Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Henri and Maria Teresa at the New Grand Duchess Charlotte Maternity Centre

Photo: Chronicle.lu
Today, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were in Strassen to attend the inauguration ceremony for the newy renovated Grand Duchess Charlotte Maternity Centre at CHL. The facility, which cost €54.5 million, is being opened after three years of construction and will be directly connected to CHL's children's clinic.

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony (pictured above) and were then given a tour. Also present for the inauguration were Minister of Healthy Lydia Mutsch, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Mars di Bartolomeo, and Luxembourg City Mayor Lydie Polfer, among other dignitaries.

The new maternity centre will also be opened for a public preview on July 5th, with its official opening day for operations in August. For a little more about the inaugural event, see here.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hans-Adam at Munich Security Conference Meeting

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) met at the Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna as part of its "MSC Core Group Meeting" series to debate critical issues of European security on June 16 and 17. Key topics discussed at the meeting included the Ukraine crisis as well as the future relationship with Russia. Those attending the conference included Prince Hans-Adam II as well as various politicians from across Europe.

Hereditary Prince Alois at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Today, Hereditary Prince Alois was reportedly in Lindau, Germany for the opening of the 65th Annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. This isn't Alois's first time attending a Lindau event, as he was also at the 5th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences in 2014.

The 65th Annual Meeting this year is expected to run from June 28th to July 3rd. The event, which pairs Nobel Laureates with the next generation of leaders in the world of science, is expected to see 65 Nobel Laureates and at least 650 scientists from 90 countries.

No photos of Hereditary Prince Alois just yet, but the Lindau website has a fascinating selection of photos on its Flickr stream.

Some photos of Alois here, here, here, and with Countess Bettina Bernadotte here.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Princess Marie at Fête Imperiale

A Marie von und zu Liechtenstein was among the guests for the Fête Imperiale held at the Winter Riding School of the Spanish Riding School located at the Hofburg in Vienna. Celebrating its 450th anniversary, the stunning Winter Riding School, where the famous Lippizaner horses usually give their performances, was transformed into a ballroom for a night. While the news reports don't specify which Princess Marie of Liechtenstein was among the guests (and I haven't been able to locate a picture of her), I assume it was the wife of Prince Constantin as she has attended the event before.

Prince Hans-Adam Celebrates Birthday of Former Chancellor

Photo: Michael Gruber / EXPA / APA
Former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel had an official party celebrating his 70th birthday at Schloss Schönbrunn's orangery in Vienna this week. The politician of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) served as Austria's head of government for two consecutive terms from February 2000 to January 2007. The guests at last Monday's event included Prince Hans-Adam II. 

More pictures on the website of the ÖVP.

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (1): Chaumet Choker Tiara vs. the Diamond Art Deco Tiara

Don't know what The Luxarazzi Tiara Race is? Check out yesterday's post in which we explain what it is all about as well as a bunch of technicalities. If you've done so, it's about time to cast your very first vote. Facing each other in our very first match are the Chaumet Diamond Pearl Choker Tiara vs. Princess Sibilla's Diamond Art Deco Tiara.
Both versatile diamond pieces that can be worn in various ways, it is now up to you, which one of the two will advance into the next round. Also drop us a line in the comment section below to explain why you chose either of these diamonds tiaras.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (Luxembourg Edition)

Photo: Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale
It's summer, and as summer is always quite a quiet time here on the blog, we thought we would add a little new feature: The Luxarazzi Tiara Race. Now, the tiaras can't actually race but we hope that we will see some close races in you chosing your favourite piece of the Grand Ducal Tiara Collection. To do so in a bit of a fun way, we have come up with a draw: In the first round 32 tiaras will face each other in 16 matches. (Race, match - yeah, I'm throwing a bunch of sporting references all into one hat here; but still, we were pretty serious about this, see the picture below.)
There's not use denying it, we're quite serious about his ;-)
As there aren't actually 32 (publicly known) Luxembourgish tiaras, we added another few into the mix. (I'm sorry Princess Claire, your new ruby tiara didn't quite make it in time for applications.) And thus the Luxarazzi Tiara Race will feature all 28 tiaras included in our post about the tiara collection of the Grand Ducal Family already linked above. This means, it will also include the Lannoy Tiara as well as Queen Ena's Aquamarine Tiara, for example. If you just did your maths correctly, you will now wonder what four other tiaras will be included in the list: Stay tuned, it will be a bit of a surprise for you (though a little hint can be found down below). I can, however, already tell you now that all of them have either been worn by Luxembourgish princesses in the past or could be in the present due to family relations.

The first match of The Luxarazzi Tiara Race will take place tomorrow. We are planning to publish a post each Sunday and each Wednesday. Voting will close on Saturday and Tuesday night respectively.

Before we kick off the tiara tournament tomorrow, we asked a bunch of fellow royal fashion and jewellery bloggers which tiara they think will win, which one is their personal favourite, which one could be the dark horse or which one they don't like at all. Here's what they said:

Tiara I Think Will Win: The Empire Tiara is really in a league of its own, but I think its sheer size might ultimately be a negative for its chances in the Race. I'll go out on a limb and predict that this year's winner will be the Diamond Vine Leaves Tiara. Perfectly proportioned, and with a gorgeous floral design, it has looked beautiful on every member of the family who has worn it. I'm not at all surprised that it's been worn by multiple Nassau family brides!

My Personal Favorite: For me, it's a tie between the Diamond Vine Leaves Tiara and the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara. I just love that the Adélaïde can be worn with different center stones, and I think its design is so beautiful and classic. I love that it's essentially a small kokoshnik, too!

The Dark Horse of the Competition: I think we might see Princess Sibilla's Diamond Art Deco Tiara go far in the competition, even if it's only been worn by one member of the family. That tiara has it all: it's packed with diamonds, it has a lovely design, and it's convertible, too!

I think the Belgian Scroll could take the whole competition, because it's just one of the most classically pretty pieces in the collection. Princess Sibilla's tiara has dark horse potential, with flexibility and a lovely design, just not quite as well known overall. My personal favorite tiara from this collection is usually one of those two, but at the moment I'm quite smitten with the Aquamarine Bandeau. It's one of the best aqua tiaras out there, making great use of the right cut for the stone and throwing a killer parure in as a bonus. It gets my vote!

Valentin of Royalement Blog

I think the Queen Victoria Eugenia's Aquamarine Tiara deserves to win although it is only Princess Sibilla who can wear it in the Grand Ducal Family. This tiara is one element of a whole absolutely stunning parure. The changes undergone by the tiara are particularly successful and these suspended aquamarines give a remarkable aerial impression. Too bad we don't often see it, but could this parure stay in the Sibilla's family in the next decades? 

My preference goes to the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara. It's a jewel I appreciate to rediscover every time it is worn by the ladies of the family, most when the tiara is combined with sapphire earrings as did Princess Tessy in 2012. I like so much the intensity of the large sapphire which is placed in the center of a finest work mixing leaves and berries made of brilliant and rose-cut diamonds. 

The Sapphire Art Deco Tiara is for me decidedly the least pleasing one of the competition. Even if it reflects, I guess, Joséphine-Charlotte's will to have a more contemporary piece in her case, I have the greatest difficulty to lend aesthetic qualities to this piece whose both elements located on either side of the enormous sapphire remind me handcuffs. And the impression it's not really better when it's worn as a necklace... 

Which tiara I think will win? Well, I think that in royal tiaras game, there are those beautiful pieces and the imposing ones. Without a doubt that at Luxarazzi Kingdom and in the world of royalty in general it is impossible to remain indifferent to the Luxembourg Empire Tiara. Come one, there is not the slightest hypothesis it goes unnoticed. It’s the tiara that puts the "Grand" prefix to the Grand Duchy. It is the BIG GUN of the Nassau vaults and my bet to win this competition. 

What is my favorite tiara? Hard to tell. There are lots of delicate, simple and elegant tiaras among these. I’m a pearls and diamonds tiara kind of girl. There are very few, but indeed very few, colorful stones tiaras I actually like. I can´t resist to a good old fashioned Fringe tiara, especially if they come with the Habsburg name (Sissi madness and all…) so I think I simple love the Habsburg Fringe Tiara. But I very much appreciate also versatility so I think it´s a tie between the Fringe and the Diamond Art Deco Tiara of Princess Sibilla. It´s wonderful to have two tiaras in one single piece. Can I actually declare a tie? Please???? 

Least pleasing? Well, I must say I was hugely disappointed with the Lannoy Tiara. I get the sentimental thing, but it was almost a toy tiara for an ELIE SAAB wedding gown!!! I hate the piece and honestly I hope never see it again. The recent small butterfly tiara that Stephanie wore actually also isn't to me taste.

And now? It's up to you: Leave us a comment below which tiara you think will win The Luxarazzi Tiara Race, which tiara is your personal favourite, which one the dark horse of the competition and which one you don't like at all.

Prince Alois Receives Diplomatic Trainees

Brigitt Risch
For the past two days diplomatic trainees from Switzerland have been visiting the Principality. During their visit they were received by Hereditary Prince Alois. It is important for that these budding diplomats get to know Liechtenstein and the various nuances of Liechtenstein's political system. In areas where Liechtenstein does not have a representative the diplomatic and consular representatives of Switzerland advocate for the Principality and her citizens. (Luxembourg has the same relationship with the Netherlands and Belgium. )

Friday, June 26, 2015

Jean and Diane Attend Cocktail Party

Prince Jean and his wife Countess Diane were among the guests for a cocktail party hosted at the Belgian embassy in Paris last night. The reception took place to give a farewell to Belgium's outgoing ambassador to France, Patrick Vercauteren Drubbel.

Princess Marie Among Concert Guests

Princess Marie was among the guests for a concert by the chamber musicians of the Deutsche Oper Berlin a few days ago. The concert was hosted under the patronage of Liechtenstein's ambassador to Germany, Prince Stefan, who also gave the welcome remarks on Tuesday night. The musicians played pieces by Franz Lachner, Marco Schädler, Josef Gabriel Rheinberger, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jürg Hanselmann and Joseph Triebensee.

Second Party in the Garden

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
And this time around, even the Grand Ducal Family was in the garden in difference to yesterday when they hosted a garden party inside. (Well, it was where they welcomed the guests and I'm sure they ventured into the gardens at one point or the other also yesterday.) Today, it were Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie who hosted another array of guests from the worlds of politics, society, sports and finance for a reception at the Château de Berg

More pictures at Wort.

New Family Portraits of the Grand Ducal Family

All photos: Christian Aschman / Cour grand-ducale
We are getting quite spoiled this national day tiara picture-wise. The cour grand-ducale released three new family portraits of the Grand Ducal Family which offer better views of about everything (gowns, tiaras, uniforms, ...) just now. Enjoy and have a lovely Friday!
(As always, click to enlarge.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

National Day Decorations

Marc Schmit/Cour Grand-Ducale
If you are familiar with National Day you already know that it is traditionally an occasion for the Grand Duke to present various orders to deserving members of the public. This year at the Palais Grand-Ducal, Grand Duke Henri presented the Order of Adolph of Nassau and the Service Cross for Members of the Grand Ducal Police.

Over at Chateau de Fischbach, Grand Duke Jean presented the Order of Adolph of Nassau to a member of his staff and to a member of the Cour Grand-Ducale who is in his service.

Garden Party with the Grand Dukes

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Yes, the British aren't the only one who can host a garden party (though this garden party actually starts inside): The Grand Ducal Family threw the first one of their two traditional national day garden parties today. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (wearing Paule Ka once again), as well as Princess Alexandra and Princess Tessy welcomed guests from the worlds of politics, society, sports and finance for a reception at the Château de Berg earlier this evening. Less, yet visible in previous days, the Grand Duchess still seems to suffer from the knee injury she underwent treatment for in September of last year.

More pictures of the garden party without the garden at Wort.

Sophie Opens Exhibition

Photo: Volksblatt / Volksblatt.li
Last night, Princess Sophie attended the opening of an art exhibition entitled "Half a square metre of freedom" featuring painting by prisoners from all over the world. The Hereditary Princess, who wore a dress by Diane von Furstenberg, is the patron of the special exhibition by the organisation "Art and Prison e.V.", an "international initiative by artists and art enthusiasts who have set themselves the goal of helping people behind bars with the means of art to rebuild their dignity, hope and freedom".

Princess Claire or the Wonders of a Polka Dot Dress

Bunte thought she looks like Sophia Loren, Hola reckons she channelled Julia Roberts, though I can't help but think that it was simply a polka dot dress, one by Dolce & Gabbana, but in the end, just a red polka dot dress...

Diamonds & Co: National Day Gala Jewels

Photos: Marc Schmitt / Cour grand-ducale
National day is over and so it's high time to focus on the sparkliest of all national day events, the gala reception. To round off national day, the Grand Ducal Family traditionally hosts the members of government, the bureau of the Chamber of Deputies, the Council of State, representatives of the judiciary, heads of the administration and foreign ambassadors for a reception featuring tiaras, gowns, dashing gentlemen and, for the first time for the ladies, orders (which even brings us some extra sparkle!) Let's start with the Grand Duchess on the left and work us all the way through to Princess Alexandra on the right...

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wore the Belgian Scroll Tiara, an all-diamond wedding gift to her late mother-in-law, together with Princess Ingeborg's Pearl and Diamond Brooch, as well as earrings that might just go back all the way to Grand Duchess Adelheid, great-great-grandmother of Grand Duke Henri.

The same Adelheid (or Adelaide) that was also the original owner of the tiara worn by Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, the Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara featuring a large sapphire and diamonds. The Hereditary Grand Duchess accessorised her tiara with her own diamond earrings and one of the Nassau Rose Brooches.

Kinda seems like these days every national day brings us a new tiara, non? Last year it was Stéphanie, this year it is Princess Claire. I had secretly hoped that her very rich family might have gifted her some glittering jewels for her wedding and that hope might have just come true: At least Princess Claire wore a never seen before bandeau tiara featuring rubies (or garnets) and diamonds plus some major earrings and necklace also made out of rubies and diamonds.

Princess Tessy's jewels, in difference, are much less of a mystery. For the first time, she wore the tiara, necklace and earrings of the Oval Amethyst Parure, previously worn by an array of Grand Ducal ladies ranging from Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and her daughters Marie-Astrid and Margaretha to Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie.

Rounding off our tiara quintet is Princess Alexandra, who was sporting the Citrine or Topaz and Pearl Tiara thus echoing the colour of the sash of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau. Fun fact: Princess Alexandra is the first and only Luxembourgish princess who holds the highest of the Grand Duchy's orders. Even Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa were only given the order when their husbands became sovereigns.

Prince Jean at the Opening of the Business Club France-Luxembourg

Today, Prince Jean was in Paris for the inauguration of the Business Club France-Luxembourg, which establishes a business link between the countries through their respective companies. The opening event welcomed the 150 entrepreneurs that will participate, as well as numerous other dignitaries. Also present to open the Business Club France-Luxembourg were Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ángel Gurría, in addition to a number of French politicians. 

July 1st marks the date the Luxembourg assumes the Presidency of the European Union.

Some photos at Tageblatt.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Visual National Day Round-Up

As promised, here are a bunch links which will lead you to a ton of pictures of this year's national day celebrations. One last question before you can head of in the land of visuals though: Where can we petition that we see such a large grand ducal turn-out for the event each year? Curious minds want to know! (Another quick note: Some websites below have one gallery for all events, so some of the links below will lead to the same page.)

Solemn changing of the guard and balcony appearance

Visit to Esch-sur-Alzette


Visit to Mondorf-les-Bains

Torchlight parade

Official ceremony

Military parade

Te Deum


Alois Receives Parliamentary Delegations from Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Hereditary Prince Alois received the biennial parliamentary delegations from both Liechtenstein and Switzerland, as the representatives worked to continue building and strengthening the friendly relationship between the two countries. This year's delegations were hosted in Liechtenstein on Tuesday and Wednesday, and they discussed an array of issues including European policies, the state of the euro, mass immigration, and healthcare. The delegates met with Hereditary Prince Alois at Vaduz Castle on Tuesday and then met with Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick on Wednesday.

For more information about the parliamentary delegations, as well as the representatives who are a part of the Liechtenstein delegation, see here and here. Unfortunately, no photos yet of their meeting with Hereditary Prince Alois, but the photos will be added if they're made available.

Luxarazzi 101: Royal Recycling and Clothes Sharing Vol. 6

Here we go again: Luxarazzi proudly presents "Royal Recycling and Clothes Sharing Volume 6". After even the boys showed us that they love to share a tie, it's now back to the ladies. (Don't forget to also check out volumes 1 to 5 of this series here, here, here, here and here, in case you haven't done so yet.)
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie has long been fully integrated in the Grand Ducal Family's clothes sharing habits. Case in point: The coat above, which marked the third time that she wore a piece of clothing previously worn by her sister-in-law Princess Alexandra alone. (Also: Hi there, Séb and Gui! Also #2: Thanks to our attentive reader Avery for the spot!)
I tell you though, it's not always terribly easy to spot the clothes sharers and recyclers of the Family: While I could say with almost absolute certainty that I had seen the outfit of Archduchess Marie-Astrid at the Neipperg/Limburg-Stirum wedding before, I wasn't quite sure whether I had previously seen it on Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte or Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa. Turns out it was the latter one, anno 2007, though the skirt worn by Marie-Astrid looks like it comes from another outfit of her sister-in-law, also anno 2007.
There I was hoping to see some more clothes sharing during this year's national day - because I wanted to introduce a three strikes policy with our Royal Recycling and Clothes Sharing posts, which we'll keep up in the future: Three clothes sharing moments = one post - and look, the Luxembourg ladies delivered. During last night's gala Princess Alexandra wore an Elie Saab gown previously worn by Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. Don't we just love them for all that clothes sharing love?!

Photos: Marlene Koenig/Royal Musings/Lux Deflorenne/SIP/Rex Features/Capital Pictures/Tom Wagner/Marc Schmitt/Cour grand-ducale/Getty Images

Five Tiaras, Gowns and Dashing Gentlemen

Photo: Palais grand-ducal / Tageblatt / Tageblatt
Just quickly before the serious life of life (a.k.a. work) starts again: Pictures of the gala last night. And look at that parade of tiaras! And orders. (That's new!) Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau for all born members of the family plus the Grand Duchess; Order of Adolph of Nassau for all the other princesses.
Photo: Palais grand-ducal / Tageblatt / Tageblatt
Tiaras are a bit harder to make out. It looks like the Citrine / Topaz and Pearl Tiara  for Princess Alexandra; one of the amethyst tiaras for Princess Tessy; something new (?) plus some major necklace and earrings (also new?) for Princess Claire; the Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara for Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie; and the Grand Duchess possibly in the Belgian Scroll Tiara.

More pictures at Tageblatt.

Prince Jean Supports Marco Polo

Photo: Inquirer.net
On Thursday, Prince Jean enthusiastically supported a new production of Marco Polo: An Untold Love Story, from the Filipino-Belgian director and composer Rogelio “Roger” Chua. The performance played in Paris from the 17th to the 21st, at the Le Vingtième Théâtre. The audience included a large number of Filipino attendees, eager to support Chua's work and the Filipino performers on stage. Also in the audience were the Baron and Baroness de Pampelonne and the Count and Countess d'Harcourt (from France), as well as the Count and Countess d'Ursel and the Countess d’Autremont (from Belgium).

Prince Jean is said to have given the production a "standing ovation." A little more about it here.

Prince Max Attends a Ski-Apéro on Behalf of LGT

Photo: Marco Buechel's Facebook Page
This evening, Prince Max was present at an after-ski reception given by LGT in honor of Liechtenstein's skiing federation.

Pictured with Prince Max are the who's who of skiing in Liechtenstein. At the front, left to right: Olympic medalist Hanni Wenzel (who won Liechtenstein's first Olympic medal at the 1976 Games), her husband Harti Weirather (an Austrian-born World Cup alpine ski racer), her brother Andi Wenzel (a World Cup apline ski racer), Hanni and Harti's daughter Tina Weirather (world junior champion and World Cup alpine ski racer), Prince Max (of course!), and Marco Büchel (Olympic and World Cup alpine ski racer).

LGT is a primary sponsor of Tina Weirather, as well as of the entire skiing federation in Liechtenstein.

Photo source here on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Military Parade and Te Deum

Photo: Laurent Blum / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Back to our regularly scheduled national day events: While the official ceremony, which took place this morning for the second time only, is still kind of new-ish, both the military parade in the Avenue de la Liberté and the Te Deum seem much more familiar and at least the latter brought out a while bunch of people with the last name de Nassau
Photo: Tanja Feller / Tageblatt / Tageblatt.lu
While it was the Grand Duke now in uniform and the Grand Duchess as well as the Hereditary Grand Duke also wearing his uniform and the 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 the rest of the family for the church service. I'm not quite sure which theme exactly Stéphanie, Claire, Tessy and Alexandra were going for but it somehow looks like there was some advance girl talk going on...
Photos: Tanja Feller / Tageblatt / Tageblatt.lu
As it has been for a while now, the Te Deum was an interreligious one, concelebrated by the archbishop of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Hollerich; the chief rabbi of Luxembourg, Alain Nacache; the imam of the Muslim community, Muhamed Rizvic; and a Protestant priest, Volker Strauß. 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. Other musical pieces traditionally featured were the national anthem, Ons Heemecht, as well as the Sonnerie nationale.

More pictures and a video of the military parade at Wort; of the Te Deum at Tageblatt. (Remember: we will do a post with many, many more links sometime in the near future.)

Official Ceremony Marks National Day

Photo: Cour grand-ducale / @CourGrandDucale
It's Nationalfeierdag and the Grand Ducal Family was out in quite a force this morning to mark the Grand Duke's official birthday. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Princess Claire, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, Princess Alexandra as well as Prince Sébastien all attended the (new-ish) official ceremony taking place during the midmorning hours of national day since last year.

This year, the secular ceremony took place at the Salle de concerts Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte, also known as the Philharmonie Luxembourg. After the Grand Ducal Family including the Grand Duke arrived to the strains of the Wilhelmus, they made their way into the building where they joined members of the government and parliament, 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 for the official ceremony featuring speeches by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the President of the Chamber of Deputies Mars di Bartolomeo as well as the Grand Duke himself. They also awarded orders and such to deserving citizens.

After the official ceremony, 21 canon salutes were fired from the Fetschenhof to honour the Grand Duke (or so I read. Weren't those always 101 canon salutes before? Austerity measures in Luxembourg? Need to investigate!).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Grand Ducal Family at Torchlight Parade

Ein von Ville de Luxembourg (@multiplicity_luxembourg) gepostetes Foto am

After a balcony appearance and visits to Esch and Mondorf earlier today, the Grand Ducal Family rounded off the day by watching the traditional torchlight parade earlier tonight from the Place de la Constitution. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Princess Claire, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy (at least she was scheduled to though she was also this afternoon when she didn't appear on the balcony), Princess Alexandra as well as Prince Sébastien all watched a procession of firefighters and scouts carrying torchlights as well as folklore and musical groups and associations.

The Grand Duke was also presented with a birthday cake - and a car? At least it says "This car is also 'born' in 1955. - to mark the big 6-0 he turned earlier this year, after all national day is his official birthday. The night ended with the fireworks display from the Parc Dräi Eechelen.

Tomorrow is Nationalfeierdag: For a schedule of the day's events, have a look here.

Stéphanie's Cinderella Moment

Photo: Tageblatt / Tageblatt.lu
While we wait for pictures from the torchlight parade to come up, let's indulge in the question of did he or didn't he: Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie had a bit of a cinderella moment when she lost her shoe while visiting Esch today; did Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume kneel down to put it back on? Keep your eyes open whenever pictures come up, if we'll see the answer. And while we wait to find it, check out this lovely gallery of Tageblatt pictures of the day. Other things that happened today thus far: The balcony appearance and the Grand Ducal couple in Mondorf.

Henri and Maria Teresa Visit Mondorf-les-Bains

Photos: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
 While their oldest son and his wife visited Esch, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa paid a visit to Mondorf-les-Bains this afternoon to mark the eve of national day. Mondorf is located in the south of Luxembourg. How far down south the spa town and home of the Grand Duchy's only casino is, can best be described as: Trip, and you'll find yourself stumbling into France. The welcome committee for the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess in the border town included its mayor Lex Delles as well as Ministers Maggy Nagel and Nicolas Schmidt.

After the arrival and a short meet and greet with local authorities and the signing of the town's golden book, the Grand Ducal couple discovered a bit of Mondorf during a stroll through the old village along the Rue du Moulin. Among others, they visited the recently restored synagogue, the Burgvogt including the Foyer de l'amitié - a day centre for children, teenagers and adults with handicaps -, and the Home Saint-Louis, a retirement home.

After passing the Place Bernard Weber, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa reached the former border crossing between Luxembourg and France, where they were welcomed by the mayor of the neighbouring French town Mondorff (with two "f" and minus the -les-Bains), Rachel Zirovnik, as well as the municipal council.

Afterwards, the Grand Duchess officially opened a new part of the Maison relais, an all-day care with high flexibility for children between the ages of four and twelve, which forms a complex with the local school called the Complexe scolaire de la Grande-Duchesse Maria Teresa. After the inauguration, she also toured the new Maison relais together with her husband.

As part of a festive meeting at the Bierger- a Kulturhaus building, mayor Lex Delles held a speech and Grand Duke Henri presented medals to deserving firefighters for their services. The visit to Mondorf was rounded off by a reception at the ballroom of the Bierger- a Kulturhaus where the town's people had a chance to mingle with their Grand Duke and Grand Duchess.

More pictures at Wort. (Pssst, more pictures and videos to come in a round-up post of all national day events sometime later this week.)

Guillaume and Stéphanie Visit Esch-sur-Alzette

Photo: Dany Rasqué / RTL / RTL.u
It's the eve of Luxembourg's national day and after it's official beginning with the solemn changing of the guard at the palais and a balcony appearance by the Grand Ducal Family, the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess made their traditional visit to Esch-sur-Alzette. Meanwhile, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited Mondorf-les-Bains in the south of the country.

But let's start with Esch (and get to Mondorf in an extra post): It has been a tradition for decades that the hereditary couple makes a visit to Luxembourg's second city on the eve of the Grand Duke's (or Grand Duchess's) official birthday. And so Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie arrived in the Minette metropolis at 5pm, where they were welcomed at the Place de la Résistance by the President of the Chamber of Deputies Mars di Bartolomeo, Ministers Lydia Mutsch and Dan Kersch as well as Esch mayor Vera Spatz and a few other dignitaries at 5pm. After the laying of a wreath of flowers at the war memorial, they made their way to the city centre of Esch.

On the place in front of the town hall, the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess then watched a parade of the associations and clubs of the town. This was followed by a short reception hosted in the honour of the royal guests and an appearance on the balcony. Afterwards, 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. 

First pictures of the visit to Esch at RTL. (FYI, we will do a round-up post once the whole national day thing is done with l-o-a-d-s of picture links.)

National Day Celebrations Start With Balcony Appearance

Photo: Anouk Anthony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Tomorrow is the Grand Duchy's national day and the celebrations kicked off today in traditional style with the solemn changing of the guard at the palais grand-ducal. Interesting but little noticed during previous years, it brought us a little something extra this year: To mark the 60th birthday of the Grand Duke this year, he and the Grand Duchess as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Princess Claire, Prince Louis, Princess Alexandra as well as Prince Sébastien made a rainy balcony appearance featuring see-through umbrellas. Us likey - the apperance, not the rain -, can we please make this a regular thing?

More pictures at Wort.

Currently taking place are the Grand Ducal couple's visit to Mondorf-les-Bains and the Hereditary Grand Ducal couple's visit to Esch-sur-Alzette.

Grand Duke Henri Receives Ban Ki-moon

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
This morning at 10:30, Grand Duke Henri received in audience UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is on a brief visit to Luxembourg. The Secretary General later met with Chamber of Deputies President Mars di Bartolomeo and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

A few more photos at Wort.

Prince Félix Celebrates the Cercle Parachutiste Luxembourgeois Anniversary

On Sunday, Prince Félix accompanied the Minister of Sports (and Deputy Prime Minister) Etienne Schneider at celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Cercle Parachutiste Luxembourgeois (CPL). Located in Noertrange, CPL has been offering skydiving and parachuting enthusiasts the opportunity to master their skills since 1965.

In 2011, the organization acquired a GA8 Airvan named Prënz Félix (named in honor of the prince himself) that is large enough to take up to 8 parachutists in the air at a time.

As long-time readers of the blog might recall, this isn't Prince Félix's first foray into the world of parachuting. In 2011 and 2012, he took the leap out of a plane -- in the former instance, taking the grand ducal chaplain Georges Vuillermoz with him.

No photos (or videos) just yet. They'll be added if they're made available.

Some photos of the anniversary fun here.

Hereditary Princess Sophie Supports Young Musicians

Photo: Paul Tan / Volksblatt / Volkblatt.li
On Sunday, Hereditary Princess Sophie was at the Town Hall in Vaduz to hear the season's final podium concert performances by up-and-coming young musicians. Vanessa Klöpping (clarinet), Matthias Kessler (percussion), Teresa Wrann (recorder), Isabel Pfefferkorn (mezzo-soprano), and Jakob Lampert (trumpet) all received awards for their performances, as part of an annual program that aims to give young people the opportunity to gain experience and confidence in front of supportive audiences. Additionally, the podium concert series encourages the appreciation and study of classical music to ensure the tradition continues with each new generation.

A little more information at Volksblatt.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hereditary Prince Comments on Liechtenstein Being on EU Tax Haven Blacklist

Hereditary Prince Alois has given an interview in which he expressed his irritation that the European Union has placed Liechtenstein on a EU tax haven blacklist. The list by the European Commission features 30 non-EU jurisdictions that have branded "non co-operative". Also included in it are Monaco and the British crown dependency Guernsey but no EU countries, or as The Guardian puts it, "the new register does not include countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland, or Luxembourg — all of which are under investigation by the European competition authorities, suspected of offering “sweetheart” tax deals to multinationals."

Prince Philipp Honours Jubilarians

Photo: ZVG / Volksblatt
Like he does every year, Prince Philipp took the LGT's jubilarians of the first half of 2015 to visit another company in the Principality, this time around it was a ceramic workshop in Nendeln. Together the 84 jubilarians have worked 1360 years for the LGT, the Princely Family's wealth and asset management group. Pictured above are 61 of them. And yes, Prince Philipp actually is in the photo; bonus points for anyone who finds him!

Sophie Receives Cheque for "Help for Nepal"

Photo: ZVG / Volksblatt
The Principality of Liechtenstein is divided into eleven municipalities and each of these has a municipal commissioner. On Wednesday, Hereditary Princess Sophie received two of them, Donath Oehri and Hansjörg Büche, as well as Vaduz mayor Ewald Ospelt at Schloss Vaduz, where the three of them handed over a donation of 50,000 Swiss francs to the new president of the Liechtenstein Red Cross. The money for the project "Help for Nepal" comes from the conference of municipal commissioners.

National Day Schedule (or the Day We'll See Five Tiaras)

Can you believe it is national day again already? Time is certainly flying this year! And it looks like the Grand Ducal Family will be out in full force to mark this year's official birthday of the Grand Duke that is Luxembourg's national day. Lucky us! And to make it even better, the cour grand-ducale even threw a little extra appearance into the mix! Three "vive" to them.

Here's the schedule for the coming days:

June 21

10.30am: Court Marshall Pierre Bley will represent the Grand Duke at a religious service at the Protestant Église de la Trinité.

12.00pm:  Court Marshall Pierre Bley will represent the Grand Duke at a religious service at the Orthodox Cathédrale de Saint Nicolas.

June 22

4.00pm: Traditional solemn changing of the guard at the palais grand-ducal, which marks the beginning of the official national day celebrations each year. This year for the first time (at least in as long as I can remember), the Grand Ducal Family will make a balcony appearance to especially mark the 60th birthday of Grand Duke Henri.

5.00pm: Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will make the tradtional visit of the hereditary couple to Esch-sur-Alzette, the Grand Duchy's second biggest town.

5.30pm: Each year, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visit a different municipality of Luxembourg on the eve of national day. This year will lead them to Mondorf-les-Bains in the south of the country. (Trip and you'll stumble into France.)

9.15pm: The Grand Ducal Family will assist at the traditional torchlight parade in Luxembourg city.

June 23

10.00am: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Princess Claire, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, Princess Alexandra as well as Prince Sébastien will attend the new-ish official ceremony held at the Salle de concerts Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte at the Philharmonie Luxembourg. During its course, the Grand Duke will make a speech.

11.00am:  21 canon shots will be fired from the Fetschenhaff.

12.00am: Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume will review the troops in the Avenue de la Liberté. The two royal gentlemen will be joined by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as  and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie to view the following military parade.

4.30pm: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Princess Claire, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, Princess Alexandra as well as Prince Sébastien will attend the traditional Te Deum mass at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame.

8.00pm: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Princess Claire, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, Princess Alexandra as well as Prince Sébastien will host the traditional national day gala at the palais grand-ducal (and the line of persons who will go seriously mad if there aren't any pictures starts right here).

June 24

6.30pm: Court Marshall Pierre Bley will represent the Grand Duke at a religious service at the synagogue.

June 25

7.00pm: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will host the first traditional garden party at the Château de Berg to mark national day.

June 26

7.00pm: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will host the second traditional garden party at the Château de Berg to mark national day.

June 28

10.30am: Court Marshall Pierre Bley will represent the Grand Duke at a religious service at the Reformed Protestant Church.

Hereditary Prince Alois Visits With ECHR Judge for Liechtenstein

Hereditary Prince Alois welcomed Mark E. Villiger for a courtesy visit during the latter's farewell tour of Liechtenstein. Villiger has been a judge for Liechtenstein at the European Court of Human Rights since 2006, and his tenure is up at the end of August of this year.

Judge Villiger was invited by Counciller Aurelia Frick and also met with Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Zwiefelhofer during his farewell visit on the 18th and 19th.

Unfortunately, no photos have emerged of Hereditary Prince Alois's meeting with Judge Villiger, although there is a nice photo of the judge with Deputy Prime Minister Zwiefelhofer, as well as a little more information about Villiger's nine-year term at the European Court of Human Rights, at Vaterland.

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Nature for the Grand Duke

Last night, the world's favourite Grand Duke (who is coincidentally also the only one) was out and about attending an academic session in Mersch last night, or so I assume as he was in Belgium during the day. The academic session, which was also attended by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and the Minister for the Environment Carole Dieschbourg among others, was organised on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the Administration de la nature et des forêts (administration of nature and forests in case you didn't guess already). The event came right on the heels of another one involving Grand Duke Henri and nature.

Stéphanie Opens Rose Garden

Photo: MCULT
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie was on hand today to officially reopen the Rousegäertchen in the town of Walferdange. The rose garden, which doesn't only feature roses but all kinds of flowers, was completely renovated on the initiative of a national network of rose gardens launched by the Patrimoine roses pour le Luxembourg. The Hereditary Grand Duchess was joined by the Minister of Culture Maggy Nagel for the event, who stressed in a speech  how important it is to keep Luxembourg rose heritage alive. The Grand Duchy has always been known as an important rose-grower.

With the event today, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie follows in the footsteps of her husband's grandmother, the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, who inaugurated Walferdange's Rousegäertchen back in 1970. Lots more on that, on the website of Walferdange. And more pictures at the cour and RTL.

Grand Duke Meets Christine Lagarde

Photo: Cour grand/ducale / Marc Schmit
Grand Duke Henri received Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for an audience at the palais today. Madame Lagarde is currently on a working visit to Luxembourg and also met with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel among others.