Thursday, April 30, 2015

Alois and Sophie Attend Concert

Photo: Paul Trummer / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt
In Liechtenstein, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie were among the guests for a joined concert of the Chorseminar Liechtenstein choir as well as the Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein orchestra. They played "The Creation", an oratorio written between 1797 and 1798 by Joseph Haydn. It depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the Book of Genesis and Paradise Lost.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume Attends Financial Conference in Tunisia

Source: Luc Deflorenne / Cour grand-ducale
Today in Tunis, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume spoke at a financial conference organized jointly by UTICA and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. Also present was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider, as well as UTICA President Wided Bouchamaoui and Tunisia's Minister of Investment, Development and International Cooperation, Yassine Brahim.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume reflected positively on Tunisia's history and encouraged strengthening the relationship between Luxembourg and Tunisia, while Deputy Prime Minister Schneider spoke about the opportunities for establishing a bilateral cooperation between the countries. During the conference, a cooperation agreement was signed between UTICA and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

More about the conference here and here. Photos of the event available at the Cour website. It does not look like the Hereditary Grand Duchess was in attendance. Sometimes, it's a pleasure to be proven wrong. Many thanks to the Dutch ambassador for noting Stéphanie's attendance there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Guillaume and Stéphanie Arrive in Tunisia

Source: Luc Deflorenne / Cour grand-ducale
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie arrived in Tunisia, along with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider and the other members of the business delegation from Luxembourg. They were received by Habib Essid, the Head of Government (shown on the right, in the photo above), and met with other government officials from Tunisia.

On Thursday, the couple will attend a seminar organized by UTICA and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, entitled "Tunisia-Luxembourg: Partners for the Future." The seminar will provide companies in Tunisia with more information about Luxembourgish companies and explore opportunities for financial cooperation between the countries.

Further information about the visit to Tunisia here, here, and here. Some photos from the Cour website here.

Maria Teresa Attends the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO

Source: Romuald Meigneux / Cour grand-ducale
On Tuesday evening, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was in Paris to attend an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of UNESCO. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, was also there, as was UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. The event, entitled "UNESCO: 70 years in the service of human dignity," offered a look at the organization's founding and its future goals. The Grand Duchess met with other attendees, including members of the United Nations System Chief Executives' Board for Coordination (CEB).

For a playback of the live stream of the event, see here. No photos yet of the Grand Duchess, but they'll be added if they're made available. Post and they shall appear: now on the Cour website.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO since 1997. Her efforts have focused on microfinance, social economy, and international education rights for girls and women.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Guillaume and Stéphanie in Casablanca

Source: David Nivière / Cour grand-ducale
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Casablanca for an economic seminar, with the focus "Le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, votre plateforme internationale pour un partenariat réussi" (The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, your international platform for a successful partnership). The couple arrived in Morocco on April 27th as part of a trade mission representing Luxembourgish companies in Morocco and Tunisia.

Guillaume spoke to open the seminar, commenting on the opportunities for strengthening the economic cooperation and exploring common financial interests between Luxembourg and Morocco. He also praised Morocco's current ruler, King Mohammed VI, for his role in providing economic, political, and social stability in the country.

More about the seminar from the Moroccan press, here. Also, more photos from yesterday and today on the Cour website.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Grand Duke Honours Volunteers

Photo: Di Millo Eric
Sunday was Luxembourg's national day of civil protection and so Grand Duke Henri was on hand yesterday to hand out medals and diplomas to distinguished members of the Protection civile. Together with Dan Kersch, Minister for the Interior as well as for Public Service and Administrative Reform, he attended a special event to do so at the Al Seeërei in Diekirch. The Grand Duke has been the patron of the civil protection since 1977.

More pictures at the cour.

Grand Duke Henri Receives the Vice-President of the European Commission

Source: Cour grand-ducale
Today at the Palais Grand Ducal, Grand Duke Henri received in audience Jyrki Katainen, the Vice-President of the European Commission. Mr. Katainen, whose responsibilities include exploring the economic sustainability of the euro, is on a working visit to Luxembourg.

Guillaume and Stéphanie in Morocco

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie arrived in Rabat, Morocco, on Monday for the start of a three-day economic mission to Morocco and Tunisia. They are accompanying Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Etienne Schneider, on the trip, which also includes a 60-person business delegation representing 40 businesses in Luxembourg. These businesses include information and communication technology (ICT) companies, as well as environmental technology services.

The goal of the visit is to explore business opportunities and strengthen economic ties between Luxembourg and these countries. Tomorrow, there will be an economic seminar in Casablanca. The couple will also discuss bilateral economic relations with government officials during the visit.

Upon their arrival in Rabat, the Hereditary Grand Ducal couple was welcomed by members of the Moroccan government, including the Head of Government, Abdelilah Benkirane; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Boussaid; the Wali of the Rabat-Salé-Zemmour Zaer (governor of the province of Rabat), Abdelouafi Laftit; the governor of the prefecture of Salé, Mustapha Khedri; and Mayor of Rabat, Fathallah Oualalou; among others.

More on the visit from the Moroccan press here and here. A very small photo of Guillaume and Stéphanie available here. Thanks to Deputy Prime Minister Schneider for a bigger photo!

Some nice photos added on the Cour website as well.

Source: Luc Deflorenne / Cour grand-ducale

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume Attends the Horesca-HOTREC Gala Dinner

Source: Charles Caratini / Cour grand-ducale
On Thursday evening at Cercle Cité, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume attended a gala dinner for Horesca-HOTREC, which represents the hospitality industry in Luxembourg (Horesca) and in Europe (HOTREC). The HOTREC general meeting takes place in Luxembourg from April 22nd to April 24th. Among the evening's events was the hospitality award given out by the European Hospitality Foundation (EHF).

Also in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider; the Minister for Labour, Employment and Immigration Nicolas Schmit; and Secretary of State for the Economy Francine Closener.

No photos have been released yet. They'll be added if they're made available. Photo released on the Cour website.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Princess Marie Opens Playground

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Princess Marie was among the guests for the opening of a new playground in Schaan, Liechtenstein's biggest municipality, today. The playground is part of the Heilpädogogisches Zentrum, a special education school. However, it won't only be open for school's children but all the children of Schaan. Princess Marie was the president of the Heilpädogogisches Zentrum between May 1983, when she took over the position from her mother-in-law, Princess Gina, and 2005. Since then, the Princess has been its patron

More pictures at Volksblatt and Vaterland.

Golden Anniversary and a Little Bit of Liechtenstein History

Last Sunday (and kinda missed by us this week), Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie attended a mass to celebrate the golden priesthood anniversary of Father Franz Näscher in his home parish of Gamprin-Bendern in the Principality's north-west. Fun fact about Gamprin: It was there on March 16, 1699, that the men of Liechtenstein's Unterland (literally "lower land" including today's municipalities of Ruggell, Schellenberg, Gamprin, Eschen and Mauren, or at the time the areas belonging to the County of Schellenberg) first swore allegiance to their new Prince (though Liechtenstein wasn't a Principality yet - and, in fact, wasn't called Liechtenstein yet).

Friday, April 24, 2015

Grand Duke Welcomes Ambassadors

Hereditary Prince wasn't the only one who met ambassadors this week: Grand Duke Henri welcomed five new ambassadors to Luxembourg on Thursday. Omar Abdi Said of Djibouti, Ali Saïd Faqi of Somalia, Jorge Jurado of Ecuador, Kakadjan Mommadov of Turkmenistan, and Raymond Azzopardi of Malta all presented their letters of credence to the Grand Duke during audiences at the palais grand-ducal.

Hereditary Prince Back at Work

Photo: IKR
Long time no see: After quite a longish Easter break Hereditary Prince Alois seems to be back at work. Today, Liechtenstein's regent received the ambassadors of the Latin American and Caribbean states accredited to the Principality for an audience and exchange of ideas at Schloss Vaduz. The guests from Latin America and the Caribbean also met with the Deputy Prime Minister and visited the Hilti AG company in Schaan. Pictures and more information at Volksblatt.

Stéphanie to Join Trade Mission

According to press reports, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie is to join her husband on his upcoming economic mission to Tunisia and Morocco. The Hereditary Grand Duke will head an economic mission, also accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, later this month. The trade delegation will visit Morocco from April 27 to 28, and then head to Tunisia for two days. Naturally we will cover all of Guillaume and Stéphanie's Moroccan and Tunisian adventures right here at Luxarazzi.

Henri and Maria Teresa Receive the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs

Source: Marc Schmit / Cour grand-ducale
On Thursday, at the Palais Grand-Ducal, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa received in audience Bruno Rodrìguez Parrilla, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Cuba. His Excellency is currently on a working visit to Luxembourg. As you probably know, the Grand Duchess was born in Cuba.

A little more about Bruno Rodrìguez Parrilla's visit at Wort.

No photos of the audience yet, but they'll be added if they're made available. Photo now available from the Cour website.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple Attends the Innovation Camp Awards

Photo: Marc Schmit / Jonk Entrepreneuren / Cour grand-ducale
On Wednesday, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Kirchberg to attend the awards ceremony for the 8th Innovation Camp. The camp is organized by Jonk Entrepreneuren Luxembourg, of which Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume became a patron in April of 2013. After the ceremony, the couple visited with students to discuss their projects. This year's event crossed borders and included participants from Wallonia and Lorraine.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were accompanied by Marc Hansen, the Secretary of State of Education, Children and Youth. The event aims to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in young people and encourage innovation.

So far, no photos of the event, but they'll be added if they're made available.

Posted too soon. Photos available from the Cour website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Grand Duke Henri Attends a String Quartet Concert in Eschweiler

Source: Photoclub Wooltz / Cour grand-ducale
On Saturday, Grand Duke Henri attended a concert for De klenge Maarnicher Festival. The event, featuring "Quatuor Stradivari," was held at the church in Eschweiler and included string quartet selections from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

No photos from the concert just yet. They'll be added if they're made available. Photos now available, from the Cour website.

Grand Duke Henri also took time in Eschweiler to pay a visit to Luxembourgish author Lambert Schlechter whose home and extensive library of several thousand books were seriously damaged in a fire on Friday night.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Grand Duke Visits Eschweiler House Damaged by Fire

The roof and other parts of an old house in the town of Eschweiler were destroyed on Friday night by a fire. The house, which is owned by Luxembourgish author Lambert Schlechter, also housed a private library of thousands of books, many of which were destroyed or at least heavily damaged by the fire. Last night, Grand Duke Henri, who was in Eschweiler for a concert - more on that in a post later on -, paid a spontaneous visit to Schlechter to have a personal look at the damage on site, express his regrets about what has happened and thank the local firemen. More pictures at Tageblatt.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Prince Philipp Opens Exhibition

Photo: National Palace Museum
Since yesterday until August 31, the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, is showing an exhibition entitled "Crown of the Alps: Masterworks from the Collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein". Unsurprisingly whenever it comes to exhibition openings featuring masterworks from the Princely Collections, Prince Philipp was on hand for the opening last night. The exhibition includes 118 selected pieces of paintings, antique books, medals and firearm owned by the Liechtenstein family. More information on the website of the National Palace Museum.

Grand Duke Henri Remains in Denmark for Birthday Celebrations

Grand Duke Henri remained in Denmark through the 16th to join the 75th birthday celebrations for Queen Margrethe. No word on why Grand Duchess Maria Teresa did not accompany him, but he was joined by other royals, as shown in the photo above.

Grand Duke Henri was also in Denmark on the 15th for Queen Margrethe's gala birthday dinner.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Grand Duke Goes Solo for Queen Margrethe's Birthday Dinner

Grand Duke Henri surprisingly went solo for the gala dinner hosted earlier this evening at Christiansborg Palace in honour of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark's upcoming 75th birthday. The Danish and Luxembourgish monarchy actually share their birthday and while the Queen turns 75 tomorrow, April 16 that is, the Grand Duke celebrates his 60th birthday. (And because those aren't enough royals to share a birthday, it's also Prince Sébastien 23rd.)

But back on topic: While Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was also scheduled to attend the gala dinner in Copenhafen earlier this evening, she did not do so for an undisclosed reason. No idea if she actually travelled to Denmark, like she was supposed to, or whether she stayed home in Luxembourg for some reason. A bit anticlimactic, shallow me, who was looking forward to the first grand ducal tiara sighting in what seems like ages, has to add. Nevertheless, the Grand Duke looked his dashing self.

More pictures of him, the birthday girl and all the other royals at Royals by Robin, for example. Fashion and jewellery run-downs, albeit lacking a Luxembourgish contribution, at Order of Splendor as another example. (Yes, I'm lazy this evening so these example will need to do; wishing everyone in the same timezone as me a good night!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Birthday Interview with Princess Marie

Photo: 1 FL TV
Princess Marie gave an interview to 1 FL TV to mark her 75th birthday. In the interview, the wife of Prince Hans-Adam talks about her childhood, family - among other things, the Princess says that her husband sometimes tells her "that was very Kinsky of you" and that she jokingly replies that he should be silent now as he actually has more Kinsky blood than her -, teenage years in Munich, her first visit to Liechtenstein, how she met her husband, her relationship with her parents-in-law - she actually reads a letter from Princess Gina - how she and her husband take life with a lot of humour, and loads more.

Most of the things told by Princess Marie are already chronicled in our 101s about her, see here and here.

Honorary Doctorates for Grand Duke and Grand Duchess

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa will visit the United States of America on May 8 and 9 to receive honorary doctorates in Christian ethics for their conviction in favor of a culture of life. The doctorates will be awarded by the Franciscan University of Steubenville located in Ohio. The Grand Ducal Couple will be honoured for living their faith in the public square and earning the respect of Catholics worldwide alongside the Archbishop of Baltimore and a former ESPN analyst and NCAA football coach.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa will also be the commencement speaker during the University's graduation ceremony on May 9. The Franciscan University of Steubenville is a Catholic college run by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. The Grand Ducal Family has some personal ties to the university as members of the family have studied there.

New Official Pictures of Henri and Maria Teresa

Grand Duke Henri will celebrate his 60th birthday tomorrow - as does Prince Sébastien by the way, not his 60th though; the Grand Duke's youngest turns 23 - and to mark the event, the cour grand-ducale has released the following three new pictures of the Grand Duke and his lovely lady, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.
All photos: Cour grand-ducale / Christian Aschman

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tessy Takes a Dive and Other Missed News

Photo: Stephen Chung
Already on February 6, Princess Tessy took part in the Special Olympics Great Britain’s first ever Polar Plunge. The London-based event saw hundreds taking a leap into icy water to raise money and awareness for the charity.

Even longer ago, in November of last year, Princess Marie-Astrid and her husband, Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria, were in Switzerland to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the FXB Foundation, which helps to support orphans and people living in extreme poverty around the world.

Trade Mission to Tunisia and Morocco

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume will head a economic mission to Tunisia and Morocco at the end of this month. Between April 27 and 30, 2015, a Luxembourg trade delegation consisting of slightly more than 30 companies will visit the two Maghreb states. Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider will also accompany the delegation; no word yet on the participation of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. Among others, the trade delegation will visit Casablanca.

Princess Julie in Toronto

Photo: The Glenn Gould Foundation
Princess Julie of Nassau, the wife of Prince Robert of Luxembourg, has been in Toronto, Canada, for a few days now where she was part of the jury of the Glenn Gould Prize. The prize is handed out by the Glenn Gould Foundation and awarded every second year to a living individual in recognition of his or her contributions to music and communication. American composer Philip Glass was chosen as the prize's 11th laureate. More info about the prize here, here and here. Princess Julie has long been a supporter of various charitable music foundations, prizes and events.

Princess Marie Celebrates Her 75th Birthday

Source: Daniel Schwendener / Vaterland /
Happy birthday to Princess Marie! Today, she marks her 75th birthday, and a reception was held in her honor at Vaduz Castle. Prince Hans-Adam was by her side, and Hereditary Prince Alois was in attendance as well. Additionally, numerous government officials were there to offer their good wishes, including including Prime Minister Adrian Hasler, Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Zwiefelhofer, and President of the Landtag Albert Frick, among others.

Some great photos at Vaterland, including photos of Princess Marie throughout the years. More pictures of today's reception at Volksblatt, and a video at 1 FL TV.

Also, for a little more about Princess Marie's life, check out the Luxarazzi 101 links here and here.

Grand Ducal Family Marks 70th Anniversary of Grand Duchess Charlotte's Return from Exile

Photo: Chris Karaba / Luxemburger Wort /
70 years ago, on April 14, 1945, Grand Duchess Charlotte returned to Luxembourg after being in exile for five years. To mark the event, Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Grand Duke Jean took part in a commemoration ceremony at Place Clairefontaine in the city of Luxembourg at noon today. In the middle of Place Clairefontaine stands a statue in memory of Grand Duchess Charlotte.

At the memorial for his grandmother, the Grand Duke laid a wreath of flowers. Afterwards he, his wife and his father met with the last commander of the Grand Ducal Guard, which was disbanded in 1966, Honorary Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Wagener. The first company of the guard, which was formed in March 1945, had welcomed Grand Duchess Charlotte in front of the Palais grand-ducal upon her return from exile. The event was also attended by various politicians including Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, the Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, Simone Beissel, first deputy mayor Sam Tanson, and the Chief of Staff of the Luxembourg Army, General Roman Mancinelli.

Pictures of the day at Wort in German (which also has a video), Wort in French, Wort in English, Tageblatt, L'essentiel, Manuel Dias' website, and RTL, who also have a video as well. Also browse around all those websites I just mentioned for much more on Grand Duchess Charlotte's time in exile, her return to Luxembourg and what she meant to the people of Luxembourg during World War II (and beyond).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Grand Duchess Charlotte Returns from Exile

70 years ago tomorrow, on April 14, 1945, Grand Duchess Charlotte arrived back to Luxembourg after spending almost five years in exile. A commemorative ceremony will take place tomorrow at 12.15pm in Place Clairefontaine, where Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Grand Duke Jean will place a wreath of flowers at the statue of Grand Duchess Charlotte. To mark the occasion, Wort has published a 45 minute long documentary about the Grand Duchess' exile and her return to Luxembourg. It can be viewed here. I haven't had the time to watch it yet so I can't give you any details but I'm sure it's worth to watch; I will definetely do so when I find the time.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Queen Margrethe's Birthday and Other Activities

It's officially official, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa will travel to Copenhagen for April 15 to attend some of the celebrations surrounding the 75th birthday of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The cour grand-ducale has specifically dated their appearance for the gala dinner of the 15th, which means that the Grand Duke will likely travel back to Luxembourg to celebrate his own and his youngest son's birthdays a day later at home.

Already on Tuesday next week, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Grand Duke Jean will attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the return of Grand Duchess Charlotte to Luxembourg from exile.

Also during next week, on Saturday to be specific, the Grand Duke will be the guest of a concert of the Stradivari Quartett in Eschweiler.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grand Duke to Visit Czech Republic Alongside Royals of Spain and Monaco

What do Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, King Felipe VI of Spain and Prince Albert II of Monaco have in common? Apart from the reasons you are thinking of right now, all three of them will travel to the Czech Republic in May of 2016 to mark the 700th birthday of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, or so Czech president Miloš Zeman confirmed today.

Charles IV, who was born on May 14, 1316, was the second King of Bohemia from the medieval House of Luxembourg, and the first King of Bohemia also to become Holy Roman Emperor. He was the oldest son of John "the Blind" of Bohemia, who is buried at the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Luxembourg. The 700th birthday of Charles IV will be celebrated with various events and exhibitions all across the Czech Republic throughout 2016. For example, the Crown of Saint Wenceslas will be put on display in Prague.

Luxarazzi 101: House of Torlonia

Back in her day, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was known as "the grandmother of Europe". One of the few European royal families not to descent from Queen Victoria though actually is the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg. That does not, however, mean that none of its members can boast a connection to "the grandmother of Europe", though it might come from a unexpected source. That unexpected link is, in fact, Princess Sibilla, wife of Prince Guillaume. 

Princess Sibilla was born the daughter of Donna Olimpia Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi, herself daughter of Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince of Civitella-Cesi and his wife Infanta Doña Beatriz of Spain, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. And even though this introduction might lead you to expect otherwise, in today's post we are going to concentrate on the family of Sibilla's maternal grandfather, the House of Torlonia.

The Torlonias are a relatively new noble family, at least when considering that they are a Roman noble family and that there are many who can easily trace their family's history back a thousand years. Despite being Roman nobility, the Torlonia family origins from the Auvergne region of France. The first influential member of the family was Marin Torlonias, born in 1725. He was the son of Antoine Torlonias, a merchant and laborer.

Marin Torlonia's great-uncle was the parish priest of Augerolles. Thanks to his help, Marin got the position as aide to an influential abbot, Charles-Alexandre de Montgon. Together with de Montgon he moved to Rome and started to work for Cardinal Troiano Acquaviva d'Aragona. During this time, his name was Italianised to Marino Torlonia. With the help of a small annuity from the Cardinal, he later settled near the Piazza Trinità dei Monti where he worked as a cloth merchant and money lender. Upon Marino's death in 1785, his son Giovanni inherited his fortune and used it as a foundation for the Torlonia Bank.

Through speculation, Giovanni Torlonia became immensely rich and an important financier of Roman noble families, who in turn had to pledge or relinquish estates to him. In return for his able administration of the Vatican finances, was created Duke of Bracciano and Count of Pisciarelli by Pope Pius VI in 1794. Bracciano and Pisciarelli had been formerly owned by the Princes of Odescalchi. In 1803, Pius VII made him Marquess of Romavecchia e Turrita and 1st Prince of Civitella-Cesi. Giovanni Torlonia became a Roman Patrician in 1809, with confirmation from the Pope on January 19, 1813. Seven years later, be received the Dukedoms of Poli and Guadagnolo from the Conti di Segni family. And in 1822, Capo di Monte, Morata and Bisenzio from the Princes Poniatowski.

Giovanni Torlonia quickly became on of the biggest landowners of the Papal States. In difference to many of the aforementioned families, the Torlonias represented the emergence of a kind of new noble class, entrepreneurs who amassed both fortunes and titles. Not very surprising then, that the Torlonia's coat of arms actually features two rising comets.

Already in 1793, Giovanni had married Anna Maria Chiaveri, the widow of a cloth merchant. She was a born Schultheiss from the town of Donaueschingen in today's southern Germany. The couple had five children; Maria Teresa, Marino, Carlo, Alessandro and Maria Luisa. Most of them married well - Maria Teresa to a Marescotti, Marino to a Sforza-Cesarini, Alessandro to a Colonna-Doria, and Maria Luisa to an Orsini - and the family amassed even greater fortunes. Apart from many villas and palazzos, they owned a large art collection.

These days, the Torlonia family is one of the few Italian aristocratic families to have survived the reconstruction of the Papal Court in 1969. The only hereditary honours remaining in use at the Vatican to this day are that of Prince Assistants to the Papal Throne occupied in hereditary line by a Torlonia and a Colonna. The Torlonias were appointed to this position in 1958 in succession to the Orsinis, who had held the it since 1735, as Pope Pius XII removed the title from Prince Filippo Orsini who was having an affair with actress Belinda Lee and then slashed his wrists. (Just to add a little bit of drama to the end of this post.)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fireside Chat with Prince Hans-Adam II

Photo: Privà Alpine Lodge Lenzerheide
Prince Hans-Adam was in Switzerland recently, on March 20 to be precise, to talk to Hans Peter Danuser von Platen during a fireside chat at the Privà Alpine Lodge Lenzerheide. The event was organised by HSG Alumni Seniors Chapter. HSG is short for the old name of the University of St. Gallen, both Prince Hans-Adam and Danuser von Platen are alumnis of. Not quite sure what they actually talked about but it likely had to the with the state and the third millenium like he did here, here, here, here, here and here, for example, me guesses.

Marie and Sophie Attend the "Lyra" Concert

On Thursday, Princess Marie and Hereditary Princess Sophie were in Eschen to attend a concert for the group "Lyra" from Saint Petersburg. The selection of music was divided into two parts, with the first part featuring Russian Orthodox liturgical music and the second part featuring Old Russian folk songs. The group "Lyra" is led by Irina Suchodolova.

Princess Marie also attended the concert last year. A little more about this year's concert at Volksblatt.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Members of the Princely Family at the Vatican for Good Friday

Prince Nikolaus, Princess Margaretha and possibly Princess Marie in the first row in the background
Put your detective glasses on, everybody: We have spied some members of the Princely Family at the Vatican today. Prince Nikolaus, Liechtenstein's non-resident ambassador to the Holy See, and Princess Margaretha attended the Celebration of the Passion of Our Lord at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Celebration of the Passion of Our Lord traditionally takes place during the afternoon hours of Good Friday.

With an about 78 percent chance, the Princess Marie was also with them, though we're not entirely sure as we can't see her husband, Prince Hans-Adam, anywhere. Instead, some other gentleman that we do not recognise is seated between the lady we think is Princess Marie and her sister-in-law, Princess Margaretha. With a 50-50 percent chance, Nikolaus and Margaretha's children, Anunciata, Astrid and Josef, were also in attendance but seated somewhere else like they have in the past. 

To view the full video of the screenshot above, have a look here. The members of the Princely Family can be seen at the beginning (starting at about 0:35).

Interview with Hereditary Princess Sophie

Today, while researching for another post about her husband's paternal grandmother, I stumbled across an interview by Hereditary Princess Sophie. As we have so many interviews with her husband and even her son on the blog, I thought it would be nice to also add a translation of one with the Hereditary Princess. It was published in August last year ahead of national day in Lie Zeit.

Photo: Lie Zeit
Your royal highness, by giving the starting signal for the LGT marathon back in June, you sent a great number of runners on the track between from Bendern to Malbun. Where would have you ended up in the ranking if you had joined them?
I think, if at all, I would have arrived hours later, even after the broom waggon. I admire the runners of the LGT marathon a lot. Their accomplishment is colossal. For me, running in flat country is already a struggle, not to talk about going up hills.

Do you have time in your family to do sports? In what kind of sport are you a force to be reckoned with?
I don't do any specific sports. I like running and walking in the mountains. I used to play golf but stopped as I didn't have enough time anymore. In winter, I like to go alpine and cross country skiing with my family.

Are you more of a summer or a winter person?
Neither. I like the change between the seasons! I don't have a preference for any of them. Each season has its own charms and beauties, and I like the variety.

You have been living in Liechtenstein for 21 years now. Do you get homesick for your Bavarian native every now and then? Do you still have other relations to Bavaria then your family and do you find the time to foster them?
Of course I maintain close contact with my family. I visit them regularly. Contacts to friends from a school and teenage years are rare. Unfortunately this is the way things tend to go when you don't live close to each other anymore.

Do you occasionally have Weißwürste and Bretz'n [veal sausages and pretzels, about the most Bavarian things you can eat] at Schloss Vaduz to shed homesickness? Or have Käsknöpfle and Rebel [cheese noodles and something made out of corn, milk, water and salt; again, about the most Liechtenstein things you can eat] become your favourite food?
We do have Weißwürste and Bretz'n every now and then, not to shed homesickness though but because we simply like it. We also really like Käsknöpfle and eat them regularly.

Is the Hereditary Princess a good cook and what is your favourite thing to eat?
Unfortunately, I cook rather rarely myself. Mostly on the weekends and during the holidays. I like to cook all kinds of pasta. There are only very few things I don't like to eat.

Slowly but steadily all of your children reach the age, when they will leave their parental home one after the other. What will be your focus areas once your children have left home? Have you already thought about this?
I don't have a big plan. I don't believe that the amount of time that goes into my family will become less. The tasks simply change. A few years ago, it was changing nappies and feeding, now it's different things my family needs me to do. Organising the household, my foundation and my upcoming work for the Red Cross will, in addition to all the other functions and events, keep me busy.

You already said it: In 2015, you will take over from HSH Princess Marie the Presidency of the Red Cross. How do you prepare for this role?
Right now I am reading a lot. Starting in autumn, I will also be on hand to learn more on site. When worse comes to worse, I will also have a mother-in-law close by, who will help me with words and deeds.

One of your additional tasks is the Sophie von Liechtenstein Stiftung for woman and child, which you founded in 2006. Has the foundation developed like you wanted it to?
I'm very happy with the development of my foundation. My expectations were actually surpassed. The main aim of the foundation is to help women and couples who find themselves in sudden distress. During the past year we helped around 600 women and couples in different ways. The number has increased steadily over the past few years. In addition, there are sex educational offers for schools, which have also received positive feedback. During the last year, we visited schools 180 times. This shows that there is a need for the foundation's work and that it is used, which makes me happy.

Do you have more of an overviewing function in the foundation or do you also work operational?
No, I don't have the professional training for that. We have highly educated employees who fulfill this function. Whenever there are questions about the foundation and its development, I'm on hand and decide together with the foundation council. 

What do you think about the ongoing discussion about abortion that has been going on in the country for years? Are you satisfied with the solution that the government has come up with?
Of course I have followed the discussion for years. We made the deliberate decision not to involve the foundation in the discussion and intend not to change this in the future. We focus on the individual woman who finds herself in a difficult situation or distress. We want to help her.

Is a part of your daily routine to inform yourself about the current events in Liechtenstein's media?
Of course I read both newspapers and also occasionally listen to Radio Liechtenstein. It's very important to me to keep myself informed about what goes on in the country.

Your children went to Ebenholz primary school in Vaduz. Were you also involved in the parents association like Princess Marie many years ago?
Yes, I was involved in the parents association for nine years and really enjoyed it. Many friendships with other mothers developed from it, I value that very much. These contacts still exist today and we meet up regularly. I enjoy that.

It is known that you are interested in interior design. Is it possible that you will spend more time with this hobby again in the future? Have you changed the interior of Schloss Vaduz when you moved here?
Home decoration is fun to me. To do it professionally, I lack both the talent and the time though. To concern myself with interior design has always been a hobby of mine. Naturally I decorated our private rooms but I didn't change any other parts of the castle. The castle's decoration is very classical and timeless. I hope that it will stay timeless for long time so that we don't need to make any major changes for many years to come.

What other hobbies do you have?
I like to read. Starting with newspapers, over literature, crime novels, political books and biographies to historical books. At the moment I read the books of the historical commission [more about them here] one by one, for example.

When you are abroad with your family, can you move around freely or are you disturbed by journalists or passersby?
Luckily, we can move around freely however we like.

On August 15, Liechtenstein celebrates its national day. What does the day mean to you?
I enjoy August 15 each year. August 15 also always is the end of the summer holidays, that makes the day even more special. Many people are back from their vacation and life starts to go its regular ways again. Somehow this day also is the starting signal for the second half of the year.

How would you explain Liechtenstein to a foreigner, who visits the country, in a few words?
Not many words are needed. Who keeps their eyes open and sees the beautiful mountain landscape and nature can already guess how lovely our place is. The littleness and short distances distinguish our country from those of the visitors. It's simply beautiful and has an enormous quality of living.

Princess Marie and Oldest Son Open Liechtenstein Treasury

Photo: Paul Trummer / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt
On Monday night, Princess Marie and Hereditary Prince Alois were present for the opening of the Schatzkammer Liechtenstein, or Liechtenstein treasury. The new exhibition in Vaduz mainly consists of the art collection by Adulf Peter Goop, including Fabergé's Apple Blossom Egg, now owned by the Liechtenstein state, as well as items on loan by the Princely Family, including the replica of the Ducal Hat, once the most expensive crown there was. In addition, the Princely Family has loaned paintings, old military and hunting weapons, representative gifts from King Friedrich II of Prussia, called "the Great", and Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, and more.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Diamond Epaulette Brooch

Once upon a time even royal men used to wear sparkly jewellery. For example, during the 18th century, royal men liked to adorn the shoulders of their coats with diamond epaulettes. Traditionally epaulettes are a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of rank by armed forces and other organisations. Having them made out of diamonds probably showed just how rich and important you were. This fashion, however, went out of fashion in the early nineteenth century. 
Many of the diamond epaulettes were broken up, others turned into earrings. One Nassau epaulette seems to also have been saved from being broken up as well and is today used as a brooch. If the brooch worn by both Grand Duchess Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa is, in fact, not a former epaulette, it must have at least been heavily inspired by it. And while I'm not necessarily a fan of how Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wore the epaulette as a brooch (with the emerald jewellery), I totally love it on Grand Duchess Charlotte. She simply had that je ne sais quoi about her to make even the biggest jewels look like it was the world's most normal thing to wear them. (By the way, she's dancing with King Olav V of Norway above.)