Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hereditary Princess Sophie in Munich

Photo: IKR
After she attended a joined concert by the madrigal choir of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich and the Symphony Orchestra Liechtenstein in the Principality's municipality of Schaan on Wednesday together with her family, Hereditary Princess Sophie was in Munich Friday night to see the second of the exchange concerts to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the birth of Josef Gabriel Rheinberger. She was accompanied by her mother, Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria.

Rheinberger was born on March 17, 1839, in Vaduz. At the age of 12, he moved to the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria, Munich, where he attended the Conservatorium. He went on to become one of the most influential composer of German Catholic church music and was appointed court conductor of King Ludwig II, the swan king, in 1877. I suppose there's no one better to celebrate the Liechtenstein-born Bavarian composer than the Bavarian-born Liechtenstein princess who is also a first cousin four times removed of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Guillaume and Stéphanie Attend Bazar International

Photo: Domingos Oliveria / RTL /
Today at 3:00, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie attended the 54th annual Bazar International. This event, which represents more than 50 nations from around the world, occurs during the first weekend of Advent every year. The 54th Bazar International event features around 70 merchant stands offering a variety of items such as clothing, jewelry, and food.

The Bazar International supports 90 projects all over the world. In Luxembourg, the projects supported include Make-a-Wish, ALAN asbl, A.S.T.I. and ALUPSE-Bébé. This bazaar is officially under the patronage of Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa.

Mars de Bartolomeo and Lydia Polfer accompanied Guillaume and Stéphanie at this event.

Some more nice photos of the Guillaume and Stéphanie at the Bazar International available at RTL, Wort, Tageblatt and Manuel Dias.

Song for Stéphanie

Photo: Alain Bartoli
Lucky Hereditary Grand Duchess, not only did she have a love song written specifically for her and her husband, now she also has a march dedicated to her: The Marche Princesse Stéphanie premiered last night during the Fir ons Heemecht gala concert of the Harmonie Municipale Esch-sur-Alzette attended by the lady of honour, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. Composed by the orchestra's director Jean Thill, the Hereditary Grand Duchess was presented with a musical score of the song dedicated to her.

While the first part of last night's concert at the Théâtre municipal d’Esch was dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Luxembourg's independence and the 150th birthday of the country's national anthem, Ons Heemecht, the second part celebrated the 70th anniversary of Luxembourg's liberation towards the end of World War II and the return of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The concert was also attended by Lydia Mutsch, Minister of Health and Equal Opportunities.

 No pictures as of yet but there will be added if any become available. 
More photos can be found on the website of the cour.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Grand Duke Henri Receives Four Ambassadors

On Thursday, November 27th, Grand Duke Henri received in audience four ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary for the presentation of credentials. The ambassadors included the following: His Excellency Mr. Carlos José de Pinho e Melo Pereira from the Republic of Portugal, His Excellency Mr. Ousmane Matar Breme from the Republic of Chad, His Excellency Mr. Vladimir Norov from the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Her Excellency Madame Bergdis Ellersdottir from Iceland.

Grand Duke Henri received all of the ambassadors at the Grand Ducal Palace.

Princely Family Attends Concert

Photo: Liechtensteiner Volksblatt
One of Liechtenstein's most famous and notable citizens was Josef Gabriel Rheinberger. He was born on March 17, 1839, in Vaduz. At the age of 12, Rheinberger, whose father was the treasurer of Prince Alois II of Liechtenstein, moved to the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria where he attended the Munich Conservatorium. In 1877, he was appointed court conductor of King Ludwig II, the swan king, and thus played a major rule in the development of German Catholic church music. 

Until his death in 1901, Rheinberger composed twelve masses, a requiem and a stabat mater as well as several operas, symphonies, chamber music and choral works. To celebrate the 175th anniversary of his birth, the madrigal choir of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich and the Symphony Orchestra Liechtenstein gave a joined concert in Schaan the day before yesterday. Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie as well as Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie were among its guests. There will be a second concert in Munich tonight.

A video including an interview with Prince Hans-Adam can be found at 1 FL TV.

Hereditary Prince at Health Symposium

Photo: Liechtensteiner Volksblatt /
Yesterday, Liechtenstein's annual health symposium took place in Schaanwald. Among its guests was Hereditary Prince Alois. Organised by the medical society, the symposium all kinds of health related stuff in regard to "The transition of healthcare system to healthcare industry". The Hereditary Prince is the patron of the symposium.

Pictures and more info are available at Volksblatt.

Liechtenstein Ladies Support Romanian Charity

Photo: Rotary Club Liechtenstein
Already on November 11, both Princess Marie and Hereditary Princess Sophie were among the guests for a fundraiser event of the Rotary Club Liechtenstein and its female branch, Inner Wheel, in support of the YANA Foundation. The YANA Foundation is a non-governmental, apolitical, independent organisation aiming to create and implement projects to support families, lonely left persons, children and other social groups in situations of vulnerability in Romania. It was founded in 1996 in Liechtenstein.

Sport and Art Award

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort /
Late yesterday afternoon, Grand Duke Henri visited the Centre National Sportif et Culturel d’Coque where he attended the award ceremony of the "Sport et Art" trophy. The award's recipient was Jhang Meis, a Luxembourgish artist who created the cauldron above the marathon gate of the Stade Josy Barthel in advance to the 2013 Games of the Small States of Europe. The award is given out by the International Olympic Committee that the Grand Duke is a member of.

More visuals at Wort.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Guillaume at the Expogast Closing Ceremony

Photo: Serge Waldbillig / Luxemburger Wort /
Today at 11:00, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume attended the closing ceremony of Expogast, the International Trade Show for Gastronomy, in Luxembourg City. Following the ceremony, Guillaume handed out awards to the winners and then chatted with participants in a vin d’honneur.

Around 1000 chefs from 56 countries came to Luxembourg for five days of competitive culinary adventures. This year, the group of chefs from Singapore took home the Culinary World Cup, with the second and third places filled by Sweden and the United States, respectively. A little more about the Luxembourg team can be found here.

A few more photos of the event available at Wort and at the Cour website.

In other exciting news, it turns out that Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie accompanied Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume on his visit to Goodyear. Photos have been added to yesterday's link.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Guillaume and Stéphanie at Goodyear

Today at 2:00, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was in Colmar-Berg to visit the Goodyear facility. This event, part of a series of company visits, was organized by Fedil (Business Federation Luxembourg), a multi-sector federation of Luxembourg businesses that include business services, industrial, and construction companies. Fedil encompasses around 550 different businesses, of which the Goodyear factory in Colmar-Berg is one. The goal of this series of visits is for the Grand Ducal family to learn more about the companies that make up Fedil members.

No photos yet, but they'll be added if they're made available.

Photos posted on the Cour website, and it looks like Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie accompanied Guillaume! Check out the link for more nice images of the visit.

Photo: Cour grand-ducal

Music for the Grand Duke

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
Today, Grand Duke Henri received a delegation of members of Sängerbond Museldall Waasserbëlleg. The choir from Wasserbillig has recorded a CD called Déi Heemlech Zäit featuring Christmas music from various countries. This CD is already the second one the choir presented to the Grand Duke. Back in 2001, they gifted him with their very first CD including classic and popular music as well as old Luxembourgish songs including an original version of the national anthem, Ons Heemecht.

Grand Duchess Meets with Distinguished Ladies

Cour Grand Ducale
Today, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa met with three distinguished women; Claire Chazal, a renowned French journalist; Gilberte Beaux, a noted French business woman; and Marie-Jeanne Chevremont-Lorenzini, the chairwoman of Great Talks of 2014. Each of the ladies are dedicated to improving the lives of the poor. They met with the Grand Duchess as part of the Great Talks of 2014 series organized by Women in Business

They met with the Grand Duchess because in addition to being an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador she is devoted to improving the lives of women throughout the world, ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls, and social business activities that promote micro-credit opportunities that improve the lives of women and their families.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

LGT Awarded for Excellence

LGT, the private banking and asset management group that is owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, has received top ratings from the Handelsblatt Elite Report. The 11th annual Handelsblatt convention was held in Munich, where LGT was given a summa cum laude review. Additionally, Fuchsbriefe commended LGT for its Private Banking Summit that was held in Berlin. The statement from Fuchsbriefe notes that LGT is "thoroughly recommended". LGT's positive ratings among international associations that examine banking practices has held firm for more than a decade. It is the group's commitment to customer service and its focus on making its customer needs primary that has consistently drawn international acclaim.

Prince Max, who is the CEO of LGT, commented that he is very pleased with the reviews and expressed his appreciation for the recognition that LGT works hard to respect its customers. He also noted that LGT intends to continue developing its positive relationship with its customers and maintain the highest standards and practices.

A few more details at Volksblatt.

Prince Maximilian Talks Business

Photo: Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Prince Maximilian, in his capacity as CEO of the LGT Group, has given an interview to Liechtensteiner Vaterland. LGT is the largest family-owned bank and asset management group in the world. The Princely Family of Liechtenstein are not just the owners of LGT, they are also the largest client of the bank and asset management services. LGT remains one of the few banks who "regularly write in the black", (earn profit or break even) according to the prince. 

During the interview, part of which can be found online, Prince Maximilian discusses the recent acquisition of part of a "select private banking portfolio from HSBC Private Bank Suisse." With this acquisition LGT has expanded their working platform in the Swiss banking industry as well as their customer assets and revenue base. In addition, the prince discusses matters involved in the acquisition process and business practices of the bank when considering new ventures. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Princess Maria-Anunciata in New York City

Photo: Patrick
McMullan Company

Since October 30, Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery and Venus Over Manhattan in New York City have been showing the "Maurizio Cattelan: Cosa Nostra" exhibition. On November 6, curator and collector Adam Lindemann and Alex Rotter, head of Sotheby's New York contemporary art department, hosted a private viewing of the exhibition of Cattelan's work.

Among the guest for the viewing was the always travelling and art loving Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein. Check here for two tiny pictures of her. The current exhibition is the first major exhibit of Cattelan’s work since his retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2011 and the artist’s subsequent retirement.

Prince Nikolaus Talks Faith in Toulon

Prince Nikolaus was in Toulon, France, this weekend to speak about his faith and the commitment of Christians in Europe. Not sure about too many details but a a few more visuals of it can be found on Twitter. The event itself was apparently organised by the Observatoire Sociopolitique de Fréjus-Toulon (OSP), an association founded by the Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon Monseigneur Dominique Rey, who was one of the bishops present for the religious wedding of Prince Félix and Princess Claire. (Sidenote: How stunning is that background on the picture above?!)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Princess Nora at a Christmas Bazaar

Photo: Bernardo Perez / El Pais
On Friday, Princess Nora participated in a Christmas bazaar in Madrid, El Rastrillo de Nuevo Futuro. The proceeds of this bazaar go toward supporting Nuevo Futuro, a partnership of organizations and programs that seek to provide family and social development for at-risk children. Among the programs is Fundación Educación Activa, which works to reach children with special education needs and assist families who do not have ready access to available educational programs. Princess Nora is the President of Fundación Educación Activa and has been a part of the annual Christmas bazaar for thirteen years.

This year's market is located in the Glass Pavilion of the Casa de Campo Exhibition Centre and runs from November 21st to 30th. It spans seventy booths and 8000 square metres, and is expected to draw around 30,000 shoppers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Stadtschloss Wiesbaden

All photos: Luxarazzi
The neo-classical Stadtschloss Wiesbaden, or Wiesbaden City Palace, was only completed in 1841, but the site on which it sits represents centuries of influence for the Nassau family. After its completion, the nineteenth-century structure was the primary residence of the Dukes of Nassau. It survived the Revolutions of 1848, as well as the annexation of the Duchy of Nassau by Prussia in 1866. Perhaps more importantly, most of the palace survived both World War I and World War II, although the latter left significant damage. Today, Stadtschloss Wiesbaden is the seat of the Landtag (or State Parliament) of Hesse.

During the Middle Ages, a castle sat on the site that is now Wiesbaden City Palace, and the Counts of Nassau established residency in that city in the year 1236. History records that the Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich II actually celebrated the Feast of Pentecost in the earlier castle. The castle, as well as the city of Wiesbaden, were destroyed after a 1242 conflict between Friedrich II and the pope. This was not the first time Wiesbaden faced destruction, and it would not be the last. In fact, the city was destroyed and reconstructed at least three times during its history. Later devastation would occur during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), by which time Count Philipp III of Nassau-Weilburg had commissioned the New City Palace. History indicates that the palace survived, in part at least, the Thirty Years’ War, but by early the eighteenth century it fell victim to decay and disuse.

The Kavaliershaus facade, adjoining the Right Wing
and located directly across from the Schloßplatz.
The shifting influences within the Nassau family directly affected the fortunes of Wiesbaden and the palace located there. The Nassau-Weilburg line, for a time, gave way to the Nassau-Idstein line, with Count Georg August Samuel at its head, and while he recognized Wiesbaden as his capital he established his main residence at the newly constructed Schloss Biebrich, just outside the city. It would not be until the early part of the nineteenth century that Wiesbaden would see a reconstructed royal residence.

In 1816, the new Duke of Nassau, born Friedrich Wilhelm of Nassau-Weilburg, arrived with big plans for Wiesbaden. The city underwent an extensive round of new construction, including a palace. In spite of initial recommendations to locate the palace in a more isolated area, Friedrich Wilhelm decided he wanted his new palace to be in a central location, so he could experience living amongst his people. As a result, Stadtschloss Wiesbaden ended up being in the Schlossplatz, or Palace Square, which is the center of the market district. Such a location, however, came with its challenges: the nearby buildings are, in fact, very nearby, and the size of the palace reflected the limited available space. Granted, the Stadtschloss is unmistakable as a palace, but it does not have quite the expansive grandeur of other such buildings.

At the same time, Stadtschloss Wiesbaden fits into the area without overpowering it. Friedrich Wilhelm commissioned the architect Georg Moller in 1835, and construction continued until 1841. Sadly, the Duke would not live to see his vision completed, as he died suddenly in 1839 and was succeeded by his son Adolph I. The new Duke of Nassau, who would later also become Grand Duke of Luxembourg, moved into Stadtschloss Wiesbaden as his winter residence, reserving Schloss Biebrich as his summer residence.

Conflict broke out in 1848 (the Revolution of 1848), and a crowd of 30,000 people marched to the Stadtschloss in Wiesbaden and insisted that the Duke of Nassau affirm a bill of rights for citizens. Adolph was in Berlin when this occurred, but he promptly left by train. Upon arriving in Wiesbaden, he returned to the palace on foot and without any guard, a quality that earned respect from the people of Nassau. From the balcony of the Stadtschloss he calmed the citizens and agreed to their demands.

Adolph I’s reign came to a close in 1866, when the Duchy of Nassau was absorbed into Prussia, and later the German Empire. The palace came into the possession of the German Kaiser Wilhelm I, whose grandson Wilhelm II would continue to use Stadtschloss Wiesbaden as one of his summer residence.

The collapse of the German monarchy in 1918 left the palace without its expected occupants, but the building continued to serve a valuable purpose following World War I. Between 1918 and 1919, the Stadtschloss housed the Workers' and Soldiers' Council. During the Occupation of the Rhineland by the Allies, the palace was home, first, to the headquarters of the French Occupation Armies and, in 1925, to the headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine. In 1930, Allied forces withdrew from Germany, and Stadtschloss Wiesbaden became a museum under the Preußische Staatliche Schlösserverwaltung, or Prussian State Administration of Palaces.

The main entrance of the Hessian Landtag.
The palace’s peaceful new role would not last long, with World War II already on the horizon. Military District (or Wehrkreis) XI of the Wehrmacht used the Stadtschloss in Wiesbaden as its General Headquarters. In 1940, following Germany’s success against France, Wehrkreis XI grew to absorb other regions, including the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. After Germany’s defeat in 1945, the palace became the headquarters for the U.S. Army. By the end of the war, however, Stadtschloss Wiesbaden had lost much of its former glory. The U.S. Army moved into what still stood among the ruins of the building, with one of its entire wings having been destroyed during fighting.

The State of Hesse was created in 1946, and the new government took possession of the Stadtschloss. The palace has, from that time, housed the Hessian Landtag. Significant reconstruction has taken place over the subsequent decades. A Plenary Chamber was added in the courtyard in 1959, while the state parliament continues to use the historic rooms – with many of the original items that survived the war still in them – for receptions. Some of them are also open to the public.

By the 1990s, the Plenary Chamber was looking outdated, so the State floated plans for a modern facility made of transparent glass. Public outcries about both cost and suitability brought the plans to a quick demise, and the structure that was built instead reflects the stylistic character of the palace and the other buildings around the Schlossplatz. The new debating hall for the Hessian Parliament opened in 2008.

The layout of Stadtschloss Wiesbaden.
The architect Georg Moller had designed Stadtschloss Wiesbaden in the neoclassical style. The design of the palace is fairly simple, at least in the sense of abandoning some of the excess ornamentation of earlier eras. At the same time, it embraces an overall intention of elevated elegance. By intention, the exterior architecture of the palace fits the design of nearby buildings in the Schlossplatz. The original three-level structure was planned around two primary wings that are united in the corner with a half-cylindrical main entrance, known as the Small Rotunda. This entrance is topped with a balcony. A third wing that is angled between the two main wings contains the palace's main staircase and the Dome Hall, as well as the Mittelbau, or Middle Building, which houses the Music Room. The Middle Building creates an interior courtyard, and two of its sides are connected to the other wings of the palace with a glass-enclosed conservatory. Due to the layout, traveling among the palace's 145 rooms requires extensive walking.

Connected to the Right Wing of Stadtschloss Wiesbaden are two further palace buildings: the Kavaliershaus (Gentleman's House) and the Wilhelmsbau (Wilhelm's building). The former had been constructed as a commercial building in the 1820s, before the palace's construction, but Friedrich Wilhelm purchased it to be part of the planned palace. Under the Dukes of Nassau, it was used as the Majordomo's offices. Today, it functions as the primary entrance to the Landtag. The Wilhelmsbau was built after the Prussian acquisition and became a military hospital, named in honor of the Kaiser. It too is part of the Landtag today.

The interior rooms of Wiesbaden City Palace still reflect the luxury it once exuded as a royal residence. Exotic woods have been used throughout, and statues and gold-plated bronze candlesticks sit along the lengthy corridors of the two main wings. Many antique painted wallpapers still line the palace walls. The only wing that still retains original décor, however, is the left wing. The interior of the right wing faced total destruction during World War II.

Within the left wing, the Red Salon on the first floor remains beautifully intact. It is decorated with red silk wallpaper, stucco marble, and ornate frescos on the ceiling. Next door is the Yellow Salon, once the breakfast room for the Dukes of Nassau; it is similar in style to the Red Salon, but it features yellow instead of red.

The third wing, placed diagonally to the other two wings, has barrel ceilings and statues of ancient gods. What was at one time the dining hall is now the Dome Hall and holds skylights, as well as a chandelier that once hung in Schloss Biebrich. The glass conservatory that connects the Mittelbau to the other palace wings originally held the Duke of Nassau's prized collection of exotic plants. The Music Room within the Mittelbau is the largest room within the palace, and is currently used as a concert room. It also functions as a foyer, when the Landtag is in session.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grand Duke Henri Receives Ambassadors

On Friday, November 14th, Grand Duke Henri received five ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary in audience, each presenting his credentials at the Grand Ducal Palace. (In this case, no women were among the received ambassadors.) The dignitaries were, in succession: His Excellency Dr. Mark William Christopher Higgie from Australia, His Excellency Mr. Abdulrahman Sulaiman Alahmed from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Mr. Dharar Abdulrazzaq Razzooqi from the State of Kuwait, His Excellency Mr. Amar Belani from the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, and His Excellency Mr. Nopadol Gunivabool from the Kingdom of Thailand.

The title of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary indicates the highest ranking ambassadorial position, an individual who is the primary diplomatic representation for a country. Traditionally, the role belonged to the direct ambassador from one sovereign or head of state to another, Today it generally refers to the permanent ambassador serving on a foreign mission.

Pictures from Brazil

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie are on an economic mission to Brazil this week. And while pictures are still a little hard to come by, there are a handful on the website of the government

What they've exactly been up to? On Monday and yesterday - Tuesday that is - the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple and their delegation including the Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, visited São Paulo. On Monday, they met Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer to discuss political and economic matters as well as the bilateral relations between Brazil and Luxembourg. In addition, they also held talks with executives of the BTG Pactual, Safra, Bradesco and Banco Original banks. Yesterday, they attended an economic seminar organised by Luxembourg for Finance, bringing together more than 220 professionals in finance.

Luxarazzi 101: Diane von Furstenberg

I haven't done maths or anything but Diane von Furstenberg certainly is one of the Hereditary Grand Duchess' preferred designers. From the iconic wrap dress via a tweed dress and jacket combination to a lace evening gown, Princess Stéphanie owns a number of pieces by the Belgian-born American fashion designer with the very noble name.

Born Diane Halfin, Diane von Furstenberg married German Prince Egon of Fürstenberg in 1969. (Fun fact: The predicate attached to the Fürstenberg princely title actually is zu rather than von but I guess zu is not as universally known.) The couple divorced two children and three years later but the designer continued to work under her first husband's name.
More royal support for Diane von Furstenberg apart from Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (and a number non-Luxembourg or Liechtenstein royal ladies) comes in the form of Hereditary Princess Sophie, who has also worn a few of the designer's signature wrap dresses. It was actually these wrap dresses that shot Diane von Furstenberg to fashion fame. She first entered the fashion world in 1972 having already designed her first silk jersey dresses during an apprenticeship at the factory of textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti previously. Two years later, in 1974, she created the now iconic wrap dress.
By 1976, Diane von Furstenberg had sold more than one million dresses and while I don't know how many she has sold since, I can tell you that both Princess Maria-Anunciata as well as Princess Marie-Astrid at least own one Furstenberg dress each. After a number of other ventures and a hiatus from the fashion world, Diane von Furstenberg re-launched the iconic dress that started it all in 1997, thus reestablishing her company.

These days the Diane von Furstenberg brands sells a full collection of ready-to-wear fashion and accessories including shoes, handbags, small leather goods, scarves and fine jewelry, as well as luggage, eyewear and home furnishings. In 2005, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award. Forbes currently ranks Diane von Furstenberg as the 68th most powerful woman in the world.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Guillaume and Stéphanie in Brazil

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie are visiting Brazil this week as part of an ecnomic mission. Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna and some 70 representatives of Luxembourgish companies also form part of the group, which arrived in Brazil on Sunday and while stay until Thursday. The economic mission will lead the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess both to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Today they were, among other things, received by the Vice President of Brazil, Michel Temer.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that there will be some more pictures of the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple's Brazilian adventures soon!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Princess Alexandra Visits Red Cross Bazaar

Photo: RTL
It's that time of the year again. The holiday season begins with the annual Red Cross Bazaar at the Halle Victor Hugo in the Limpertsberg district of Luxembourg City. While this engagement is usually one for the Grand Duchess, she was not present but instead represented by her only daughter, Princess Alexandra, this time around. Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa is still recovering from her knee surgery and so viewing heaps of stands in an exhibition hall probably is not the best of ideas.

With all the interest in first solo engagements we had lately, it's interesting to note that this is the first solo engagement of Princess Alexandra since Luxarazzi was established in late 2009. However, this is not her first solo engagement in history as she both attended the 2008 and 2009 finals of the basketball Coupe de Luxembourg all by herself. She was accompanied for the Red Cross Bazaar today by the Minister for Family and Integration, Corinne Cahen, and Luxembourg mayor Lydie Polfer.

While RTL has a video of the event (starting at 1:37), pictures can be found at Tageblatt, Wort
and on Manuel Dias' website

Interview with Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein

Earlier this year, Prince Joseph Wenzel, oldest son of Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie, gave his first interviews. Simply known as Prince Wenzel since he was a toddler, the future Fürst of Liechtenstein finished school earlier this year. The following interview was conducted early this summer and published in Volksblatt, one of Liechtenstein's two major newspapers.

Photo: IKR
Volksblatt: Your Serene Highness, in May of this year you finished school with your Matura school leaving examination. This 'examination of maturity' [there is the word Reifeprüfung in German, an old word for the school leaving examination but still often used today in a figurative way] is often described as the the end of the first chapter of ones life and is often followed by a phase of detachment from the parental home [by moving out, starting a life of your own, etc.]. Does this apply to you as well?
Prince Wenzel: As I already went to boarding school in England for the past few years, this process started a little earlier for me. However, I always liked to come back home and I think this won't change even now that I have finished school.

Were you able to have a normal and happy childhood and teenage years, to invite school friends to your home and simply do what a normal teenager does?
Yes, I think so. I don't think it was any different for me than for other people my age. Since I started primary school until today, I have always had a nice circle of friends which I could both visit and invite home. It was important for me especially as a teenager to grow up like everyone else in this - and all other - regards.

Photo: EinTracht
In difference to many other noble families, the life of the Liechtenstein Family does not take place in the gossip columns of the media. Are you happy about this or would you like a little more attention for yourself?
It has always been important for my parents and grandparents not to make it into the gossip columns. I agree with them as it gives me the chance to move freely, grow up and live my life like any other person.

When did you become aware that you carry a special responsibility and would one day inherit the throne?
I think, to a certain degree, it has always been in the back of my head that being the firstborn means that I would one day take over my father's role.

Did you, in comparison to your siblings, receive a special education that would prepare you for your future role?
No, we all went to the same schools and also received the same education outside of school. Naturally, there were a few aspects of his work that my father explained a little more thoroughly to me. 

Photo: EinTracht
Have there ever been days when you felt that the responsibility was a burden and you wished that you wouldn't have been born a prince?
There were days when I felt a certain Fernweh [basically feeling homesick for abroad] to have options and possibilities, which I would not be able exhaust. However, there is a lot of time left until I will need to take over my father's duties and so I have the chance to experience many different things.

How much do you think about your future role and what role does it play in your career management?
When I go to university, I will follow in my father's and grandfather's footsteps and study either law or economics. I haven't thought about the time after university in too much detail but I expect to live abroad for a few years to get work experiences under my belt and then return to Liechtenstein.

To what extent are you interested in Liechtenstein's current situation, the challenges the country faces and the politics?
Of course we discuss various political matters in our family. This only raises my interest but as I lived abroad for the past few years, I haven't been able to get into all the details.

Photo: EinTracht
Do you actively follow your father's work and does he involve you in his work?
As I said, I have lived abroad for the past few years and thus we only had limited time together. But whenever I was home, my father was able to give my a first insight into his work.

How close are you to your grandfather Prince Hans-Adam and is he a role model for you?
In the winter I always went skiing with my grandfather and during the summer months, we went fishing. So we have always had a close relationship. Nevertheless, he has also been a role model for me, especially as he always had an answer and explanation to every question I had.

What are the differences between you and your father and grandfather, respectively. Do you see any parallels between yourself and them?
Other people probably have a better answer to this question.

Photo: Exclusiv
How much has your grandmother, Princess Marie, influenced you? And what have you learned from your mother?
I think it is only natural that I have learned a lot from both of them.

The aristocracy has its own rules and ceremony: Do this principles and rituals, which some people view as outdated, still have a future for you?
I don't think that modern noble families like mine still have rules and rituals that are outdated and without any future. In difference: I am under the impression that during a time many people complain about a certain decline in values, many get more interest in noble families and the way they maintain certain values.

Which Liechtenstein tradition do you like the most? What's near and dear to you when it comes to the Principality?
I have always liked about Liechtenstein that we have such an informal and familial atmosphere. That everyone knows everyone says a lot about the positive of the country, I believe. This especially shows on days like our national day.

How would you describe Liechtenstein in five [well, six in English] words to a foreigner?
A small jewel in the Alps.

What do you wish for your and what for Liechtenstein's future?
Success, may we both do well.

Grand Duke Attends Book Festival

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort /
On Friday, Grand Duke Henri attended the Walfer Bicherdeeg in honour of its 20th anniversary. The Walfer Bicherdeeg lasts three days, from Friday the 14th to Sunday the 16th, and offers numerous events, including Friday evening's "Nuit de la littérature", which Grand Duke Henri was present for. This event showcased authors readings from their works and musical and comedy performances.

The 20th anniversary celebration also includes the unveiling of a newly created app that allows users to explore the literary scene in Luxembourg.

More photos are available at Wort.

Liechtenstein Celebrates Silver Throne Jubilee

Photo: Roland Korner / IKR
Yesterday, the silver throne jubilee of Prince Hans-Adam II was celebrated with a concert and a mass at the Kathedrale St. Florin in Vaduz. Among those present were the Fürst himself, his wife Princess Marie as well as Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie with their youngest son, Prince Nikolaus.

The concert and subsequent mass included music by the cathedral's choir, soloist Karl Jerolitsch and wind players. Pieces by Franz Schubert, Josef Gabriel Rheinberger, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Georg Friedrich Händel were the festive musical framework of the mass in the fully occupied church.

Another picture is available at Volksblatt.

Princess Maria-Anunciata in Paris

Back in September, on the 24th to be precise, Princess Elisabeth of Thurn und Taxis hosted a cocktail party at the Hôtel Prince de Galles in Paris to celebrate fashion week. Among its guests was Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein, oldest daughter of Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha, who happily posed for a picture together with Sol de Medina y Orléans e Bragança. Princess Elisabeth of Thurn und Taxis does not only come from a very famous and very rich noble family, she also is a Vogue Style Editor At Large.

More pictures of the event in general can be found at Getty Images.

(A big thank you to our reader Henri who sent in the picture!)

Book Review: "The Nassaus of Luxembourg" by Kassandra and Sabrina Pollock with Arturo E. Beéche

There's a new book out on the Grand Ducal Family: Earlier this year, published "The Nassaus of Luxembourg" by Kassandra and Sabrina Pollock with Arturo E. Beéche mainly focusing on the lives of Grand Duchess Charlotte and her five sisters.

When Team Luxarazzi first heard about the book, we were thrilled to bits. An up-to-date English-language book about several members of the Grand Ducal Family?! That sounded like heaven. Something further enhanced by a statement of the authors: 

"This book's concept began with our frustration over the lack of English language sources available on the six beautiful Nassau sisters of Luxembourg, their descendants and the families they married into. We, however, wanted to know more. Thus, we braved our way through whatever foreign language materials we could find, and as we learned more about the princesses' lives our interest grew to include the account of their parents' courtship and eventual marriage, a union which is one of the more touching but tragic of history's untold royal love stories. Nor would the narrative of the sisters' lives be complete without an explanation of how their grandfather came to inherit the Luxembourg throne. We hope you enjoy our effort..."

In the end, I suppose, our expectations were simply too high. Though admittedly the quality between the different parts of the book varies greatly. "The Nassaus of Luxembourg" consists of an introduction and eight chapters (A New Dynasty - Grand Duke Adolphe; The Sickly Heir - Grand Duke Guillaume; A Grand Duchess Maligned - Marie Adelaide; A Beloved Grand Duchess - Charlotte; A Popular Princess and Aunt - Hilda; A Tragic Crown Princess - Antonia; A Giving Princess - Elisabeth; A Spared Princess - Sophie), followed by notes, bibliography and index.

While we thought that the book would put its focus on the lives on the six daughters of Grand Duke Wilhelm, it turned out that it basically covers the Nassau family including the siblings of Grand Duke Adolph, the present day descendants of the sisters, as well as the 23 Bourbon-Parma siblings of Prince Felix. Of course this isn't bad per se but as the book only covers 211 pages excluding notes, bibliography and index, you can guess how thorough it can be. To Nichole and I, the book did not include a lot of new information, apart from a few anecdotes and stories around Princess Antonia and her family (which clearly make the best chapter of this book).

Due to the way it is structured, we would probably recommend this book to readers who don't know much about the Grand Ducal Family generally and would like to get a bit of an overview but not to anyone doing serious research or wanting to delve deep into the family's history. However, the book contains a number of factual errors; here just three examples:
- Page 34: "Thirty-five years later in 1947, his [Grand Duke Wilhelm's] daughter Charlotte had her father's remains returned to Luxembourg, where he was interned in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg City." (-- Correction: Grand Duke Wilhelm remains interned in the crypt of the castle church of Schloss Weilburg in Germany.)

- Page 88: "She [Princess Anita of Hohenberg] has labored tirelessly to regain possession of Konopiste, a beautiful estate the Czecjoslovakian [sic] goivernment [sic] ilegaly [sic] epropriated [sic] from her grandfather after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. [-- Correction: The fact that it is her sister, Princess Sophie of Hohenberg, who has worked to regain Konopiste is the least of this sentence's problems, I believe.)

- Page 115: "Since they [Prince Jean and Countess Diane] only married civilly, given Prince Jean's previous marriage, Madame de Guerre does not have a title. (-- Correction: Marriage and titles in the Grand Ducal Family are based on consent and not whether a religious wedding took place. The former Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy became Princess Stéphanie of Luxembourg on the day of her civil wedding as her marriage received the Grand Duke's consent. Much the same applies to the former Claire Lademacher who became Princess Claire of Luxembourg on her civil wedding day based on her father-in-law's consent to her wedding. In difference, the former Tessy Antony became Tessy de Nassau upon her civil wedding as the Grand Duke did not give the required consent. This did not change even though she religiously married Prince Louis. It is true that the former Diane de Guerre did not enjoy a title right after her marriage because it did not receive the Grand Duke's consent. However, she became a Countess of Nassau in 2012 on the basis of the changed bylaws concerning the house law.)
These and a number of other factual errors make it difficult to even recommend "The Nassaus of Luxembourg" to beginners. Someone not familiar with the topic would need to be extremely cautious and double check information provided as not to start out learning mistakes. We're aware that you should never take information provided in a book for granted and that many other books on various subjects also contain mistakes but in this case we are able to identify them and there were a shocking lot. (And that's not counting those twelve mistakes already corrected on a piece of paper delivered together with the book.)

A few other things that bugged us about the book were the mispelling of names, using Wikipedia as a source of information, or being quite judgmental at times. (E.g. stating that someone was "an unlikable man" -- While this might very well be true, shouldn't you give examples of someone's behaviour and then let the reader decide instead of giving them a prefabricated opinion?!)

Turning to something that is nice about the book: Its abundance of pictures. The text is interspersed with lots of older (and some newer) pictures of the Grand Ducal Family and their relatives. While many of the pictures will seem familiar to those interested in the history of the Nassau family, there are a number of pictures that aren't as readily available but instead new (to us at least).

If you would like to get your own impression of the book, "The Nassaus of Luxembourg" written by Kassandra and Sabrina Pollock together with Arturo E. Beéche, you can order it via Amazon. (Note: We are part of the Amazon Affiliates Program.) The hardcover book published by contains 240 pages and costs about $48.95.

Grand Duke Welcomes New Ambassador

After bidding farewell to some ambassadors last week, Grand Duke Henri welcomed a new one yesterday. Dharar Abdul Razzak Razzooqi of Kuwait presented his letter of credence to the Grand Duke during an audience. During the meeting, they talked about common interests and European affairs. Kuwait's new ambassador to Luxembourg was accompanied by his embassy's counsellor Mohammad Al Judai and third secretary Abdul Mohsen Al Mansour.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Grand Duke Bids Farewell

Already last week, on November 6 and 7 to be exact, Grand Duke Henri bid farewell to three outgoing ambassadors during audiences. Rita da Franca Sousa Ferro Levy Gomes of Portugal, Phạm Sanh Châu of Vietnam and Arif Havas Oegroseno of Indonesia are all leaving their posts as ambassadors to the Grand Duchy.

Hereditary Prince Alois and Prince Nikolaus at Award Ceremony

Photo: Liechtensteiner Volksblatt
Apart from viewing a film about his country, Hereditary Prince Alois also attended the 29th presentation of the Binding-Preis, an award recognising commitment to the causes of nature conservation and environmental protection, yesterday. And while he neither brought along his wife nor his parents, he was joined by one of his uncles, Prince Nikolaus, who in turn did not bring his wife like he did last year. This year's Binding-Preis went to Ulrich Eichelmann of RiverWatch. Three other awards of recognition were given out as well. Among them one to the citizen companionship of Triesen, a municipality in Liechtenstein, for their efforts to preserve valuable habitats.

Princely Family at the Movies

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Yesterday, a sneak preview of 1818 - Die Liechtenstein Saga, a film about the history of the Principality, took place in Balzers. Among those to see the film before its official premiere today were no other than the Prince Hans-Adam II, the Princess Marie, the Hereditary Prince Alois and the Hereditary Princess Sophie. (Pictures of it at Vaterland and Volksblatt.)

The film, that is narrated by Austrian actor Friedrich von Thun (a.k.a. Count Friedrich of Thun and Hohenstein), broadly covers Liechtenstein's history starting even before the name Liechtenstein was associated with the country. Being a poor state of farmers, what is today known as Liechtenstein fought famines, plague and Rhine floods troughout much of the 16th century. At the time, Vaduz was known as one of the world's centres of witch burnings. Not much of it changed when in 1699 the House of Liechtenstein bought the demesne of Schellenberg from the Counts of Hohenems. The Principality continued to be a peasant state until the end of the Second World War when it started its rise to the rank of one of the richest countries in the world.

The documentary also covers other important aspects of Liechtenstein's past and present including the alliance with Napoleon, the threat of annexation by Hitler, the selling of citizenship to Jews in World War II, how the Princely Family lives at Schloss Vaduz, the world’s first Whistleblowers Klaus Lins and Heinrich Kieber, the relaxation of banking secrecy and what it means for the Principality. The film includes interviews with Prince Hans-Adam, his brother Prince Philipp and possibly another few members of the Princely Family.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Prince Robert at World Wine Symposium

Photo: Villa d'Este Wine Symposium
Prince Robert, cousin of Grand Duke Henri, attended the World Wine Symposium last week. The four day event at the Villa d’Este on Lake Como ended last Sunday. On its second day, also known as Friday, Prince Robert and his general manager Jean-Philippe Delmas presented four vintage wines of Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion, two of the wines estates the prince owns, though they were apparently also present for the other days.

Princess Marie at the National Hospital Official Opening

Photo: Nils Vollmar / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt /
Today in Vaduz, Princess Marie was the guest of honour at the official opening of the National Hospital’s new emergency and outpatient surgery areas. The changes, headed by architect Patrick Matt, cost 6.5 million Swiss francs and were completed in only four weeks, largely because parts of the facility had to be closed during renovations.

The hospital is now thirty years old. Back in 2011, a new loan request was rejected, so the Board of Trustees was forced to scrap existing plans and develop a plan that was economical and fit the hospital needs. Board president Michael Ritter (standing to the left of Princess Marie in the photo) expressed his delight with the results, and was pleased to welcome Princess Marie for the official opening.

More information at Volksbatt and Vaterland. Vaterland also offers a gallery of visuals.

Grand Duchess Attends European Microfinance Award

Photo: Geoff Thompson /
Last night, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa was among the guests for the award ceremony of the 5th European Microfinance Award. The award was part of the European Microfinance Week hosted every two years by the European Microfinance Platform. The Grand Duchess has long been involved with the business of microfinance and attended the same award ceremony also in 2012, 2010 and probably before that. The winner of this year's award was the Kompanion Financial Group from Kyrgystan.