Friday, October 31, 2014

Mass and Conference for Empress Zita

Back in April - yeah, I know, but better late than never, right? - the Belgian foundation for the beatification and canonisation of Empress Zita organised a mass and conference in honour of the last Austro-Hungarian Empress. The mass at the Église Saint-Rombaut in Steenokkerzeel north-west of Brussels was celebrated by the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, André-Joseph Léonard, and the lecture at the Château de Ham held by Jean Sévillia, a journalist who has published one of the most famous biographies of Empress Zita. Both events counted an array of Habsburgs among its guests, among them Archduchess Marie-Astrid, sister of Grand Duke Henri, and her oldest daughter, Archduchess Marie-Christine.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Budget Plans

The Luxembourgish government announced the state budget plans for 2015 today. 9.8 million euros of the draft budget have been earmarked for the Grand Ducal Family. Despite calls by the Young Socialists (like they happen every year), the three party coalition of the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and The Greens never intended any budget cuts.

The 9,809,803 million euros in 2015 mark a rise of 397,226 euros compared to this year. The upward trend is expected to continue in coming years. It means that the cour grand-ducale costs more than 17 euros per head of the Luxembourgish population each year. Of course that it is a lot compared to other European monarchies though one has to also keep in mind that Luxembourg is a relatively small country with a small population. The majority of the money received by the Grand Duke - about 5.3 million euros - goes into the salaries of his staff. The staff of Grand Duke Jean costs another 1.3 million euros.

For the civil list, a kind of untaxed allowance given to the Grand Duke, the state has earmarked 1.7 million euros for 2015. The civil list is enshrined in the Luxembourgish constitution. Its aim is to keep the head of state independent from all parliamentary budget discussions. The civil list can only be changed at the beginning of a new reign.

Grand Duke Henri will also receive 703,000 euros for representative expenses. Grand Duke Jean will receive 241,421 euros and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume 157,269 euros.

Viennese Gala Event

Professor of Economic of the University of Chicago Deirdre McCloskey was awarded the Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award in Vienna on the day before yesterday. The gala event, which took place at the Gartenpalais Liechtenstein, was also attended by Prince Philipp who actually handed the award to economics expert. During the same event, an award for a school competition called "Next Generation's Mobility" was also given out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hereditary Prince Alois Receiving Ambassadors

Today, Hereditary Prince Alois received four ambassadors in Vaduz, for the presentation of credentials. The received ambassadors were as follows: Elschekova Matisova from the Slovak Republic, Gholamali Khoshroo from the Republic of Iran, Per Poulsen-Hansen from Kingdom of Denmark, and Magnus Hartog-Holm from Kingdom of Sweden.

No official photos have been released yet. Check back for them, in case they’re made available.

Movie Premiere: Jean, Grand-Duc vu Lëtzebuerg

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort /
A few gentlemen of the Grand Ducal Family made the movie premiere of the documentary Jean, Grand-Duc vu Lëtzebuerg a boys' night out: Grand Duke Henri and his oldest son, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, as well as Prince Guillaume and his oldest son, Prince Paul-Louis, watched the documentary about their father and grandfather's life and work at the Ciné Starlight in Dudelange. For some reason this article by Wort claims that Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were also in attendance but as they are not pictured at all, I have my doubts.

The documentary about Grand Duke Jean will also be shown on TV on November 2 by RTL; the first part starts at 6:30pm and the second at 8:15pm. Of course we will post links if and when they become available. RTL offers a look behind the scenes of the documentary in this video.

More pictures of the movie premiere as well as lots of lovely pictures from the documentary itself can be found at Wort.

Prince Nikolaus Opens the Islamic Finance Conference

On Tuesday, Prince Nikolaus delivered the welcome address at the Liechtenstein Islamic Finance Conference. The title of the all-day conference was “Islamic Finance and Sustainability: A new Business Model for Financial Centres?” The overall focus was to explore how traditional Islamic banking and finance can benefit Liechtenstein, and vice versa. The larger goal was to consider how to make current banking in Liechtenstein compliant with Islamic traditions, in order to create an environment conducive to new banking opportunities.

Besides Prince Nikolaus, other speakers included experts in Sharia-compliant financial intermediation from universities and financial organizations.

No photos of the event have been released, but they will be added if any are.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Princely Commerce Councillor

Photo: Elma Korac / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Liechtenstein has a new Princely Commerce Councillor: Yesterday the Prince Hans-Adam II and his oldest son, Hereditary Prince Alois, jointly awarded the title to Günther Wohlwend, founder of the LIHGA, a bi-yearly industry, trade and commerce exhibition fair held in the Principality. In Liechtenstein, title conferrals to persons, who in a special manner have distinguished themselves in furthering the well-being of the country or the Princely House, regularly take place. Other possible titles include Princely Councillor, Princely Court Councillor, Princely Justice Councillor, Princely Education Councillor and Princely Spiritual Councillor.

1 FL TV has a video of the event.

Grand Duke Henri in Belgium for World War I Commemoration

Photo: Luxemburger Wort / / REUTERS
Today, Grand Duke Henri was in Belgium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First Battle of Ypres during World War I. The Grand Duke began the day in Brussels at the Musée Royal de l'Armée, which has hosted the exhibit 14-18, c’est notre Histoire since February of 2014.

Then at 3:00, Grand Duke Henri attended a ceremony at the King Albert I Monument in Nieuwpoort. Also present were King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, as well as Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. The event began with a speech from King Philippe and continued with testimonials from the war, a short film, a wreath-laying ceremony, and a moment of silence.

At 5:30, the participants attended another event at Ypres, during which the Prime Minister of Belgium spoke. This ceremony also included wartime testimonies and a commemorative wreath-laying. More details about the 100th anniversary event can be found at

More photos can be found at Wort, Getty Images and Belga Image.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"A Great Night in Harlem" Concert

On Friday night, Princess Julie of Nassau, the lovely wife of the Grand Duke's cousin Prince Robert of Luxembourg, was among the guests of the 13th annual "A Great Night In Harlem" gala concert at the Apollo Theatre in New York City. "A Great Night in Harlem" is a benefit concert organised by the Jazz Foundation of America to raise money for the Jazz Foundation's Musician Emergency Fund, which helps countless elder jazz and blues musicians in crisis across the country.

During the event, Princess Julie gave a speech about her experience of being a part of the Jazz Foundation.  She described the impact that this foundation has made on people’s lives and her being a major contributor to this foundation. The American-born wife of Prince Robert praised the efforts of all the workers and how dedicated they are to this great cause.

More pictures of the gala concert can be found at

Sources: Jazz Foundation, SOG

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Principalities Gotta Stick Together

Photo: IKR
Monaco's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Badia, was on an official visit to Liechtenstein yesterday and the day before yesterday. Apart from a meeting with his Liechtenstein counterpart, Aurelia Frick, to talk the European integration of both countries, he was also received by Hereditary Prince Alois for an audience. More at Volksblatt.

Grand Duke Attends Lectures (and Says Farewell)

Post Luxembourg
On Thursday, the Grand Duke attended a lecture to mark the 100th anniversary of the Lycee Technique Prive Emilie Metz. (Pictures here.) When the school opened on November 4, 1914 it was the first time that young students could receive an education that went beyond general academics. The school incorporated general education with technical training required for specific careers. The school has maintained an excellent reputation and continues to evolve. Last year the Post Luxembourg issued a stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the school.

On Friday, the Grand Duke attended another lecture. This lecture marked the 20th anniversary of the Syndicat Intercommunal de Dépollution des Eaux Résiduaires du Nord. Pictures of it can be found at Lëtzebuerger Journal as well.

Also on Thursday, Grand Duke Henri bid farewell to the outgoing ambassadors of Cuba and Cape Verde during audiences at the palais.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Birthday boy Prince Nikolaus, who turned 67 today, celebrated his big day today with a celebration for his family's ancestral home country, Austria. Austrians celebrate their country's declaration of permanent neutrality after World War II and its regained status as an independent and sovereign nation - so basically its birthday as well - on October 26, 1955, on exactly that day every year. Two days in advance the Austrian ambassador to Liechtenstein, Maria Rotheiser-Scotti, and the Austrian honorary consul in Liechtenstein, Rita Kieber-Beck, hosted a reception in Vaduz to celebrate the Liechtenstein-Austrian friendship.

Galleries of visuals of the event are located at Volksblatt and Vaterland.

RTL to Air Documentary about Grand Duke Jean

Photo: RTL
RTL will air a two hour long biographical documentary about the life and work of Grand Duke Jean on November 2. The documentary will include a visit to Luxembourg's former head of state's home, the Château de Fischbach, as well as interviews by Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. It will be shown to mark the 50th anniversary of Grand Duke Jean coming to the throne in 1964 upon his mother's abdication.

The documentary by Jacques van Luik and Misch Bervand aims to show the more personal side of the former Grand Duke, who most Luxembourgers only know from television or the newspaper. While research was a little difficult in the beginning as Grand Duke Jean has always been a notoriously low-key and discrete person and the same goes for the people around him, walls broke down when he personally invited the film crew to his home. In addition to hundreds of hours of research in the RTL archives, the filmmakers were also given access to the private archives of the Grand Ducal Family.

In addition, a book by Stéphane Bern about Grand Duke Jean will be published in November as well.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to both the documentary - check out the preview on RTL's website - as well as the book. This seems to be the year of documentaries and I'm loving it! The documentary about Grand Duke Jean will be shown on November 2; the first part at 6:30pm and the second at 8:15pm.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grand Ducal Family Hosts Dinner

Photo: Marc Schmitt / Cour grand-ducale
On Tuesday night the Grand Ducal Family in the persons of Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Prince Louis hosted a dinner for the members of the Chambre de Députés. Formal dinners for the members of parliament at Château de Berg are a regular occurence in Luxembourg. They take place to give the members of the Grand Ducal Family and their country's highest politicians a chance to catch up and for an exchange of views.

It's interesting to note that the Grand Duchess is sitting in a wheel chair for the dinner. It seems that the recovery time after her knee surgery will take another few weeks. She already seemed better a few weeks ago when she was pictured with crutches.

The website of the cour has more visuals of the night.

Grand Duke Receives Portuguese Prime Minister

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort /
Grand Duke Henri received the Prime Minister of Portugal in audience today. The visit is part of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's two day working visit to Luxembourg. Prime Minister Coelho will meet with many Luxembourgish politicians discussing matters ranging from education to emigration.

Portugal and Luxembourg have a special relationship because more than 16 percent of the population are of Portuguese origin. The Grand Duke is himself descended from King Miguel I of Portugal no less than 3 times!

Another photo of the Prime Minister and the Grand Duke shaking hands can be found at the website of the Cour. More pictures can be found at Wort.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stéphanie's First Solo Engagement

The Hereditary Grand Duchess together with Pierre and Anni Rossy of Schroeder Joalliers
(Photo: Guy Wolff / Luxemburger Wort /
At what point a new(-ish) princess does her first solo engagement without her hubby, mother-in-law or some other family member by her side always is of quite an interest for many royal watchers. Well, now the wait in Luxembourg's case is over: Probably a little lost in all the trade mission news during the week before last, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie had her first solo engagement when she visited the Uchihara luxury jewellery store in Tokyo to view and promote their section of Schroeder jewellery.

Schroeder Joalliers was established in 1877 by Lambert Schroeder, who had left Luxembourg during the second half of the 19th century and settled in Chicago where he did an apprenticeship but returned to his home country after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While run by the second generation of the family, the jeweller became a purveyor to the Grand Ducal Court in 1920 and remains so to this day.

Though they are probably most famous for their watches (which I bet many of the male members of the Grand Ducal Family wear), Schroeder has also created and adjusted jewellery for at least three generations of grand ducal ladies including Grand Duchess Charlotte, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa over the past almost 100 years. For example, they revised the Emerald Art Deco Tiara by Chaumet in recent years prior to a state visit by the sovereign couple. In addition, they also manufacture orders such as five or six crosses and badges of the Order of the Oak Crown each year.

Now run by the fifth generation of the Schroeder family, Pierre Rossy, and the sixth generation, his daughters Sophie and Anni, also working for the company, Schroeder Joalliers also has a workshop in Paris in addition to its headquarters in Luxembourg's Grand-Rue. The company has expanded heavily during the past few years. Pieces by Schroeder are now also being sold in China, Japan, Russia and the Arab world in addition to several European countries.

Doing her first solo engagement shortly before her second wedding anniversary places Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie pretty much right in the middle of the time it took the European heirs' and newly married rulers' wives of the last decade and a half to firstly venture out of their palaces and castles on their own.

The quickest of all of them was Princess Charlène of Monaco who did her first solo engagement a week after her wedding while still on her honeymoon. Together with her husband she was in South Africa, where Prince Albert attended an IOC meeting, when she flew alone to Noordhoek, Cape Town, and participated in a press conference with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to discuss the charity "The Giving Organisation" (of which they are both co-patrons) five days after her wedding.

Also pretty quick off the blocks were Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who did her first solo engagement on June 14th, 2004, exactly one month after her wedding when she attended the National Pony Championships in Jutland, as well as the the Duchess of Cornwall, who visited the Southampton General Hospital on May 23, 2005, while her wedding to the Prince of Wales took place on April 9.

In difference, it took the Duchess of Cambridge about half a year before attending her first solo engagement while standing in for her father-in-law who was at a funeral in Saudi Arabia. On October 26, 2011, the Duchess hosted a charity cocktail reception for "In Kind Direct", a patronage of the Prince of Wales, at Clarence House. She was famously married on April 29, 2011.

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands' (at the time still Princess Máxima) first solo appearance, a visit to the Meuse County Hospital in the province of Sittard, occured on August 16, 2003, around 18 months after her (02/02/2002) wedding to the then Prince of Orange.

Coming in seventh place is Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg who had her first solo engagement very recently on October 10, 2014, two years minus eleven days after her civil wedding on October 19, 2012. (Or one year and 355 days if you want to count from the religious wedding a day later.)

Following the Hereditary Grand Duchess in the ranking is Queen Letizia of Spain. The then Princess of Asturias made her first appearance sans her husband, mother-in-law or any other family member accompanying her on October 9, 2006, about two and a half years after her wedding, which took place on May 22, 2004. For her first solo engagement Queen Letizia visited the Pozuela de Alarcon School.

The presumed next on the list is Queen Mathilde of the Belgians. I say presumed because we think that the former Duchess of Brabant's first solo engagement occured in May 2002 as part of the Belgian delegation to a United Nations conference on children, at least according to the information we could locate online. This would be around three years after her wedding which took place on December 4, 1999. [Edited to add: Queen Mathilde's first engagemnt was in fact much earlier, a social visit on February 29th, 2000 to be exact. Many thanks to Jelka of Modekoningin Mathilde for the information!]

Of the woman marrying the rulers, heirs or heir's heirs of Europe within the last one and a half decades, it took Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway the longest time to do her first solo engagement. She married the Crown Prince on August 25, 2001, and did her first solo engagement in January 2005 when visiting Malawi on a charity trip about three and a half years after tieing the knot.

A quick note to end this post: I probably do not need to tell you that we do not take responsibility for the correctness of all the dates mentioned above. Of course we used the utmost care to locate all the correct dates for the first solo engagements of the ladies mentioned above, however, it is entirely possible that one them slipped through our hands. All the information was gathered from painstaking research all over the internet. A very special and huge thank you in this regard goes to Lea, who did the great majority of research going into this post!

LGT Continues to Support Liechtenstein Athletes

Photo: PD / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
It was announced today that the LGT Group will continue to be the main sponsor of the Liechtenstein Skiing Association LSV as well as their current biggest star, Tina Weirather, for the coming next two years. New contracts with Weirather and the LSV president Andreas Wenzel, who is both a two-time Olympic medalist and world champion as well as Weirather's uncle, were already signed last month. In a statement issued today Prince Max was quoted as saying, "Ski sport has always played a major role in our sponsoring strategies. As one of Liechtenstein's biggest companies it is our aim to support sportive further development of our country and skiing offers perfect possibilites to do this."

Pictures and what else Prince Max said can be found both at Vaterland and Volksblatt.

Guillaume and Stéphanie at Syrdall Heem in Oberanven *

Photo: Oberanven / Commune de Niederanven
Today, at 2:30 PM, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Oberanven to attend the 25th anniversary of Syrdall Heem. They were accompanied by Mars di Bartolomeo, the Chairman of the Chambre des Députés.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie viewed a film that focused on the history of Syrdall Heem, as well as an artistic presentation. To round off the visit, the couple attended a cocktail reception where they helped cut the birthday cake and chatted with the other guests in attendance.

The cour grand-ducale has pictures of the event.

Luxembourg-Liechtenstein Relations

Photo: Brigitt Risch / IKR
As unfortunately the Princely Family does not do state visits, the closest thing we will likely get to official fosterings of the state relations between the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg are visits by politicians of one country to the other and audiences of said politicians with the royals. Such thing occured today when Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, visited his Liechtenstein counterpart Aurelia Frick. During his visit to the Principality, Jean Asselborn was also received by Hereditary Prince Alois at Schloss Vaduz.

Volksblatt has a gallery of visuals of the Luxembourgish visit to Liechtenstein and 1 FL TV a video.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Strengthening Liechtenstein-Czech Relations

Photo: Eddy Riesch / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
For the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century relations between Liechtenstein and Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic were literally non-existent as diplomatic relations were only established in 2009. However, the two countries have been making up the lost time with frequent meetings and exchanges during the past half a decade. Today, a high ranking Czech economic delegation visited the Principality once again to intensify relations between the two countries. Naturally, the delegation also met with Hereditary Prince Alois for an exchange of views.

Both Volksblatt and Vaterland have visuals of the day.

Prince Félix, His Trousers and Luxembourgish Wine

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort /
Today, Prince Félix and his yellow trousers met with representatives of the Organisation Professionelle des Vignerons Indépendants (OPVI) of the Luxembourg Moselle region. The second son of Grand Duke Henri and manager of a wine estate himself was accompanied on his visit to the Domaine Schumacher-Lethal et fils in Wormeldange by the Minister of Agriculture, Fernand Etgen. During his visit Prince Félix was given the honorary title of ambassador of wines and crémants by the independent winemaker association.

Wort in English has more pictures of the visit, as does Wort in German.

Dining with the Best

Photo: Serge Waldbillig / Luxemburger Wort /
Last night, Prince Félix was in Luxembourg's only casino in Mondorf-les-Bains not to play some poker but instead attend the Dîner de Gala Euro-Toques 2014. Also among the guests for the presumably delicious gala dinner of the the union of certified Euro-Toques star-restaurants were the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Mars di Bartolomeo, and the Minister of Culture, Maggy Nagel. In March of this year, Daniel Rameau, president of Euro-Toques Luxembourg, visited Prince Félix and Princess Claire at their Château les Crostes in southern France.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Promoting Liechtenstein Wine in Asia

Prince Hans-Adam's daughter-in-law Princess Marie and princely estate manager Simon Klocher were in Hong Kong last week to promote the princely wines in Asia. They continued to be there until at least Saturday when there was a wine tasting with the princess at the Schmidt Vinothek.

The princely family owns two vineyards. Their 40 hectare Austrian vineyard has been owned by the family for more than 600 years and produces Gruner Veltliner, Zweigelt, Merlot, Riesling and Traminer. Their Liechtenstein vineyard produces only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Even though their tiny 4 hectare Liechtenstein vineyard only produces 10,000 bottles a year it may be one of the most expensive vineyards in the world. Property within the principality averages 8,200 Euro (10,463 USD) per square METER! That means that the 4 hectare vineyard is worth a staggering 82,800,000 Euro (105,654,488 USD). The princely estate manager who also traveled with Princess Marie confirmed that it was not possible to increase the size of their Liechtenstein based vineyard, despite demand for their wine, because of the "ridiculously high" property costs.

More of Louis and Tessy's Muddy Adventures

Photo: Claude Piscitelli / Luxemburger Wort /
Yesterday, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy took part in the StrongmanRun, a long distance obstale race. So how exactly did the King Prince and Queen Princess of Mud stack up against the rest of the field? Yours truly found out: Louis Nassau came in place 1232 in a time of 03:15:06 in the men's division consisting of 1,809 runners, while Tessy de Nassau was 157th of 423 women in a time of 03:15:07, a second behind her hubby. Even though I have no idea how that stacks up in the grand scheme of the world's StrongmanRunners, all kudos to them for participating in (and finishing) the race! Both their efforts raised money for Veterans Aid.

Félix and Claire Plant a Tree

Photo: Tatjana Seibt / Frankfurter Neue Presse /
Prince Félix and Princess Claire were in Germany last Saturday - don't ask me exactly how he did it cause I thought he was at the tennis final though maybe I have my days mixed up - where they planted a tree, a sycamore maple to be more specific, in Usingen, the town where Princess Claire spent most of her childhood. It is a tradition in the Hessian town (which coincidentally also lies in the former Duchy of Nassau) that all newly weds of the previous year gather to plant sycamore trees in the so-called "wedding forest".

According to press reports, the Luxembourgish royals went largely unnoticed until the mayor pointed out who had actually joined the group of tree planters. One wonders whether it will be the same next year: It is also a tradition in Usingen that an oak tree is planted for every newborn child by their parents in the following year. Let's see whether Prince Félix and Princess Claire will return to Germany to do so for their little Amalia. (Some very lovely tree planting traditions they have in Usingen, I might add!)

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume Visits Circuit Foil

All photos: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort /
Today, at 10:00, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was in Wiltz to visit Circuit Foil. This company manufactures electrodeposited copper foil, which is used extensively in the electronics industry. Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was accompanied by Secretary of State Francine Closenar and Deputy Mayor Fränk Arndt of Wiltz. Showing the visitors around were Raymond Gales, the Director General of Circuit Foil, and Jungho Seo, the Vice President of Doosan Electro-Materials (part of the conglomerate that owns Circuit Foil).

More great photos of the visit at Wort.

Reliving Guillaume and Stéphanie's Religious Wedding

This is part 2 of my memories of the wedding of the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple, two years ago now. In the first part you could read about my experiences at the day of the civil wedding, which included, for me, a handshake with the couple and a magnificent view of Europe's royals in all their finery arriving at the Palais Grand Ducal for the gala dinner.

In this piece I'll write about the day of the religious wedding! Beforehand I thought this would be the real big day, but after day one, I thought that nothing could top that day!

Saturday October 20, 2012

After a night's rest and early breakfast at my hotel, I packed my bags (no problem, I travel light), checked out and walked the short distance to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame. After noticing the day before that spectators seemed to turn up last minute, I figured that being at the cathedral around 8am would be early enough. I was right, although I must say that this time around, there already were quite a number of people waiting. I found myself a very nice spot, near the beginning of the red carpet.
Not bad, right? And then, the waiting game! It was three hours before the ceremony would start, but quite some time before that the guests would arrive, so the waiting actually wouldn't be that long. Meanwhile, I talked to some people (many Dutch and Flemish people) and enjoyed the sun because the weather was extraordinarily beautiful for October. I could also watch the press arrive and the guard of honour got lined up as well.
Some green mini busses arrived from time to time with the first guests though I didn't recognize any of the people getting off. It was still quite early, most royal guests would arrive a lot later. I got a bit worried though, many of those buses stopped exactly in front of me, so they blocked my sight for a big part. These buses are killers for royalty watchers! I really hoped that this wouldn't be the case when the more prominent guests would arrive.

I saw some Habsburgs arrive - Archduchess Marie-Astrid's kids, for example - but they walked by very quickly. As I couldn't take a decent picture of them while walking by so fast, I didn't bother.

Then a huge bus stopped: indeed, exactly in front of me! I did have a good view of Crown Prince Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia though.
The next few minutes were very frustrating: Guests were leaving the bus, I heard the press and people getting more excited but I could not see a thing! I figured that the bus must have contained many members of the non-reigning families, like the Badens, the Vendômes and the Prince of Prussia among others. Bummer. I really wanted to see some of them as I had never cought a glimpse of them before. When the bus drove away, I could only see Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine walking the red carpet as well as some of the Bulgarian royals, the Prince of Preslav and his sister-in-law the Princess of Turnovo. The Yugoslavian couple always seems to enjoy attending European royal events and this time was no exception, they waved enthusiastically to the people and didn't hurry down that red carpet!
You will notice that my pictures are not of the highest quality. As I wrote earlier: I only have a simple camera but when I'm zooming in, it can take pretty good pictures. I didn't zoom in though as it takes time and everything goes by so quickly. So I simply hold the camera over my head, click many times and in the meantime I can take it all in myself, with my own eyes. For top quality pictures I can buy magazines or search for pictures on the internet, but really getting into the moment and the excitement is more important to me. And as you can see, you still get pretty nice pictures in the end.

But back to what was going on: More mini busses! This time, however, I was lucky, they didn't completely block my view. I saw Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Archduke Lorenz and Archduchess Astrid (Princess of Belgium) of Austria-Este, their son Archduke Amedeo and Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium arrive.
And then a bus with the siblings of Grand Duke Henri and their spouses:
Archduke Carl Christian of Austria with his wife Marie-Astrid, born Princess of Luxembourg.
Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein with Princess Margaretha, born Princess of Luxembourg.
To the left, Prince Jean of Luxembourg and his wife Countess Diane of Nassau.

And at last the missing sibling arrived, Prince Guillaume with his wife Princess Sibilla and their children, Prince Paul-Louis, Prince Léopold, Princess Charlotte and Prince Jean:
It was nice to experience that the excitement was growing. The next mini bus contained the European heirs to the throne, plus the Japanese Crown Prince. Their arrival caused quite a sensation for both public and press. I saw: Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, the Prince and Princess of Asturias and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan.
The three heirs to the Scandinavian thrones and their spouses in one picture.
The heirs the the Spanish, Belgian and Dutch thrones and their wives - two years laters and they are all kings and queens now.
After all the cheers and excitement of the arrival of the heirs to the throne, a long string of escorted cars began to arrive. I was a bit surprised that Crown Princess Margarita and Prince Radu of Romania stepped out of the first car. Why weren't they in the big bus with the Yugoslavians, Bulgarians and all the other members of non-reigning families? They aren't former reigning sovereigns either... Well, those are thoughts for royal die hards only I guess!
The coming and going of escorted cars continued and they brought the crème de la crème of royal Europe to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame...
Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Hereditary Princess of Monaco. Well known over the whole world, she was greeted very loudly.
Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath of Jordan. They walked by very quickly.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, the usual representants of the British Queen at continental European royal weddings.
The Hereditary Grand Duke's brothers and sister-in-law: Prince Félix, Prince Louis, Princess Tessy and Prince Sébastien.
King Simeon II and Queen Margarita of the Bulgarians.
They hardly ever miss a royal event: King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes.
Princess Lalla Salma, wife of the King of Morocco.
The first of the reigning sovereigns to arrive: Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein with Princess Marie.
The crowds gave Queen Silvia of Sweden a warm welcome.
The groom's great uncle and great aunt: King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians.
King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway who are rather close family as well: King Harald is a first cousin of the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte.
Greeted with loud cheers: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Then the hightest ranking guest arrived: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark with Prince Henrik.
All the royal guests had arrived! It was fantastic to see them all go by. Next to arrive: Grand Duke Henri with Mrs. De Schaetzen, aunt of Princess Stéphanie and sister of Stéphanie's mother, who, as we know, had passed away two months before.
Then the day's groom arrived together with his mother Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and the crowds went wild!
The arrival of the bridesmaids: Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg (sister of the groom) and Antonia Hamilton (niece of the bride), followed by the bridal children
The big moment was there: the arrival of Princess Stéphanie! The bride was being escorted by her eldest brother, Count Jehan de Lannoy.
That was quite a royal experience! But what next? Waiting the entire service at the same spot to watch everyone leave the cathedral? Or going to the Palais for the balcony scene? But maybe I couldn't get there anymore? Maybe the limited space before the balcony was already packed with people? If that was the case, I would better stay where I was... Quite a dilemma! In the end, I left, hoped for the best and went to the Palais

When I arrived I saw that there were very few people! I could have known it, judged by the day before. Great! I walked a little more: no need to stay near the Palais as it would be no problem to see the balcony scene. I went to the Knuedler where the wedding service was being broadcasted on a big screen. As you can see on the picture: there were people, but it was not very crowded. The contrast with the London wedding a year earlier couldn't be bigger. But let's be honest: you can't really compare. The most important thing was that the atmosphere which was great.
After buying something to drink I decided to wait until the balcony scene would begin. It didn't get crowded until almost the last minute (is this a Luxembourgish thing or something?). While waiting and looking at the Palais, I spotted a little boy behind one of the top windows (according to the Luxarazzi ladies it's one of the little Counts de Lannoy).
The service lasted longer than planned, so the balcony scene started later as well. I heard cheers from people right in front of the Palais: I was a little more in the back so I couldn't see, but it was a sign that the couple had arrived and that it wouldn't take long before they would make their appearance on the balcony.

And after some more waiting, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and the brand new Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie finally appeared on the balcony.
Now I had the opportunity to take my time to zoom in with my camera and make some close ups. I'm happy with the results!
And then, according to the relatively new royal 'tradition' started at the 1981 wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales: the kiss!
And another one!
Then the groom's parents, brothers, sister and sister-in-law also appeared.
After the balcony scene was over, I rushed to the train station to catch the train I had planned to catch. Early that evening, I was home!

It had been two amazing days in the beautiful city of Luxembourg. This was an lovely royal occasion: it was a grand affair with a galaxy of royalty attending, but at the same time with all the benefits of taking place in a relatively small city, which made everything very accessible and relaxed. Moreover: the Nassaus are not the Windsors, so this wedding wasn't quite the media spectacle as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which was a very good thing.

I hope you enjoyed reading my pieces. Thanks to the ladies at Luxarazzi for inviting my to write these two pieces about the wedding, it was my pleasure!