the European idea and European integration. 
I would also like to invite Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, uncle of the current King and former Crown Prince and a man of great intellect who has dedicated his life to inter-faith communication and cooperation as well as several humanitarian projects. Also, I would like to hear what really went on within in Jordanian royal family around the time of the death of King Hussein if His Royal Highness cared to share. 
Charlotte & Felix
In the end, I decided to go with yet another Luxembourgish guest for my last invitation, Grand Duchess Charlotte. I considered inviting someone from Liechtenstein - maybe Prince Johann II (though he was unsociable and I'm not sure how much fun he would be to hang out with) or Princess Gina (who certainly was much more sociable) - but in the end the chance to meet Madame la Grand-Duchesse was simply too hard to pass up on.
The choice of venue for my dinner is just as hard to chose as the people who would get in invitation. As I couldn't decide between my favourite European castles and palaces and as I wanted it to be something new (hopefully, as I don't know all places they've been to in the past) and exciting for all guests, I decided to go for the Umaid Bhawan Palace, home of the Majaraja of Jodhpur, which I believe features an interesting mixture of Western and Eastern as well as old and new styles.

Nichole (a.k.a. Carolina)
My first choice would have to be Empress Theodora of Byzantium (wife of Justinian I). This may not come as a shock to the readers who know that both Svenja and I are passionate about history but others may be puzzled by my desire to include this ancient royal figure in the guest list for my royal fantasy dinner. I am fascinated by the empress' rise from the lowest and possibly most degenerate parts of society to the beloved wife of the Emperor. I can think of many women who, like Theodora, worked as an actress in a time when performing rowdy acts on stage was merely the day job of women who were expected to provide sexual entertainment for those who could supply money, gifts or favor after the show. Certainly, she is not the first actress-prostitute to catch the eye of a powerful royal, nor the last. Although, she had left this life behind by the time she wed the emperor it is an important part of her history. Tragically, some historians argue that she even served as a child prostitute in brothels serving the lowest of low clients. She may be a controversial figure but she is no less extraordinary. 
Princess Grace
My next choice would be Monaco's second American consort, Princess Grace of Monaco. While I don't view her through rose glasses assuming she was the perfect princess I do admire her. 
My third invitation would go to Catherine the Great. Her rise from minor German princess to Russian empress and autocrat is an important part of history. She was a formidable woman. Her life and the choices she made are still influencing the world today. She would make a fascinating guest. 
As Svenja says, this wouldn't be Luxarazzi without Luxembourgish guests. I could not pass up the chance to dine with the mysterious and maligned Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide. I have a soft spot since she has been tarred with grossly inaccurate histories that portray her as a villainess. 
My last choices are difficult and I find it impossible to settle on just two additional guests. I would have to invite Prince El Hassan of Jordan because he is an incredibly intelligent man who has dedicated his life to interfaith cooperation. 
I would also love to have the chance to talk to Prince Felix about his youth and his role as consort, advisor, father, and soldier during a pivotal time in the history of Luxembourg and the world. 
It is nearly as difficult to select a location to host such esteemed figures as to select them. With so many palaces, castles and monuments that overwhelm with their beauty and history the choices are overwhelming. Since I love Christmas and because I would like to share some of my region with these regal guests I would have the dinner at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. The largest private home in the US, it is magnificently decorated for Christmas each year and set in fabulous grounds with stunning views. I think that even guests known for their grand homes would feel comfortable dining at Biltmore.

Bonnie (a.k.a. B)
Elizabeth Feodorovna
I suspect my choices will be pretty unusual, but I had to make a list based on what really interested me. All of my "guests" come from the past, some further back than others. My own background is as a medieval scholar, so I dug pretty deep into history for some of these: Richard III of England (since I'd like to hear his side of the story), Macbeth (to separate the real man from Shakespeare's character), and if I'm allowed one wild card it would be Henry I of England's illegitimate son Robert Fitzroy who became the 1st earl of Gloucester. His career trajectory in the ensuing conflict between Stephen and Maud, with Robert probably being the best choice overall, is fascinating to me. As for women, I've selected some that I think balance out the rather medieval intensity of the men: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia (who became a saint; I'm Orthodox, and I like the idea of at least one saint at the table!); Agatha, the wife of Edward the Exile (so she can clear up for historians what her origins really were; she also happens to be my ancestor); and Princess Olga of Kiev (just a fascinating lady all around and another of my ancestors). As for location, I'm choosing Culzean Castle in Scotland for sheer beauty and because it seems like it would fit the rather dramatic personalities of several of the guests.

Kim-Lisa (a.k.a. Luxfan)
Archduchess Elisabeth
If I could invite six royals to a dinner party I would invite Empress Augusta (wife of German Emperor Wilhelm I.) because I would like to know more about her life at the so called “Musenhof” at Weimar where she met Goethe and because she lived several years in my hometown and influenced it a lot. I would also invite Queen Friederike of Hanover (sister of Queen Luise of Prussia) to learn more about her ‘scandalous’ life with three husbands as well as her relationship to her sister Luise. Number three on my list is Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria (the daughter of Archduke Rudolf) who became a socialist in her later life and broke up with her royal ancestors. The next person on my list is the Duke of Edinburgh, just because I think he has such an interesting life with Queen Elizabeth on his side as well as you can have a good laugh with him. I would also invite King Ludwig II of Bavaria, only because I love his castles so much and his death was such a tragedy. Last but not least I would choose King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan, because he is the youngest of all monarchs right now and his country seems to be one of the most beautiful ones in the world. My dinner would take place at Stolzenfels Castle, a very beautiful 19th century palace in Gothic Revival style in my hometown Koblenz.

Prince Leopold
I'd choose Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany to talk about living with his haemophilia illness and what that eventually meant to his family and the rest of Europe; Princess Marie d'Orleans (wife of Prince Valdemar of Denmark) to talk about her political views and overall very unconventional life; Queen Isabella I of Spain to talk about the enormous changes she and Ferdinand brought to Spain, particularly in finances and the re-conquering of the country; Grand Duchess Charlotte, particularly to talk about the 1919 referendum and the difficulties faced by Luxembourg during World War II; and King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to hear his feelings on the abdication, war secrets, and his thoughts on the break up of the British Empire. We'd meet at Schloss Friedrichshof in Kronberg im Taunus because I like the story behind the construction of the house. 

So, which of our choices are you most interested in meeting or is it someone else entirely? Drop us your list of people you would like to invite in the comments below and don't forget to send us those questions you have always wanted to ask!

Spot the Royal!

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Let's play another round of spot the royal: Hereditary Prince Alois, Hereditary Princess Sophie and Prince Nikolaus welcomed around 90 regular blood donors at Schloss Vaduz and you can find all three of them in the picture above. The annual event to honour the blood donors is usually hosted by Princess Marie, who was prevented this year. Instead, it was hosted by Hereditary Princess Sophie, who will become President of the Liechtenstein Red Cross at the end of this year anyway, with the support of her husband as well as Prince Nikolaus, who is the Red Cross' international representative.

Source: Vaterland

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hereditary Couple at Euroweek

Photo: Euroweek 2014
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie attended the opening session of the Euroweek 2014 this morning. As its name suggests, the Euroweek is an annual meeting of students and teachers from member countries of the European Union who gather to experience the spirit of unified Europe by debating about and working together on Europe related issues. This year's meeting was organised by the Athénée de Luxembourg, the Grand Duchy's oldest high school. More pictures are available at Lëtzebuerger Journal.

In other news today, Grand Duke Henri received the letter of credence of the new Irish ambassador to Luxembourg, Peadar Carpenter. Knowing how these things go, there were probably also a few other new ambassadors.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two Engagements for the Grand Duke

Already on Monday, Grand Duke Henri attended the 25th anniversary concert of the Solistes Européens Luxembourg (SEL) at the Philharmonie Luxembourg. Under the direction of Christoph König, the orchestra played Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World", Ludwig van Beethoven's "Tripelkonzert" and Marco Pütz's "Strömungen". 

Earlier this evening, the Grand Duke celebrated yet another anniversary: the 150th of the Bulletin of the Society of Medical Sciences. On the occasion, Luxembourg's head of state attended an academic session at the Centre Hospitalier. Visuals of it are available on the website of the cour.

Convent Visits Liechtenstein

Yesterday, the convent of Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland visited Liechtenstein. The tightly packed schedule of the nine monks and five brethren also included meeting Prince Nikolaus at the Principality's parliament where the country's non-resident ambassador to the Holy See gave them a presentation about the seperation of state and church in Liechtenstein. The convent also celebrated a mass at the chapel of Schloss Vaduz.

Source: Volksblatt

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Royally Speaking with Moniek of History of Royal Women

The one in which I talked to Moniek of the History of Royal Women blog as part of our Royal Speaking series.

Your blog, as its name suggests, mainly deals with royal women in history, news related to them, as well as chronicling your visits to various royal sights. Are these your main interest when it comes to royalty or are there any others not featured on your own blog?
I would say they are my main interests, I do keep up with most of the current royal but I don't like writing about them. Instead I have a bookcase filled with English language books about royal women and I enjoy writing about both the well-known and the not so well known royal women.

Was it with either history or architecture that your interest in royals started or vice versa (first royals, then history)?
My fascination began after watching the Tudors tv series. I began researching Anne Boleyn and from her read first about the other English queens and later also royal women from other countries and dynasties. I find the castles interesting because it's a piece of hem left behind. As if you can walk in their footsteps.

Is there a special period in history and its women you are especially interested in and if yes, what is it that fascinates you most about this certain time period?
My initial fascination with Anne Boleyn still lingers. It was such a turbulent time in history with the reformation and later the ascension of the first English female monarchs.

If you could be one historical royal figure for a day, who would you like to be for 24 hours?
Staying in he Tudor period, I think I would go for Mary I. I believe she is a very misunderstood figure and does not deserve the nickname 'Bloody Mary'.

Last but most certainly not least, if you could invite six royals (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would find an invitation in their mailbox?
Hmm this is a difficult one!
Most certainly Anne Boleyn, simply because I have so many questions.
Christina of Sweden
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Empress Matilda
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Marie Antoinette
- All of them are interesting women who played a part in history!

Nelson Mandela – From Prisoner to President

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Earlier today, Grand Duke Henri visited the „Nelson Mandela – From Prisoner to President“ exhibition about the former South African President who died last year at the Musée National de la Résistance in Esch-sur-Alzette. In December 2013, the Grand Duke was among the tens of thousands of people to attend the memorial service in Johannesberg after expressing his tribute to the fighter against Apartheid in a letter to the current South African President a few days prior.

More pictures from the Grand Duke's visit to the Mandela exhibition are available at Wort.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Grand Duke Celebrates with Queen Silvia

Photo: Kungahuset
Last Friday, Grand Duke Henri made a quick trip to Geneva in Switzerland where he celebrated the 20th anniversary of Mentor International, a non-profit organisation working to prevent drug use and promote health as well as well-being amongst youth, alongside Queen Silvia of Sweden.

Source: Kungahuset

Vienna Masters

Photo: Stefano Grasso / Longines Global Champions Tour
Once again the LGT Bank Austria was the main sponsor of the Vienna Masters, an international 5-star equestrian tournament, which took place near Vienna over the past few days. Prince Philipp and Princess Marie (as in Prince Constantin's wife) were on hand to hand out the winner's prize to German rider Ludger Beerbaum on Chaman!. The LGT Group has sponsored equestrian events for many years as "horse breeding and riding represent a cultural heritage which goes back thousands of years, yet which at the same time is modern". As past experiences, see here and here, have shown us, I wouldn't be surprised if either or both of them also brought along some family.

More pictures are available on the website of the Global Champions Tour.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Grand Duke Celebrates (Not Only) His "Heemecht"

Photo: Tania Feller / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Yesterday, Grand Duke Henri visited Ettelbruck to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ever performance of Luxembourg's national anthem, Ons Heemecht. Before participating in an academic session, he unveiled a memorial to honour the first performance of the anthem on June 5, 1864, in Ettelbruck. The 3.30 metres high hand statue features the mouth prints of 550 people of Ettelbruck, the number of people who first sang Ons Heemecht together 150 years ago.

Source: Wort

Luxarazzi 101: Gartenpalais Liechtenstein

This one, the Gartenpalais, might just be my favourite of all the Liechtenstein palaces in Vienna. Historically the garden palace owned by the Princely Family has simply been known as Palais Liechtenstein. Since a few years, however, the Family has started to use the name Gartenpalais as to avoid confusion with another family-owned palace in Vienna, the Stadtpalais. As confusion is never our friend, we’ll conveniently also use the name Gartenpalais to describe the Baroque palace located in 9th Viennese district of Alsergrund.
All pictures: Liechtenstein. The Princely Collection, Vaduz-Vienna.
The history of the palace starts in 1687 when Prince Johann Adam I bought land in the Rossau from the Auersperg family. Located just outside of the city walls of Vienna, a self-contained model estate named Lichtenthal, one of the rare examples of large-scale Baroque urban planning in Vienna, was developed on said and additional parcels of land. Lichtenthal included the Gartenpalais as well as the Sommerpalais located on the opposite side of the garden.

The original Gartenpalais
A year later, Prince Johann Adam I invited different architects to come up with plans for a palace and likely due to his love for Italian artists, the Prince chose the plans of Domenico Egidio Rossi of the Bologna school. Starting in 1692, his plans of a palatial urban villa in the Roman style, were carried out by Luccanese architect Domenico Martinelli. The palace's shell was finished around 1700, however, works on the palace's interior continued for many years.

Prince Johann Adam I wanted to commission his favourite Italian painter Marcantonio Franceschini for the interior decoration of the Gartenpalais but the man from Bologna couldn't be convinced to travel to Vienna. Instead Johann Michael Rottmayr from - in difference to Bologna - nearby Salzburg created the fresco cycles in all areas of the ground floor as well as the two staircases starting in 1705. However following water damage, these frescos were covered up by stucco-framed oil paintings of Antonio Bellucci during the 19th century and only rediscovered and subsequently reconstructed during the early 2000's.

The Sala Terrena hall
While the Prince could not convince Marcantonio Franceschini to come to Vienna, there are several oil paintings by the Italian artist that were integrated into the ceiling panels of several rooms.  Renowned stuccoer Santino Bussi created rich stucco decoration throughout the entire Gartenpalais. The palace's biggest room, the Herkulessaal or Hercules Hall, was designed by Baroque painter Andrea Pozzo and include a monumental ceiling fresco depicting 'The Admittance of Hercules to Olympus'. The sculptures throughout the palace were created by Giovanni Guiliani.

During the following centuries, Prince Johann Adam I's Baroque ensemble underwent several changes. During the late 18th century, the entrance portal, which was integrated into the semi-circled stables, was changed into a classical triumphal arch by court architect Joseph Hardtmuth. In 1814, Harthmuth's successor as court architect, Joseph Kornhäusel, had the arch as well as the stables torn down and added the still existing fence thus opening the whole ensemble to an outsider's view.

The Hercules Hall
While the Gartenpalais had previously been used privately, Prince Johann I decided that paintings and other works of art owned by the Princely Family should be brought together and exhibited to the general public - well, those who could afford it - at the palace. In 1807, the museum was opened. However, various changes were made to the palace prior to the opening to accomodate the museum: For example, some windows were walled up to allow pictures to be hung on the walls instead. In addition, four of the five doors between the Hercules Hall and the Great Gallery were closed to make room for Rubens' Decius Mus Cycle and, as previously mentioned, the Rottmayr frescos were covered up to exhibit paintings by Belluci which originally belonged to the Stadtpalais.

At the time of the museum opening, the Herkulessaal was classically decorated, however, at the beginning of the 20th century, these changes undone and some neo-Baroque decorations like stucco panels and fireplaces added. Five Franceschini paintings were hung on the inner longitudinal wall and the walls of the gallery rooms were painted in shades of blue and green.

The library
Towards the end of the 19th century, the five open round arches of the Sala Terrena hall on the ground floor were glazed to preserve the interior which had previously been subjected to the weather conditions. In 1897, an elevator was added to bring the visitors to the second floor. Between 1912 and 1914, the princely library containing some 100,000 books from the 15th to 19th century was brought to the Gartenpalais.

In 1938, after the Anschluss of Austria into Nazi-Germany, the Princely Family moved their main residence from Vienna to Liechtenstein and the Gartenpalais was closed. Luckily, they were able to bring their art collection to the Principality prior to the end of the Second World War so that nothing was destroyed. Between 1957 and 1978, the palace was home to the Österreichisches Bauzentrum museum. Subsequently, the Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig Vienna moved in until 2000.

Starting in 2001, the Gartenpalais was thoroughly renovated to fulfill all fire prevention, security and air-conditioning requirements for a modern museum which was to be opened at the palace once again. During the renovations, which cost around 25 million euros paid for by Prince Hans-Adam II, several changes to the palace from previous centuries were undone to create a harmonious whole. After three years of work, the Gartenpalais was re-opened as a museum for the Princely Collection of the House of Liechtenstein including the Golden Carriage of Prince Joseph Wenzel in 2004.

After disappointing numbers of visitors also due to the fact that the palace is located a outside of the usual flow of Vienna tourists, the museum was closed in 2011. Since 2012, the Gartenpalais can be rented as a venue for all kinds events such as gala dinners, weddings, concerts and more. It can still be visited as a museum but only once a month during a guided tour.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Grand Duke Jean Attends Fencing Tournament

Photo: Laurent Blum / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Earlier today, Grand Duke Jean was among the spectators of the Challenge Dr Emile Gretsch fencing tournament at the Centre Sportif Henri Schmitz in Esch-sur-Alzette. Dr Emile Gresch, for whom the tournament is named, wasn't only a three-time Olympian in fencing but also the doctor who delivered all the five children of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duke Jean. Dr Gresch, who died in 2004 at the age of 95, became court physician in 1980. He was later named honorary court physician and has also fought fencing matches against Grand Duke Jean himself.

Pictures of Luxembourg's former head of state at the tournament can be found at Wort.

Guillaume and Stéphanie Join European Unity Walk

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Earlier today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie as well as several Luxembourgish ministers and other politicians joined the European Unity Walk organised by the European Parkinson's Disease Association (EPDA) in order to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and its impact on people living with the disease, their families and society as a whole.

A gallery of visuals of the Unity Walk, which apparently also included some kind of dancing performances by everyone, can be found at Wort. A video can be found at RTL.

The Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple Yesterday

Photo: Guy Seyler / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
After the day before yesterday's visit to Steinfort, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie paid a visit to the Association EPI in Schrassig yesterday. The Association luxembourgeoise pour l'Encouragement, la Promotion et l'Intégration de jeunes et de jeunes adultes en détresse - basically the Luxembourg association for the encouragement, promotion and social integration of youth and young adults in hardship - is a non-profit organisation which aims to defend the interests of young people in distress and tries to promote their social and professional integration in society.

Accompanied by Minister Claude Meisch, the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess learned about the different programmes and services offered by the Association EPI during their visit. Subsequently, they also met with a number of teenagers and young adults who have received support by the association in the past.

Thus far, there don't seem to be any visuals of the engagement available yet. As always, we will make sure to post links once they do. -- Update: Some are now available on the website of the cour grand-ducale.

Source: Cour grand-ducale, Association EPI

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beardy Prince

Almost wouldn't have recognised you, Sir: Prince Robert, Grand Duke Henri's cousin, and his new beard recently attended the Biennale des Antiquaires pre-opening at Le Grand Palais in Paris on September 9. He was pictured together with Carrie Perrodo.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

About Scottish Independence and Jacobite Succession

Hereditary Princess Sophie with her parents and sisters  in 2007

Let me just quickly jump on the bandwagon that is the Scottish independence referendum as seemingly everyone is talking about it (and so they should). As of late, we are getting a great number of hits for "Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein" and I don't think I'm wrong in assuming that it is due to his Jacobite heritage. (Either that or there is a whole new generation of young teenage girls looking for their unmarried prince charming.)

For those not too well versed in British royal history and resulting other succession claims than those of the House of Windsor, Jacobitism is a movement supporting the restoration of the main line of the Scottish Stuart dynasty to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. Early Jacobites sought to restore the Catholic King James II and his descendants as Kings after the thrones had passed to the Protestant House of Hanover under the terms of the Act of Settlement of 1701.

The modern day heir of the Jacobite claim is Duke Franz of Bavaria, uncle of Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein. As Duke Franz has no children of his own, the claim then passes via his brother Duke Max in Bavaria to the Hereditary Princess. Next in line would then be her oldest son, Prince Wenzel. 

Over the years, there has always been the odd occasional newspaper article about the matter but during the last few weeks, there have been quite a number of them. However personally, I'm not holding my breath for a Jacobite King of Scotland from either Bavaria or Liechtenstein. I think we are luckily long past the time when the government of a country would simply invite a foreign royal to become their head of state - sometimes with more, other times with less success.

Plus if you think about it, would you take the "job" if you were them? Both the Wittelsbach and Liechtenstein families live relatively quiet and private lives. If they'd become Scotland's first family, all of that would change in a heartbeat. Of the interviews I have seen and read of Duke Franz of Bavaria, he seems more bemused by the suggestion than anything.

In addition, they'd also eventually run into a bit of trouble logistically: A husband (Hereditary Prince Alois), who is the head of state of one country (Liechtenstein), and a wife (Hereditary Princess Sophie), who is the head of state of another country (Scotland). At some point in time, a personal union would become inevitable if Prince Wenzel wouldn't decide to give up his 'claim' to one of the thrones to either his sister Princess Marie-Caroline or his brother Prince Georg (depending of Scotland's succession law). And who knows, maybe this whole post is obsolete as of tomorrow morning once the voting results are in.

Visiting Steinfort

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Turns out we are still not done yet with the hereditary grand ducal couple's visits to the Grand Duchy's 15 Centre de Développement et d'Attraction (CDA) and so Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie paid a visit to Steinfort near the French border today. Arriving at 2:30pm, the couple was welcomed by the town's mayor and immediately received a few gifts including the obligatory flowers for the Hereditary Grand Duchess.
Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
After performances by the children of the Maison relais, an all-day care with high flexibility for children between the ages of four and twelve, as well as the Fanfare de Steinfort and the Harmonie de Kleinbettingen orchestras, the couple signed the golden book of the town and was given a presentation about the muncipality. Before making their way to the local operations centre where young volunteer firefighters gave a short presentation, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie visited the local hospital.
Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Afterwards, the couple and their hosts went to the welcome centre of the "Mirador" nature walk to learn more about it. At the steel plant turned cultural centre Al Schmelz the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple was subsequently given a presentation about the former steelmill as well as the nearby storage reservoir. The visit was rounded off by a reception hosted in honour of the grand ducal guests, which gave the citizens of Steinfort the chance to mingle with their Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess.
Photos: Tom Wagner / Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu / Lola Velasco / Cour grand-ducale
Last but most certainly not least, see what she did here? Working on Royal Recycling and Clothes Sharing Vol. 4, thank you very much! More pictures of the Hereditary Grand Duchess' outfit and everything else that went on can be found at Wort in German and the website of the cour. 13 CDAs down, two - namely Wiltz and Remich - to go.

Informal Meeting of German-Speaking Heads of State

Photo: DPA / Jeans Büttner
Today, the heads of state of the German-speaking countries came together for an informal meeting taking place in the German towns of Bad Doberan, Warnemünde and Rostock. While the heads of state of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein - those countries where German is the primary language of the majority of the population - have had these kinds of gatherings since 2004 (each year in a different country), this year marks the first time that the heads of state of Luxembourg and Belgium - countries that either have a minority of people who speak German as a first language (Belgium) or where German is one of the countries three official languages (Luxembourg) - are also invited.

Photo: DPA / Jens Büttner
And so Grand Duke Henri joined Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie, as well as German President Joachim Gauck and his partner, Austrian President Heinz Fischer and his wife, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter and his wife and King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, for the gathering in the towns along the Baltic Sea. (Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa had to stay home as she is still recovering from her recent knee surgery.)

While all others arrived this morning, Grand Duke Henri as well as Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie already made their way to eastern Germany yesterday. (Anyone else wonder whether the Grand Duke already had his suitcase in the car's boot when opening the Freeport thing late yesterday afternoon?) However, the were still only officially welcomed by the German President at around 9:30 in Bad Doberan at the White Pavilion this morning.

After a few official pictures, the ladies and the gentlemen of the group went their different ways. While the (entirely male) heads of state had a working session at the White Pavilion to talk demographics, their first ladies visited Doberan Abbey together with Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's Prime Minister Erwin Sellering. Afterwards they made their way to Heiligendamm with the historical and scenic Molli railyway.

Meanwhile, the (apparently) only one on one meeting - officially it was called "joined press meeting" - between two of the (well, basically) heads of state, Hereditary Prince Alois and Joachim Gauck, occured, before all the heads of state and their wives had lunch together on board the MS Käppt'n Brass ship starting in Warnemünde and then all along the Warnow river.

At 2:30pm, the illustrious group of guests arrived in Rostock where they were welcomed by mayor Roland Mehtling. After their arrival, the German-speaking heads of state and their wives made their way to the Documentation and Memorial place in the former pre-trial prison of the Ministery of State Security of the GDR where they were welcomed by the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records and the head of the Rostock-branch of the commission, as well as the head of the University of Rostock and the associate head of the Research and Documentation Department for German Dictatorships of the university. Together they viewed the permanent exhibition.

Photo: DPA / Michael Sohn
To round off the day, Grand Duke Henri, Hereditary Prince Alois, Hereditary Princess Sophie and their counterparts visited the St. Mary's Cathedral in Rostock. In 1989 - the year of the Fall of the Berlin Wall - thousands of citizens gathered in the church for peace prayers every Thursday to pray for the renewal of the society, and to express “forbidden” thoughts and points of view within a safe space. Many of those prayers were led by Joachim Gauck, then pastor of the parish of Rostock-Evershagen and today the president of the Federal Republic of Germany. At the church, the heads of state and spouses met with contemporary witnesses who were among those to gather there prior to German reunification.

And then, at around 5pm, the whole thing was over and everyone (hopefully safely) travelled home again.

For pictures, have a look at Belga, APA or OZ. Meanwhile, a video can be found at NDR.

Source: BPA

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grand Duke Opens Freeport and Other News

Earlier today, Grand Duke Henri officially opened the new "Freeport Luxembourg" at Findel Airport. In the future, the 13,000 square metre large high security building located next to the cargo centre will be used to store luxury free of import duties. Those will only need to be paid once the goods - mostly wine, art, luxury cars and gemstones - leave the building. While construction took 22 months, it cost more than 55 million euros. Pictures are available on the website of the cour.

Already yesterday, Hereditary Prince Alois welcomed seven of his country's honorary consuls for a reception at Schloss Vaduz. The seven guests from the U.S., Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong were on a visit to Liechtenstein to learn more about the country and current ongoings. Pictures can be found at Vaterland.

On Thursday last week, Prince Nikolaus whiled in Washington D.C. where he was one of the speakers at the "Do Religious Freedom and Human Rights Clash in Today’s Democracies?" conference organised by the Transatlantic Christian Council at the Library of Congress.

Luxarazzi 101: Elie Saab

In a bit of a new category of our Luxarazzi 101 series, we will delve a bit deeper into the fashion territory by introducing some of the favourite designers of the Luxembourg and (to a lesser extent) Liechtenstein families. When talking about Grand Ducal fashion, the first person coming to mind of course is Elie Saab, one of the family's (and my personal) favourite designers. Some might allege that Saab is a one trick pony but even if he was - which I dispute - he does that one trick so much better than anyone else.
While Elie Saab's most famous Luxembourgish creations probably were two dreams in (off-) white, the weddings gowns of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie and Princess Claire, the Grand Ducal ladies' - well, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa's - love affair with the Lebanese designer started long before that.
Even though he had already made quite a name for himself in the Middle East and dressed Queen Rania of Jordan for her husband's enthronement in 1999, Elie Saab's international star broke when he dressed Halle Berry for the Academy Awards in 2002, the year the American actress took home the Oscar. About two years later - at least to the best of my knowledge - Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa also discovered the designer sporting his creations for the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson (left) as well as for a pre-wedding dinner of the Prince of Astrurias and Letizia Ortiz (right). (Fun fact: The latter dress has also been worn by Catherine Zeta-Jones.)
While there didn't seem to be an awful lot of Saab gowns in the following years - again, to the best of my knowledge - the Grand Duchess rediscovered the designer sometime in the late 2000's and her love for his gowns simply took off from there. And who can blame her? Saab, who is an autodidact whose interest in fashion design started at the age of 9, simply knows how to dress a woman to the best of her advantage. (Fun fact #2: The second dress on the left has also been worn by Katy Perry.)
Born on July 4, 1964, in Beirut into a Maronite Catholic family, Elie Saab launched his own fashion label in 1982 at the age of 18. At the time, his focus and skills were specialised in designing bridal couture - stitching wedding gowns and dresses using high-quality quality lace, fabrics, crystals, pearls, silk threads and intricate embroidery. In 1997, he became the first non-Italian designer who was invited to join the Italian Camera Nazionale della Moda as a member. In the same year, he displayed his first clothing collection outside of Lebanon in Rome. A year later, he showed his prêt-a-porter line in Milan. In 2003, the same happened in Paris after being invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
After first almost entirely sticking to his evening designs, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa has also been sporting Saab clothes for day appearances. However in my opinion, some of the designs above just go to show that not everything Saab does is brilliant. While he can't do wrong with the sparkly numbers, I can't help but think that those boob flaps (which the Grand Duchess wore to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) won't flatter anyone ever.
Mostly famously wearing a stunning Elie Saab wedding gown in October 2012, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie has worn (at least) another three of the Lebanese fashion designer's creations for the pre-wedding gala dinner of her own wedding, the dinner of the Dutch inauguration and the pre-wedding dinner of Princess Madeleine of Sweden. While Saab’s ready-to-wear collections - including at least the middle and right dress of Princess Stéphanie - are made and manufactured internationally, the brand’s haute couture is made completely by Lebanese and Syrian artisans in Saab's Beirut workshop. Like real works of art, these dresses can take hundreds of hours of work by the craftsmen applying by hand every lace panel, pearl, gem and sequin individually.
Unfortunately the only time that Princess Alexandra apparently sported an Elie Saab creation was one of those times the cour grand-ducale decided not to publish any pictures of the national day gala whatsoever. Thankfully there are heaps of visuals of Princess Margaretha wearing a stunning red Saab gown for the pre-wedding ball of the Hereditary Grand Ducal couple.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Princess Ingeborg's Emerald Brooch

Occasionally when we got nothing else to do, Team Luxarazzi browses through old pictures of the Grand Ducal Family and their relatives hoping to spot some jewellery or other interesting bits and things in them. Recently, we were successful once again when we found one of the grand ducal emerald brooches being worn by Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, grandmother of the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte.

The daughter of King Frederik VIII of Denmark was married to Prince Carl of Sweden with whom she had four children, among them the future Queen Astrid of the Belgians. Princess Ingeborg is also the original owner of another brooch in the possession of the Grand Ducal Family. As we usually do, we are also going to name today's emerald and diamond brooch after its first (known) owner and thus make it the "Princess Ingeborg's Emerald Brooch" (though maybe we should start digging a little further back into the family's ancestry to see whether there is another prior owner).

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, who either directly inherited the piece from her grandmother or via the detour of her mother, Queen Astrid, regularly wore the brooch as such or as a necklace pendant together with the other emerald jewellery she owned like the Emerald Peacock Tiara or her mother-in-law's Emerald Art Deco Tiara. These days, the brooch, which features a large emerald surrounded by diamonds, is (thus far) exclusively worn by Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa both in its original function as well as as a necklace pendant.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coins and Orders

During a cabinet meeting on Friday, Luxembourg's government agreed that a commemorative coin to remember the 50th anniversary of Grand Duke Jean's accession to the country's throne will be issued on October 1st. The Grand Duchy's former ruler became head of state on November 12, 1964, upon his mother's abdication. (For more information on the abdication and accession matter, have a look here.) Naturally, Grand Duke Henri will also be featured on the 2 Euro coin as Luxembourgish law stipulates that the head of state has to be on every coin.

Meanwhile in Liechtenstein today, Hereditary Prince Alois awarded the Commander's Cross of the country's Order of Merit to Norbert Frick, ambassador of the permanent mission of Liechtenstein in Geneva, and politician Alexander Batliner for their services rendered to the Principality.

Source: Chronicle, IKR