Monday, June 30, 2014

Martial Artistic Royals

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort /
Yesterday, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy accompanied by their sons Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah attended the Coupe Prince Louis, a karate tournament named after the third son of the Grand Duke. Prince Louis has been the patron of the Martial Arts Association of Luxembourg for several years though (to the best of my knowledge) this is the first time he has actually attended the event. After watching several fights, the young family was on hand to hand out the medals to the children and teenagers participating in the competition. Prince Louis was also given an honorary black belt.

Both Wort in German as well as Wort in English have pictures of the event.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book Review: "Lion at the Cross Roads - Orders of Luxembourg" by Antti Ruokonen

Whenever the Luxembourg (or any) royals get glammed up for an occasion, orders are usually never far away. Thus far, however, there has always been a bit of an informational drought when it came to the Luxembourgish orders. There is the 1990 German-language book "Orden und Ehrenzeichen des Großherzogtums Luxemburg" by Jean Schoos but unfortunately many of the information has long been outdated. Thankfully, a new book published in November of last year provides remedy.

The English-language "Lion at the Cross Roads - Orders of Luxembourg" written by Finnish expert Antti Ruokonen, who has also published books about Belgian and Romanian orders, is the new definitive work on Luxembourgish orders. After a brief introduction into Luxembourg's general history and short biographies of the two Luxembourgish rulers most essential to the country's orders, Grand Duke Adolph and Grand Duchess Charlotte, the book gives extensive descriptions of the history, development, appearance as well as bestowal criteria and numbers of the four orders of the Grand Duchy, the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, the Order of Civil and Military Merit of Adolph of Nassau, the Order of the Oak Crown and the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Some of the books biggest and most interesting assets are a great number of high quality pictures of the Luxembourgish orders up close, which make you immediately appreciate all the craftsmanship going into their manufacture. The visual aspect of the book is rounded up with additional pictures of recipients, award documents throughout the decades as well as pictures of the some of the orders' original establishment decrees.

In addition, there are a few biographies of recipients of Luxembourgish orders as well as an appendice featuring conferral statistics and lists of selected and Finnish recipients. The sometimes rather technical information about the orders is spiced up by anecdotes surrounding the conferral (and return) of the decorations. Having read the book ourselves, we can whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone interested in all things Luxembourgish or orders in particular.

The U.S. version of "Lion at the Cross Roads - Orders of Luxembourg", which is 206 pages long, is available via Amazon and costs around $70/€60. A more limited European version - which only differs in format - is available through specialised vendors here, here and here.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Three Princes and a Conference

Photo: Elma Korac / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Yesterday, the 10th International Gottfried von Haberler Conference under the topic "On Statesmanship and the Limits of State Action" took place in Liechtenstein's capital Vaduz. The conference was organised by the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation (ECAEF) in corporation with the University of Liechtenstein and other national and international sponsores. Among the board members of the ECAEF are two Liechtenstein princes, Prince Philipp and his third cousin Prince Michael. The Prince Hans-Adam II is also a member of the liberal think tank. All three of them were among the guests at yesterday's conference. Both Prince Hans-Adam and Prince Michael also held speeches.

Pictures are located at Vaterland and 1 FL TV has a video, just skip ahead to the two minute mark if you don't want to see a report about Hereditary Prince Alois' activities of yesterday.

Source: ECAEF

Friday, June 27, 2014

London Life

Photo: Bystander
Wholly unnoticed by moi thus far - I'm blaming having to work 40 hours a week plus commuting, the World Cup and my social life - Prince Louis and Princess Tessy were out and about at a charity event at the B1 Victoria House in London earlier this month. On June 6th, the couple attended the Elephant Family In Giants' Footsteps launch party celebrating the late Mark Shand's, who was the brother of the Duchess of Cornwall's, Elephant charity and to launch its latest campaign.  

The event was also attended by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent plus an array of other non-royal but still pretty famous people. Pictures of them though not more of Prince Louis and Princess Tessy are available at Tatler.

Guillaume Back at Kräizbierg

Together with Minister Corinne Cahen, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume took part in the latest graduation ceremony of the Fondation Kräizbierg in Dudelange yesterday. The Hereditary Grand Duke has long been involved with the charity for disabled people and is currently their honorary president after having served as chairman for more than ten years. 

More pictures can be found on the website of Luxembourg's government.

More Party in the Garden

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort /
The Grand Ducal Family is still in national day mode - and I'm in blogging mode so to say, this is my sixth update of the day and I'm not done yet - and hosted yet another garden party at the Château de Berg. They even welcomed a new player to the national day team, Princess Tessy who probably just flew in from London, as well as an old player who was missing inbetween, Prince Félix. Apart from that, there were our usual suspects, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, as well as Prince Louis. However, gone was Prince Sébastien and Princess Alexandra hasn't been there all along. (Nothing unusual, she was probably busy at university.)

As (almost) always more visuals are located at Wort as well as the not-so-always Pressphoto.

Stéphanie vs. Claire

During the past few days and weeks the German media, Bunte and Gala in particular, felt called upon themselves to publish articles comparing Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie and Princess Claire to each other with (unsurprisingly) mostly favourable outcomes for the German wife of Prince Félix. (German and commoner simply trumps Belgian-born and aristocrat, you know.)

Usually we try to refrain from commentary about what others publish but this time around I felt like I also wanted to give my two cents. First of all, get your facts straight. Gala's article mentions "Claire immediately stroke the eye of Prince Félix while attending the Swiss boarding school Beau Soleil. They fell in love." Um, no. Prince Félix and Princess Claire didn't start dating until several years after leaving school. Prince Félix has had at least two serious girlfriends between finishing school and dating his wife. 

In difference, the very same article states that all that is known about the first meeting of the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple is that it was at a party. "They kept their relationship a secret. Romance? No chance!" Honestly, I have no idea from what they are drawing that conclusion. Also, I wouldn't exactly call Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie's pre-engagement relationship a secret. Yes, they mostly tried to fly under the radar but they did attend events together. They simply did not pose for photographers together like Prince Félix and Princess Claire chose to. However, the Hereditary Grand Duke did acknowledge having a girlfriend in interviews for his 30th birthday.

The same Gala article also declares the birth of Princess Amalia and the lack of a birth on the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple's part a race. I, however, fail to see how the birth of a child is an Olympic discipline. Every couple has to decide for themselves when they feel ready to have a baby. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie has stated prior to her wedding that she would like to wait a little, even up to three years. Who knows whether they have even been trying. Gala apparently does, as they also claim to know that Princess Claire was already pregnant at the time of her wedding. So I guess they have their correspondents stationed right in the Grand Ducal bedrooms.

Yes I know, I shouldn't get worked up about this and magazines always fabricate headlines in order to attract readers but if find it especially sad that even in the 21th century the success of a princess is still measured by the fact whether she has given birth to a child or not. I thought we have long moved past the times during which a woman's uterus was the most important part of her body and giving birth to as many children as possible was a merit. No woman is a failure because she hasn't been able to give birth (yet). If you are indeed trying to conceive and it isn't working, you don't need the outside world to give comments about it what a failure you are. You don't need to look further in the royal world than Princess Charlène of Monaco to see what the pressure of needing to give birth to an heir does. If the whole thing would indeed be a race, Princess Tessy would have won anyway. Oh right, she isn't German and hardly known so she wouldn't attract readership. My bad.

Another part of the article that seems questionable is the statement that Princess Claire simply melts the hearts of all the Luxembourgers and (as an implication) Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie does not. See, even though I have been following every single event of both of them since their respective weddings, I have a hard time judging that considering that Princess Claire has done what? Four - five if you count Prince Gabriel's communion - official appearances in Luxembourg since her wedding?! She watched a tennis match together with her husband, she attended the international bazaar together with her mother- and sister-in-law, she waved from the balcony during the Octave celebrations, and she visited a charity. Plus, there was also a trip to Japan and a few wine business related things but there weren't too many regular Luxembourgers present for that.

I am not trying to pass judgement on either Princess Claire, who doesn't have an official role in Luxembourg, or Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie but I fail to see what merits Gala's opinion. All I can say is that from the videos I have seen of people meeting the Hereditary Grand Duchess, from interviews I have heard of people having met the Hereditary Grand Duchess and from people I personally know who have met the Hereditary Grand Duchess, she does seem pretty popular with all of them. (And yes, I'm sure there are people who she is not popular with but that's life. Not everyone is universally loved. Not even chocolate.) Curiously enough, beneath an article by Tageblatt about Gala's article, there seems to be more support for Hereditary Grand Duchess.

Bunte basically takes the same line though they always backtrack a little towards the end of the articles. They'd also like us to believe that the Hereditary Grand Duchess is jealous of her sister-in-law due to her giving birth to a child as that's clearly the only merit in a woman's life, and that she is trying to diminish the commoner origins of Princess Claire cause of her statement about the job of a princess not being something you can learn but something that comes from the heart. (No, I don't get the correlation either.)

Lastly, to those banging on about Princess Claire being a commoner and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie being an aristocrat... You know that in the good ol' days of equal marriages, both of them would have been considered a mésalliance? A mere countess, no matter how old her family, certainly wasn't considered the suitable bride of an heir to the throne. Look no further than the most famous example, Countess Sophie Chotek.

Prince Max Officially Visits U.S.

Photo: ZVG
Just a few days after accompanying his older brother to Russia, Prince Max is now on an official visit to the United States of America but mind you not in his capacity as a prince but as a member of the board of the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry. During their two day visit to the U.S. the Liechtenstein delegation met with both members of the Congress as well as the Senate to talk a double tax agreement between the two countries and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Source: Volksblatt

Getting to Know the Principality

Photo: Brigitt Risch / IKR
The trainees of the Swiss diplomatic and consular service visited Liechtenstein yesterday and today in order to get an impression of and to learn about the Principality which many of them will represent diplomaticly in the future. During their visit, they were received at Schloss Vaduz by Hereditary Prince Alois.

As Liechtenstein is a pretty small country, they only maintain few diplomatic missions in other countries. The Principality has embassies in Austria, which also serves for the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the United States of America as well as a non-resident ambassador to the Holy See. In addition, it has permanent representations in Brussels, Geneva, Strasbourg and New York City to the different major multilateral organisations as well as a bunch of consulates. In all other countries, Liechtenstein is represented by Switzerland who also offer all services to Liechtensteiners that they offer their own citizens. 

Both Volksblatt and Vaterland have pictures of the day.

Hereditary Grand Duke to Visit Japan and South Korea

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume will be heading an economic and trade mission to Japan and South Korea later this year. The mission, which is jointly organised by the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Ministry of the Economy, the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Offices in Seoul and Tokyo and Luxembourg for Business, will take place between October 5th and 12th and lead the delegation to Seoul and Tokyo as well as a number of other destinations.

Grand Duke Congratulates Juncker

Today Jean-Claude Juncker was nominated for the position of the president of the European Commission by the European Union's heads of goverment. (Well, 25 of the 27 agreed to it.) Grand Duke Henri has congratulated Luxembourg's former Prime Minister on his nomination.
Monsieur le Ministre d’État honoraire,

C’est avec beaucoup de satisfaction que la Grande-Duchesse et moi-même avons appris la décision du Conseil européen de proposer votre candidature à la présidence de la Commission européenne. 

Je vous souhaite plein succès lors du vote d’investiture qui interviendra très prochainement au Parlement européen. Votre engagement et votre expérience incontestables constituent des atouts précieux dans l’accomplissement d’une tâche difficile mais essentielle pour le futur de l’Union européenne. 
 Translation by moi:
 Dear Honorary Minister of State,
It is with great pleasure that the Grand Duchess and I have learned of the decision of the European Council to propose your candidacy for the presidency of the European Commission.

I wish you every success for the upcoming election in the European Parliament. Your commitment and undeniable experience will be valuable assets for solving the difficult but essential tasks faced by the European Union.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Meanwhile in Liechtenstein

While it was Luxembourg's national day that kept us busy during the past few days, Hereditary Prince Alois was busy receiving accreditations from four new ambassadors to Liechtenstein. Suzan G. LeVine of the United States of America, Mysore Kapanaiah Lokesh of India, Mubarak Kleefiekh Al-Hajri of Qatar and Mohd Zulkephli bin Mohd Noor of Malaysia presented their letters of credence to Liechtenstein's regent today.

Heaps of New Official Pictures

All photos: Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale
You guys, seems like the cour grand-ducale is meaning well for us... They have not published five or ten but 21 new official pictures of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. All of the pictures were taken by Christian Aschman and three of them should already feel familiar to you. As always, click to enlarge!
All photos: Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Party in the Garden (and the Castle)

Photo: Deborah Ceccacci / RTL /
The Grand Ducal Family traditionally hosts a number a garden parties at the Château de Berg on the days following the Grand Duchy's national day. The first one of these garden parties, which actually start inside the castle where all the guests are greeted by the family, took place today. Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (wearing a repeated Prada dress), Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien were on hand for the occasion.

More pictures can be found at RTL, Pressphoto and Wort.

Source: RTL

Grand Dukes Hand Out Orders

Photo: Marc Schmit / Cour grand-ducale
Last Saturday, right before the national day craze already covered on the blog began, there was actually another event held on the occasion of the official birthday of the Grand Duke. Both Grand Duke Henri as well as Grand Duke Jean handed out decorations of the Civil and Military Order of Merit of Adolph of Nassau. While the reigning Grand Duke did so at the palais, Luxembourg's former Grand Duke performed the act at the Château de Fischbach.

Grand Duke Coined

Photo: 2014 Cour grand-ducale / Tous droits réservés
Today, Grand Duke Henri was presented with a gold coin commemorating the 175th anniversary of the independence of the Grand Duchy by Luxembourg Central Bank President Gaston Reinesch and Director Serge Kolb. As every Luxembourgish coin, it features the face of the Grand Duke.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Full Interview and New Portraits

Photo: Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale
Here the translation of the full interview with Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume (HGD) and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (HGDss). The couple was interviewed by Deborah Ceccacci (DC) who has been doing all the sit-down interviews with the Grand Ducal Family as of late. The whole interview is available at RTL and is about seven minutes long.

DC: Good evening, Monsieur!

HGD: Good evening!

DC: Good evening, Madame!

HGDss: Good evening!

DC: The last time we had the chance to to an interview with you was before the big wedding about one and a half years ago. In the meantime a lot has happened. What have you experienced since then and how are you doing now?

HGD: I think we are both doing well. Even though it has been one and a half years, I still have very strong memories of our wedding. For both of us it was an unforgettable moment we were able to celebrate with the people of Luxembourg. The enthusiasm we experienced that day was a great gift for us, it is something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

DC: How was it for you, Madame? How do you remember your wedding?

HGDss: I think I agree. It's a wonderful memory, something I will never be able forget.

DC: What are all the things that have happened since your wedding?

HGD: We have done a lot since our wedding. We have had lots of contact with different businesses in Luxembourg as well as abroad. However, our visits to the different parts of the country have left the biggest impression. I think it was very important also for my wife to get to discover all the different parts of Luxembourg and its people, the diversity that enriches us. It was wonderful that we experienced the same enthusiasm from our wedding day during all those visits throughout the country.
Photo: Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale
DC: The wedding has turned a Countess into a Princess and a Hereditary Grand Duchess. How did you immerse yourself in your new role?

HGDss: I think the biggest difference was the change from being a private person to public figure. Of course I needed a little time to settle down, to discover the country and the people, to learn the language - which was a bit difficult - but I think that becoming a Luxembourgish princess is nothing you can really learn, it is something that you have to feel in your heart. It was wonderful.

DC: Very shortly the national day celebrations will start. Can you say that these festivities are important to you as the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple?

HGD: For us it really is the most important moment of the year. It's the moment the country celebrates together and we can celebrate with them. It's celebrated througout the entire country by Luxembourgers and non-Luxembourgs. Many Luxembourgers living abroad are even coming home for the occasion. It's more than a day to have fun. We can also happily look back at our post and celebrate our common identity together.

DC: The last national day was for you, Madame, the first in your role as Hereditary Grand Duchess. How did you experience it?

HGDss: Of course I was excited - excited in a way of being curious and looking forward to something - how everything would go and what would happen. I was in no way disappointed but very happy to celebrate together with the people in Colmar-Berg, Esch-sur-Alzette and Luxembourg City. It was very nice to celebrate with the people and not to be an outside spectator. That was wonderful.

DC: You weren't born a Luxembourger but became a citizen. Can you say what national day means to you?

HGDss: I mean generally a national day is a very important part of the life of a nation and its citizens. As a Luxembourger, national day also plays an important role in my life. 

DC: What will your agenda for the upcoming days look like? And what are you most looking forward to?
Photo: Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale
HGD: I think we are most looking forward to come into direct contact with the people and to have many wonderful moments with them. We will have a busy schedule which starts with a visit to Esch tonight, then we will have the torchlight parade and the fireworks, which is also something we are looking forward to. Tomorrow we will have a new day with a good programme starting with the civil ceremony and continuing with the military parade, the Te Deum and the gala reception in the evening where we will have the chance to meet many different people. 

DC: You have mentioned it, the schedule for the national day looks a bit different this year, what do you think about it.

HGD: It is something we are very curious about and something to look forward to.

DC: The entire Grand Ducal Family has a busy schedule over these two days. Does this also mean stress to you?

HGD: I think for us it is an exciting time tied to some positive stress.

DC: The national day is an exciting time but you also recently celebrated an exciting moment in the family. Your brother Prince Félix recently became a father, how did you experience that moment?

HGD: It was a wonderful moment for us. We are now one more member in our family. Both my brother and my sister-in-law are so very happy, they are beaming with joy. It's just an additional reason to celebrate a little more.

DC: Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you a wonderful national day!

HGD: Thank you very much!

HGDss: Thank you!

Report: National Day with Guillaume and Stéphanie

Photo: Nicholas Bouvy / SIP / Cour grand-ducale
RTL has accompanied Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie on their second national day together. The whole report, which is about nine minutes long, can be found on their website. As mentioned yesterday, the report includes the Hereditary Grand Duchess' first interview in Luxembourgish. Here's my translation of what she and the Hereditary Grand Duke said:

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume: It [our wedding] was a beautiful moment for us two. It was wonderful that we were able to celebrate it together with the people of Luxembourg. The enthusiasm we experienced that day was a great gift for us, it is something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie: I think the biggest difference [to the time prior to the wedding] is the change from private person to public figure. Of course I needed a little time to settle down, to discover the country and the people, to learn the language - which was a bit difficult [laughs] - but I think that becoming a Luxembourgish princess is nothing you can really learn, it is something that you have to feel in your heart. It [the process] was wonderful.

Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie [on firstly visiting Esch-sur-Alzette for national day last year]: Of course I was excited - excited in a way of being curious and looking forward to something - how everything would go and what would happen. I was in no way disappointed but very happy to celebrate together with the people and not to be an outside spectator. It was very nice.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume [on how he feels about not having one of his siblings as his +1 during the visit to Esch]: It's great! [Starts laughing]

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume [about National Day]: For us it really is the most important day of the year, a day to celebrate together with the people. It's the day the whole of Luxembourg comes together. It's not only a day to have fun but also to have a look at our post and at our identity.

Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie: A national day is an important day for every nation and its citizens. As a Luxembourger the national day is also an important part of my life.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume [on the changes to national day]: It's something we are curious about. I'm looking forward to it.

(Pssst, there's more to come later on as RTL will also upload the whole interview to their website.)

Mystery Solved: A New Tiara for Stéphanie

Photo: Niviere / SIPA France
Seems like everyone's favourite Hereditary Grand Duchess is quite a magpie! Not only has a different tiara graced her head every time we saw her all tiara-d up but she is also introducing new tiaras to the Grand Ducal Collection. Last night's National Day gala caused quite a bit talk among royal jewel lovers as nobody was clearly able to identify which tiara she is wearing. Now that mystery is solved: It seems to be a brand new tiara featuring diamonds set in a butterfly motif. I'd wager the guess that it is a modern piece due to it's size and design. Maybe a wedding (anniversary) present?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tiaras, Gowns and Dashing Gentlemen

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.u
TA-DA! Seems like somebody's annual rant is finally paying off as we are literally swamped with pictures of tonight's gala event. (Well, swamped in comparison to previous years but who cares, there are PICTURES!!! Thanks,!)

Our usual suspects from earlier today minus Prince Félix, who might have been back on baby duty as he possibly was last night, hosted the members of government, parliament, judiciary, administration and the diplomatic corps for a gala (standing) dinner at the palais grand-ducal tonight. 
Photos: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort /
And BAAM, didn't Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie look great?! Her tiara though is a bit of a mystery to me. It's too small to be the Diamond Vines Leaves Tiara and, in my humble opinion, it doesn't lie flat enough on the head to be the the Nassau Floral Tiara though if I'd need to make a guess, I'd say it probably is the latter one. (Upon closer inspection, I don't think it is. So is it a new one? A new old one uncovered from the vaults? The mystery continues...) In difference, the Hereditary Grand Duchess' gown is much less mysterious, it's by Phase Eight.

Thankfully it's way easier to identify the aquamarine tiara on Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa's head also thanks to the matching earrings. The dress is a repeat from the state visit to Poland earlier this year and I still assume it's Elie Saab which just goes to show that I don't love everything that is by Saab just because it's Saab.

Needless to say, Grand Duke Henri and three of his sons, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien all looked their dashing selves sporting the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau. So head over to Wort in German, Wort in French and Wort in English and indulge in the first time in years we get to see numerous pictures of the national day gala.

Stéphanie's First Luxembourgish Interview

RTL will cover the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple's second National Day together during Top Thema Magazine on Tuesday. The report also includes an interview with both Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. The Hereditary Grand Duchess gave the entire interview in Luxembourgish; thus far we only ever had the opportunity to hear a few words of her Luxembourgish here and there. You can watch a short preview for the report at RTL. While Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume talks about the importance of National Day, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie explains that "becoming a Princess of Luxembourg is nothing you can learn, it has to come from your heart".

Source: RTL

Military Parade & Te Deum

The Grand Ducal Family is still going strong and so are we: After the newly introduced official ceremony at the Grand Théâtre this morning, Luxembourg's National Day returned to business as usual with the military parade and an inter-religious Te Deum at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg

While it was the Grand Duke now in uniform and a behatted Grand Duchess as well as the Hereditary Grand Duke also wearing his uniform and befascinatored Hereditary Grand Duchess who represented the Family at the military parade that traditionally also includes representatives of the police as well as aid, emergency and security services, the foursome was joined by Prince Félix, Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien for the church service. 
Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort /
Like last year, the Te Deum was an inter-religious one and concelebrated by the archbishop of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Hollerich; the chief rabbi of Luxembourg, Alain Nacache; the imam of the Muslim community, Halil Ahmetspahic;  and Anglican chaplain Christopher Lyon. During the service, all four of them recited prayers asking for the blessing of the Grand Duke, the Grand Ducal Family as well as the Grand Duchy. Like every year, the climax of the thanksgiving service was the "Domine salvum fac magnum ducem nostrum" - "Oh Lord, save our great leader" or something along those lines if my Latin serves me right - played in a different arrangement every year.

For the occasion, the Grand Duchess repeated an Armani outfit previously worn at Prince Félix's wedding and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie also wore a wedding-experienced outfit, a red coat previously worn at the wedding of Princess Marguerite de Mérode last year.

Pictures of the military parade can be found at Getty Images, Tom Wagner, PPE, Wort in German, Wort in French, Wort in English. Wort also has a video of the parade.

Visuals of the Te Deum are located at Wort in German.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

National Day Thus Far *

Luxembourg's actual National Day kicked off this morning in a different fashion than in previous years. While the day usually started with the Te Deum at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, it did with the newly introduced official ceremony at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg this time around. The religious ceremony will instead take place this afternoon so stay tuned for later today as we'll have another chance to get to see the Grand Ducal Family! (Plus, there's also the national day gala tonight.)

The secular celebrations at the Grand Théâtre were attended by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (wearing a pink Libélula coat) as well as Prince Félix, Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien. The non-attendance of other family members isn't an unusual thing; you might remember that there has always been pretty varying attendance by the younger children of the Grand Ducal Couple in previous years.

The members of the Grand Ducal Family were welcomed at the Grand Théâtre by the President of the Chamber of Deputies Mars di Bartolomeo, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Luxembourg's mayor Lydie Polfer. During the ceremony also attended by members of the government, the member of the Chamber of Deputies, members of the town council of Luxembourg, the members of the Council of State, members of the judiciary, the heads of administration and the diplomatic corps, the Grand Duke, the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the Prime Minister gave speeches. In addition, they also presented deserving citizens with orders.

After the official ceremony, 101 canon salutes were fired from the Fetschenhof to honour the Grand Duke. At the moment Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie are at the Avenue de la Liberté where they are watching the military parade which also includes representatives of the police, fire and emergency services for example.

Visuals are available at Getty Images, Tageblatt, RTL, Wort in English, Wort in French and Wort in German. In addition, there is a video at Wort.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Torchlight Parade

F. Aussems / Luxemburger Tageblatt /
After the visits to Rosport and Esch-sur-Alzette earlier today, the Grand Ducal Family rounded off the day by attending the traditional torchlight parade earlier tonight. Due to construction works, there were a few changes to the usual outlay of the event and so Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien watched the parade from the Place des Martyrs on the Avenue de la Liberté.

To see pictures of the evening event, have a look at Tageblatt.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Visit Rosport

Photo: Tania Feller / Luxemburger Wort /
On the occasion of National Day, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited Rosport, a commune and small town on the banks of the Sauer river in eastern Luxembourg, today. Located in the canton of Echternach, the town of Rosport roughly has 650 citizens. The commune also includes the villages of Dickweiler, Girst, Girsterklaus, Hinkel, Osweiler and Steinheim. All in all the commune has about 2000 inhabitants so it's not hard to imagine what a big thing the visit by the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess was.

Upon their arrival to Rosport, the royal guests were welcomed by mayor Romain Osweiler as well as Ministers Nicolas Schmit and Carole Dieschbourg. After being introduced to other local authorities, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess got the chance to discover the Sauerpark, a large children's playground. Together with children from the neighbouring German commune of Ralingen located directly on the opposite side of the Sauer river, children from Rosport gave a performance for Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa. Afterwards, the Grand Ducal Couple was given a presentation about trans-border cooperation between municipalities.

After touring the village by foot and a stop at the town's oldest pub, the Café du Commerce, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess paid a visit to the Rousperter Kleederstiffchen, an association of volunteers helping families who find themselves in difficult situations. The Grand Ducal Couple's visit continued with the laying of a wreath of flowers at the Second World War memorial next to the parish church and a visit to the local castle formerly owned by Luxembourgish industrialist and inventor Henri Tudor, who developed the first practical lead-acid battery in 1886. Today the castle built in 1892 and usually either called Château de Rosport or Château Tudor houses a museum as well as the municipal administration. After a tour of the surrounding park, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa got the chance to mingle with locals to round off the visit.

A video of the Grand Ducal Couple's visit can be found at RTL. Galleries of visuals are offered by Wort in German, Wort in French and Wort in English

Source: Cour grand-ducale

Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple Visits Esch-sur-Alzette

Photo: Claude Piscitelli / Luxemburger Wort /
On the eve of National Day, the Hereditary Grand Duke and his +1 traditionally visit the Grand Duchy's second biggest town and so Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, who wore a dress and a jacket by Weill, arrived in Esch-sur-Alzette at around 5pm earlier today. The couple were greeted at the Place de la Résistance by the town's officials. After the laying of a wreath of flowers at the war memorial, they made their way to the city centre of Esch by car.

In front of the town hall the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess watched a parade of the associations and clubs of Esch-sur-Alzette. After a short reception hosted in the honour of the royal guests at the town hall and an appearance of the balcony, the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple made their way to the Escher Volleksfest, a public fair celebrating National Day, where they mingled with the people and lit a fire together with young scouts.

In difference to previous years, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will not receive a gift from the town of Esch-sur-Alzette as it was mutually agreed that the town will instead make a donation to an Esch-based charity in the name of the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple.

Lots of lovely pictures are available at L'essentiel, Tageblatt, Wort and the cour.

Source: Cour grand-ducale

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Prince Congratulates

Photo: Private
Former Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Alois Mock recently celebrated his 80th birthday on June 10th. Among the well-wishers for the politician was Prince Nikolaus. Both he and Mr Mock are part of the presidential board of the European Society Coudenhove-Kalergi, an association based on the Pan-European idea. It was during Mock's tenure as Foreign Minister that Austria entered the European Union.

Source: Mein Bezirk

Friday, June 20, 2014

Official Visit to Russia

Hereditary Prince Alois, Prince Max, Prince Constantin and his wife Princess Marie as well as Prince Philipp and his wife Princess Isabelle were on an official visit to Russia yesterday. During the course of the visit, the Hereditary Prince took the opportunity to meet with Russian prime minister and former president Dmitry Medvedev. The visit to the Russian Federation coincided with the opening of an exhibition of parts of the Princely Family's art collection at the Pushkin State Museum as well as the Moscow opening of a travelling exhibit of Liechtenstein stamps.

While pictures of the visit are located here and here, videos can be found here and here. An interview with Prince Philipp about his family's banking business and the art of money-making is available at Russia Today (starting at 17:14).

Source: Volksblatt

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Corpus Christi

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi and like many other Catholics around the world Prince Hans-Adam, Princess Marie and Hereditary Princess Sophie took part in the traditional procession leading through Vaduz today. Hereditary Prince Alois and Prince Max, meanwhile, are currently on a visit to Russia but more about that tomorrow. Another picture of the Corpus Christi procession can be found here.

Grand Duke Congratulates New Spanish King

As it was hardly missable, you probably already know that Spain has a new King. Yesterday, King Juan Carlos signed the law implementation his abdication, which came into effect at midnight. Today, his son, King Felipe VI, was officially sworn in as the new head of state. On the occasion, Grand Duke Henri sent a letter to his new colleague.

A l’occasion de Votre avènement qui constitue un moment historique pour le Royaume d’Espagne, la Grande-Duchesse et moi-même Vous adressons nos meilleurs vœux de réussite dans l’accomplissement de Votre mission et de Vos éminentes responsabilités constitutionnelles.

Votre action en tant que Roi s’inscrit désormais dans un contexte nouveau, avec ses opportunités et ses défis. Elle se fonde aussi sur l’héritage exceptionnel que Vous lègue Votre Père. Je suis convaincu que Vos liens si personnels avec le peuple espagnol marqueront Votre règne qui s’ouvre d’une empreinte très particulière.

La Grande-Duchesse se joint à moi pour Vous témoigner ainsi qu’à la Reine toute notre affection. Je rends également hommage à l’amitié profonde qui unit nos deux peuples et que nous continuerons à cultiver avec cœur et dévouement.

Henri Grand-Duc de Luxembourg
As I simply can't be bothered right now as football (or soccer depending on where you live) starts in a few minutes, check Google's amazing translation of the letter or alternatively order yourself a few French textbooks and a dictionary so you can translate it yourself.

Coming Up: The New National Day

The Grand Duke's official birthday, better known as Luxembourg's National Day, is less than a week away. While the event celebrated on June 23rd traditionally is the most important event on the grand ducal calendar each year, this year will be a bit different as Luxembourg's new(-ish) government did make some changes to its course.

Two things that remain unchanged are the Grand Ducal and Hereditary Grand Ducal Couples' visits during the afternoon hours on the day before the actual national day. While the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess will visit Rosport this year, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will make their traditional visit to Esch-sur-Alzette. In the evening, the family will come together for the torchlight parade. However in difference to previous years, the Family will now watch the parade at the Place des Martyrs and not on Place Guillaume II.

On Monday at 10am, the newly introduced official ceremony will take place at the Grand Théâtre in Luxembourg City. The event will be attended by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, as well as Prince Félix, Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien.

At around 12pm, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess as well as the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess will watch the military parade in the Avenue de la Liberté.

The Te Deum, which isn't part of the official celebrations anymore, will still be attended by members of the Grand Ducal Family. Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix, Prince Louis and Prince Sébastien are all expected to the present for the religious service which will start at 4:30pm at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg.

The most imporant event of the day for all jewel lovers will start at 8pm. The cour grand-ducale has not published details on who will attend the national day gala though I can happily tell you that photographers will be allowed to take pictures during the welcoming of the guests, so let's keep our fingers crossed for a lot of sparkly goodies! (Honestly, I'm fine with everything as long as we get something...)

On Wednesday and Friday next week, two garden parties will be hosted at the Château de Berg.

In addition to the events by the members of the Grand Ducal Family, the Maréchal de la Cour Pierre Bley will represent the Grand Duke at a Protestant, a Jewish and an Orthodox mass each during the upcoming days.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Living With Borders

Photo: Sandra Maier / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
On Tuesday, Hereditary Prince Alois attended a networking event organised by the Liechtenstein-Werdenberg society. Werdenberg is a region in the Swiss canton of St Gallen and directly borders on the Principality. During the course of the event, a film was shown that also included a statement by the Hereditary Prince who said, "I'm very aware of the Rhine river being the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein, however, the mentality of people on both sides of the Rhine is very similar. In addition, both nations can benefit from working together. Liechtenstein could not work as well as it does without the neighbouring region."

Source: Vaterland

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Prince Félix Registers Newborn Daughter and More

All photos: Photothèque VDL / Fernand Blom / tous droits réservés

After picking his wife and daughter up from the hospital, Prince Félix did what every new parent in the Grand Duchy has to do, register their child. Present for the occasion were Luxembourg's mayor, Lydie Polfer, and the official registeringg births.
In addition to the pictures of Prince Félix, Princess Claire and the star of the day, Princess Amalia, leaving the hospital, there are now also videos from early this afternoon available here and here. In a short interview, Prince Félix states how happy and overjoyed he and his wife are about the birth of their daughter and that everything went well.

Source: Cour grand-ducale