Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (20): Emerald Peacock Tiara vs. Princess Joan's Diamond Tiara

Let's end our weekend in sparkly fashion, shall we? (Yes, that's a purely rhetorical question.) Heading off against each other are two tiaras I wouldn't have necessarily expected to see in the second round of the Luxarazzi Tiara Race. But first, let's have a look back...

In the last edition, we saw the Floral Bandeau Tiara trying to take a stance against Queen Victoria's Eugenia's Aquamarine Tiara. And while the diamond sparkler once worn by Grand Duchess Charlotte gathered some 22.22 percent of votes, it didn't really stand a chance against the tiara that was worn by Princess Sibilla once almost three years ago and is (co-)owned by her mother.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, we have two tiaras facing off against each other today, I wouldn't have necessarily seen in the second round both beating either better known or bigger pieces in the first one. So I'm really curious which one will win your affection today! Will it be Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte's Emerald Peacock Tiara? Or Princess Joan's Diamond Tiara? Vote here and tell us below, why you chose the tiara you voted for!

Voting closes on Wednesday night.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape

This one, I really want to visit sometime (preferably soon). The Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is located in the Czech Republic's Southern Moravia not too far from the borders to both Slovakia and Austria. The massively large landscape park was created and once owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein and centres around the two castles (and towns) of Lednice and Valtice, or Eisgrub and Feldsberg in German. Fun fact: The Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is over 283 square kilometres large and thus almost twice as big as the Principality of Liechtenstein. (You might recall that the family for many years did not have close ties to the country that bore their name as it was legal technicality for them to be awarded certain benefits within the Holy Roman Empire.)

The Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape
The Princely Family used to own large estates all throughout the Habsburg empire. Lednice and Valtice, however, weren't just another two country estates, they were the family's main residences. After first settling in the area in 1249, the family used to following 700 or so years landscaping and building it into a unique cultural landscape, maybe even the world's biggest park often nicknamed "The Garden of Europe".

In 1249, King Wenzeslaus of Bohemia  gave Lednice as a fiefdom to Heinrich of Liechtenstein. Through clever marriage politics and being awarded with other fiefs, the family enhanced their properties in the area. Many, many years later, in 1608, the family made nearby Valtice their primary home with Lednice becoming the summer residence. (We'll have a closer look at both of these castles in future editions of Luxarazzi 101. For now, let's have a closer look at what they created around Valtice and Lednice.)

Photo: Czech Tourism
The realisation of what today is known as the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape began in the 17th century with the creation of avenues connecting Valtice with other parts of the estate. More avenues and paths were created during the 18th century, providing vistas and rides in accordance with the ideas of Renaissance style. The early years of the 19th century saw the the transformation of the park into the English concept of a designed park under Prince Johann I. The design of the park was strongly influenced by the work of Lancelot Brown at Stowe and elsewhere in England. 

Enormous landscaping projects were undertaken under the supervision of Johann's estate manager. To avoid the yearly flooding of the park by the Thaya river, a large lake - up to two and a half metre deep with islands and such was - created. The soil was used to raise the level of the Lednice Park by another one and a half metres. Smaller parks in English landscape design, the so-called Englische Anlagen, were created around the three large ponds. 

Photo: Czech Tourism
A number of romantic elements were also introduced into the landscape, the work of the architects joseph Hardtmuth, Josef Kornhausel, and Franz Engel. All over the park, smaller buildings and status are scattered. There are chapels, hunting lodges, temples, a minarett, a colonnade and more. The park features both native and exotic plants. Both Prince Johann I and his brother Prince Alois I had seeds from foreign places, both Europe as well as North America, brought to the area where they were grown in a arboretum. Some 32,000 new plants were thus introduced to the area. Their successors Alois II and Johann II continued with the plant breeding. By 1903, Lednice housed the biggest orchid and cycads in all of Europe.

The Liechtenstein family remained the owners of Lednice and Valtice until the end of World War II, when the estates were confiscated by the Czechoslovak state based on the Beneš decrees and all Liechtensteiners - not just the Princely Family - being considered German. After the fall of the Iron Curtain,the family made renewed legal attempts at restitution, which have all been turned down by the current owner of the property, the Czech state. Only in 2009, the Czech Republic and the Principality took up diplomatic relations again after more than 60 years due to expropriation of all Liechtenstein nationals after World War II. Already in 1996, the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (19): The Floral Bandeau Tiara vs. Ena's Aquamarine Tiara

First of all, apologies to those who waited for this post to come out last night (like they usually do), but I simply and totally forgot about this. Don't fear, however, as you have an additional day of voting in today's edition of the Luxarazzi Tiara Race as voting will only close on Sunday due to my weekend plans.

But first, let's have a quick look back: Last time was the 18th time that you could vote for your favourite of two (or three, in one case) tiaras in the hope to determine your favourite Luxembourgish tiara in a few weeks time. Just like the first match of the second round, this was also a close race but in the end, it was Grand Duchess Maria-Ana's Tiara that won your heart against the Sapphire Bracelet Tiara with 54.05 percent of votes. Will it be as close today? (Humble me doesn't think so, but let's see...)
Competing for your affection are the Floral Bandeau Tiara, which remains a bit of a mystery but still beat the Sapphire Necklace Tiara in the first round, and Queen Victoria Eugenia's Aquamarine Tiara, which kicked out one of the Grand Ducal Family's amethysts tiaras in round one. Which one will advance to the next round? It's up to you! So, tell us...

Don't forget to leave us a comment below to tell us which tiara you chose and why!

Voting closes on Sunday night.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hereditary Prince Alois Greets an American Congressional Delegation

Hereditary Prince Alois recently met with a group of congressional staffers who support several American senators and representatives. The visit, prompted by an invitation from Councillor Aurelia Frick, provided the opportunity for bilateral financial and business discussions between officials in Liechtenstein and the United States. Additionally, Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Zwiefelhofer visited with the staffers and spoke about the importance of continuing the strong economic relationship between the two countries.

The American delegation met Hereditary Prince Alois at Vaduz Castle for an interview, and before leaving they were also given the opportunity to explore some of Liechtenstein's business, cultural, and educational institutions.

A little more about the visit at Volksblatt.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (18): Sapphire Bracelet Tiara vs. Grand Duchess Maria Ana's Tiara

Previously on the Luxarazzi Tiara Race: A close race we predicted, a close race it was! In the end, it was the Belgian Scroll Tiara that took home the win against the Diamond Art Deco Tiara gathering 319 or 55.29 percent of your votes. Will it be as close today?
Fighting for your affection are the Sapphire Bracelet Tiara and the mystery tiara that caused probably the biggest upset of the first round of the Luxarazzi Tiara Race when it beat the Emerald Art Deco Tiara, the (seemingly) diamond tiara Grand Duchess Maria-Ana wore to the wedding of her second daughter, Grand Duchess Charlotte - for lack of better knowledge simply called Grand Duchess Maria-Ana's Tiara by us.

So, which one wins your affection? Vote here and drop us a comment below!

Voting closes on Wednesday night.

The Great Beach Debate

Photo: David Nivière / Cour grand-ducale /
A dispute has arisen in France about the beach that the Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg has been using for their summer holiday. The 100-meter stretch, located in the southeastern French district of Var, has been a popular spot with the family for decades.

But now a French lawyer has argued that closing the beach to the public during the Grand Ducal family's visit is a violation of French law. The local mayor, however, has pointed out in response that the beach is difficult to access and, therefore, not popular with the public. The mayor also noted that the only objections he has so far received have come from the lawyer and from one other family.

Additionally, the Cour has responded that the beach is not made private but is just temporarily reserved for the Grand Ducal family's security during the visit.

A little more information about the situation at Wort.

UPDATE: Further information from RTL. Apparently, the beach isn't completely closed to the public, as members of the public are still allowed to cross portions of it. However, the pedestrian parking is closed, and boats are restricted within 100 meters of the shoreline. Town officials note that the policy applied to the Grand Ducal family mirrors that applied to the President of France during his beach visits. Additionally, another lawyer argues that a 1986 law overrides elements of previous maritime law, making it possible to reserve beach spaces for these types of security requirements. The situation remains up for debate at present.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Château de Betzdorf

Château de Betzdorf (also known as Schloss Betzdorf, Betzdorf Castle, or Schlass Betzder, depending on your preferred language) is a property used for many years as a home by members of the Grand Ducal Family. It is most notably the birthplace and childhood home of Grand Duke Henri and his siblings.  The château is named for the town of Betzdorf, located about 23 kilometers (about 14 miles) outside Luxembourg City.
Photo: SES
The present château initially had no link to the Grand Ducal Family. Although the property had held various castles and homes on the premises since the Middle Ages, the present home was built between 1911 and 1919 for René Müller Laval, an engineer from Esch-sur-Alzette. Designed in a neo-baroque style by German architect Paul Schultze-Naumberg, the château featured a small chapel, a forecourt, outbuildings, stables and garages on its 80-acre grounds. The home was also equipped with the most modern conveniences of the time: central heating, telephone lines, and running water. Construction on the house took far longer than expected, as work was continually interrupted due to World War I.

But Müller Laval had bit off more than he could chew, so to speak. By the mid-1920s, the costs associated with the upkeep of the castle were more than he could handle and he began renting the property to wealthy Belgians to use as a vacation home. The Great Depression meant that fewer people were traveling for pleasure, and by the mid-1930s, the château stood empty for lack of available tenants.

Following Müller Laval’s death, his brother Edmond, a Luxembourgish industrialist, donated the château to the Red Cross to serve as a vacation property and retreat for its staff.  During World War II, the German military seized Château de Betzdorf. The Nazis opened a housekeeping school there, sparing the property from extensive damage.

Photo: SES
After World War II, the property passed to Luxembourg government, who first used it as a reformatory for young prostitutes (!) and then considered turning the home and its grounds into a women’s prison. However, at the time of the engagement of then-Hereditary Grand Duke Jean to Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, it was realized that the couple needed a home of their own. Several royal properties were still in various states of repair due to damage from the war. As Betzdorf was one of the few suitable, inhabitable residential buildings available, it was chosen as the couple's new home.  Renovations began on the property shortly after Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte's wedding.

In the time between Müller Laval’s ownership and acquisition by the state, the grounds had shrunk to about 35 acres.  However, Betzdorf was still quite grand, and a rose garden and golf course were added to make the home more appealing. Shortly after Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte settled in, Luxembourg City also presented the couple with a sculpture of a deer to place on the grounds of the château. Auguste Tremont, a prominent Luxembourgish artist known for his animal statues, designed the sculpture. Tremont’s sculptures can still be found outside the Cathédrale Notre-Dame and the Luxembourg Town Hall.

In the gardens of Betzdorf with
French president René Coty
Less than a year after the Jean and Josephine-Charlotte moved to Betzdorf, their first child was born there. Following Marie-Astrid's birth in February 1954, her four siblings were also born at the chateau: Henri in 1955, Margaretha and Jean in 1957, and Guillaume in 1963.

Jean, Joséphine-Charlotte, and their children moved out of Betzdorf in November 1964, following Jean’s accession to the grand ducal throne. Soon after, the property began a new life as a nursing home which it remained for nearly 20 years, until March 1982.  For nine days in July 1982, the castle was the temporary home to 1,200 boy scouts celebrating the 75th anniversary of the scouting movement.

The château stood empty for the next four years. In 1986, the property was bought from the Luxembourg government by SES Astra SA, a satellite communication services company.  After extensive renovations, it became SES's headquarters which is remains to this day.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (17): Diamond Art Deco Tiara vs. Belgian Scroll Tiara

And that was it, ladies and gentlemen, the first round of the Luxarazzi Tiara Race. But don't fear: Welcome to the second round of the Tiara Race which is the round of 16! But first let's have a look back at the last match of the previous round, during which we saw the White House Tiara, the Bavarian Lover's Knot Tiara and Princess Claire's Ruby Tiara heading of against each other. In the end, it was the Bavarian Lover's Knot Tiara that took home the win. Some of you said that the last match was a difficult one but let me tell you, it's not getting any easier in round two!
Case in point: The very first match of the round of 16 featuring not one but two tiaras many of you tipped as favourites for the overall win. On the one hand we have the Diamond Art Deco Tiara, which is owned by Princess Sibilla and can be worn in two different settings; and on the other the Belgian Scroll Tiara, a wedding gift to Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte by the Société Générale worn by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa above - both of them extremely lovely all-diamond sparklers!

I know it's a very tough choice but tell us...

Voting closes on Saturday night, so you have a bit of time to make up your mind. If you did, tell us why in the comments below!

Hereditary Prince Alois Awards Orders

Photo: Nils Vollmar / Volksblatt /
On Tuesday, Hereditary Prince Alois represented Prince Hans-Adam to award the Knight's Cross to two honorees: Ernst Büchel, from Ruggell, and Hubert Sele, from Triesenberg. Both men received the order in recognition for their activities as community leaders.

The ceremony was held at Vaduz Castle, and Hereditary Princess Sophie was also in attendance.

A few more photos at Volksblatt. (It is more than a bit unfortunate that the photographer couldn't quite fit Hereditary Prince Alois into any of the direct angles.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

(At Least) 7 Liechtenstein Royals at Concert in Vienna

Photo: Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz
And another one for the "Better late than never"-category: In her capacity as President of the Liechtenstein Red Cross Hereditary Princess Sophie hosted a charity concert together with the President of the Austrian Red Cross on May 28 at the Stadtpalais in Vienna. She was joined by quite an array of relatives for the event also including a dinner afterwards: her husband Hereditary Prince Alois, her mother-in-law Princess Marie, her brother-in-law Prince Constantin and his wife Princess Marie, her uncle-in-law Prince Nikolaus, as well as Philipp von Lattorff, husband of her sister-in-law Princess Tatjana. The money raised was used for a joined project of the Austrian and Liechtenstein branches of the Red Cross to help people in Eastern Ukraine.

Prince Wenzel Fires Starting Pistol

Photo: Landespolizei
This one is one for the category "Better late than never": Back on June 11, Prince Wenzel gave the starting signal at the Swiss police cycling championship, which actually took place in Ruggell, Liechtenstein, and counted Liechtenstein policemen and -women among its competitors. About a gazillion pictures of the championships, including some of the oldest son of Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie looking very different with a beard, can be found on the website of Liechtenstein's police.

National Day Reloaded: High Fives and More Royals

We have been pretty much silently updating our picture and video link post about Liechtenstein's national day frequently since it was posted on Sunday. Here are a few things though, which merit to be shared in an extra post based on various reasons...
Photo: 1 FL TV
Yeah, I'm not quite sure what's happening here either with Princess Marie and Prince Hans-Adam. Well, I know about half of it: The Princely Family is signing the national anthem, Oben am jungen Rhein, (full video at 1 FL TV) which includes people giving cheers to both the Fürst and the country. Looking at the video, Princess Marie seems pretty amused by the idea that her husband is giving cheers to himself. So amused that she is giving him a high five (or tries to slap down his hand in the wrong direction). Either way, it's funny and lovely to see.
Photo: 1 FL TV
The Liechtenstein royals love themselves some interviews - and Staatsfeiertag is no different. Both Prince Hans-Adam and Hereditary Prince Alois gave interviews to 1 FL TV, among others, which are available online. Both of them talk political as well as semi-private matters such as what they actually wanted to study (Hans-Adam) or why it doesn't make sense not to allow your children to use the various kinds of modern media (Alois).
Photo: R-TV
Not enough videos yet? Check out this lengthy report by R-TV including interviews with Hereditary Prince Alois and Prince Nikolaus plus loads of footage of the day's celebrations. Still not enought? Here's a report by TV Südostschweiz.
Photo: Exclusiv
More pictures: Each year I look forward to the photo galleries Exclusiv offers of national day because they are - quite simply - the biggest and the best. Brace yourself: They have one of the state ceremony, one of the way to and from the state ceremony, one of the reception in the rose garden, one of all the various interviews given during the day, one of the fair (including members of the Princely Family and friends), one of the Radio L stand (once again including members of the Princely Family) and one of the fireworks (without royals but still nice). Also: Hi there, Princess Thera (between her father, Prince Michael, and her cousin Prince Nikolaus in the picture above)!
Photo: Royal Travel and Events
Last but certainly not least, Stefan of Royal Travel and Events was in the Principality for Staatsfeiertag and took great pictures. Head over to his blog to read all about it and see the lovely visuals!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein and Princely Liechtenstein Medal of Merit

What's a royal without an order? Not much, at least at a fancy white-tie dinner party. And while it might not have been very important for the Liechtenstein royals to have their own order during the times of the Austro-Hungarian empire - after all, nothing could beat the Order of the Golden Fleece -, this changed after the end of the monarchy. And so the Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein (or Fürstlich Liechtensteinischer Verdienstorden in German) was founded by Prince Franz I on 22 July 1937. This date marked his 8th wedding anniversary with his wife Princess Elsa

Badge of the
Knight's Cross,
The Order is awarded to people from Liechtenstein as well as foreigners for outstanding services to the Principality. On the same date Prince Franz I also founded the Princely Liechtenstein Medal of Merit (Fürstlich Liechtensteinisches Verdienstzeichen in German), which is nowadays often associated with the order, although it is an independent decoration. The order and the medal are bestowed only by the Reigning Prince, though the government can nominate people to receive them.

Originally the order had five grades  (Grand Star, Grand Cross, Commander's Cross with Star, Commander's Cross and Knight's Cross). In 1960, the Grand Cross With Diamonds was added as a grade between the Grand Star and the Grand Cross. The Princely Liechtenstein Medal of Merit is awarded in gold and silver.
Plaque of the Grand Cross, obverse
The ribbon of the order has stripes in red and blue. These colours can also be found in the country's flag. The badge consists of a cross with four arms enamelled in blue and edged in red.  The centre of the badge features a blue enamelled medaillion with a golden "L" (for Liechtenstein) on the obverse and the initials FIL (Franz I Liechtenstein) on the reverse.

The plaque consists of a bediamonded gold star with eight rays for the Grand Star and a bediamond silver star with eight rays for the other grades. Its centre is the badge of the order including the elaborated "L".
Golden Princely Liechtenstein
Medal of Merit, reverse
The Princely Liechtenstein Medal of Merit also has a ribbon in red and blue. Their shape is a cross equivalent to the one of the order in gold or silver respectively.

The only bearer of the Grand Star is the head of state, right now Prince Hans-Adam II. He as well as the possessors of the Grand Cross with Diamonds and of the Grand Cross are so-called "holders" of their grades. The possessors of the Commander's Cross with Star are known as "Commanders of the Order of Merit of the Principality" the owners of the Commander's Cross are "Commanders" of their grade and the holders of the Knight's Cross are known as "Knights of the Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein"

There are no privileges associated with the title. After the bestowal the decorations are the possession of the honoree and of his heirs.

Princely Family Celebrates National Day

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Unfortunately, this year is no different to previous years when it comes to visuals of Liechtenstein's national day. As always, it takes a while until pictures and videos of all the different events of the Staatsfeiertag become available online. It probably also doesn't help too much that national day was on a Saturday this year. As we, however, do not want to keep you waiting too much longer, here's our attempt at a complete list of links thus far. (Though make sure to check back later on as we will update this post during the coming days.)

Photo: Nils Vollmar / Liechtensteiner
Volksblatt /
Vaterland is offering two lovely galleries of visuals from the festivities, one including pictures of the state ceremony and the reception in the rose gardens and another one with pictures from the evening events. During the afternoon and evening, there is a fair held in Vaduz which is usually also attended by members of the Princely Family, such as Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie as well as Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie or the younger generation, in various degrees of low-key fashion. Volksblatt has a gallery of the state ceremony, one of the reception and  one gallery of the evening events thus far.

Short news reports about national day can be found at Austrian ORF as well as Swiss TV station SRF and TVO. Videos of Hereditary Prince Alois' speech, the speech of the President of Parliament and interviews of Liechtenstein's leading politicians interspersed with footage of national day are available via Volksblatt. 1 FL TV has a video from the rose garden (inluding interview bits with Prince Michael at 02:58, 10:03 and 15:42), another one from the rose garden (including interview bits with Princess Maria Pia at 0:54, 2:58, 4:38) as well as a video of the Hereditary Prince's speech.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (16): White House Tiara vs. Bavarian Lovers Knot Tiara vs. Princess Claire's Ruby Tiara

Back when we started the Luxarazzi Tiara Race in late June, we told you that there would be 32 tiaras facing off against each other to determine your ultimate favourite of the Grand Ducal Collection and that Princess Claire's new ruby set did not make the cut as the entry was simply too late. Well, it's not the poor rubies' fault that the wife of Prince Félix did not wear them before, is it?! So today, we actually have three tiaras fighting for your affection - but first, let's have a look back...

A Liechtenstein win on Liechtenstein national day! Can it get any more perfect!? Turns out though that there do seem to be a few fringe haters out there. Despite some predictions of yours, the Habsburg Fringe Tiara did not win in the clearest of fashions of the Luxarazzi Tiara Race's first round. But don't worry, it still got 90.91 percent of votes against the Golden Bandeau Tiara - still pretty clear of a result!
Today, I don't think it will be as clear though. First, we have the tiara we have often dubbed the White House Tiara; originally belonging to Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden, a born Nassau princess and daughter of Grand Duke Adolph, it was left to her niece Grand Duchess Charlotte who once wore it to a banquet at the White House; where the tiara remains today is unclear. Then we have the Bavarian Lover's Knot Tiara, which we talked about recently and while it might not be worn by Luxembourg princesses today, it's simply to pretty to scratch it from the Race because we have a late entry. That late entry, of course, is Princess Claire's Ruby and Diamond Tiara, worn at the recent national day celebrations.

A lot of choices today, I know! But tell us,...

As always, leave us a comment below which tiara is your favourite!

Voting closes on Wednesday night.

Liechtenstein Celebrates 75th National Day

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
It's August 15 today meaning that the Princely Family - and the whole of Liechtenstein - are ending their summer holidays in style: with the Principality's National Day. Today is the country's 75th Staatsfeiertag as is was firstly celebrated in 1940 amidst the turmoil of the Second World War to show "unity between the Prince and the people", as the President of Parliament Albert Frick put it in his speech this morning. He held his speech during the traditional state ceremony taking place on the castle meadow each year.

As always, the Princely Family was in attendance for the ceremony though it was a little less numerous than last year (when we also saw Princess Tatjana and her family): Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie (wearing a repeated Diane von Furstenberg dress), their three sons Prince Wenzel, Prince Georg and Prince Nikolaus were all there forearmed with umbrellas as the weather forecast wasn't the best (though it apparently didn't start raining). Also present was the much more regularly featured Prince Nikolaus (Hans-Adam's brother and husband of Luxembourg's Princess Margaretha), Prince Stefan and Princess Maria-Pia, all three of them current or former diplomats of the Principality, as well as Prince Michael.

It was the Hereditary Prince, who has been his father's regent since 2004, who once again gave the speech traditionally given by the head of state during the state ceremony. Alois talked about the long way Liechtenstein had come in the past 75 years - transforming from an agricultural backwater into one of the world's richest countries, from a country of emigration into a country of immigration, and a country struggling to be internationally recognised to a respected member of international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Economic Area - but also about the country's future and the challenges faced. He added that not everything that contributed to this change was in the power of the people of Liechtenstein but that the Prince and people standing together in difficult times helped a lot.

Hereditary Prince Alois concluded saying that, "even if we are forced to tighten our belts, we don't need to be afraid of the future. Quite on the contrary, I am convinced that Liechtenstein will remain a place of the world's highest quality of living. But like in previous decades, let us - wherever we have the power to change something - work together on the factors of success. Then many will continue to envy us for our country." (The transcript of the Hereditary Prince's speech is available at Volksblatt.)
Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
The state ceremony ended with the signing of Liechtenstein's national anthem with the very famous melody, Oben am jungen Rhein, and was followed by the traditional reception hosted by the Princely Family in the rose gardens of Schloss Vaduz. Like every year, the regular Liechtensteiner and tourist got the chance to mingle, talk and enjoy a beer with the members of the Princely Family.

A few more pictures of the celebrations so far can be found at Vaterland. Stay tuned though: More picture and video links to come later!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hereditary Prince Alois Receives New Swiss Ambassador

On Thursday, Hereditary Prince Alois received Olaf Kjelsen, the new Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to Liechtenstein. Aurelia Frick, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Education,  as well as the Ambassador Councillor,  also paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Kjelsen at the government building.

As a point of interest, a special diplomatic relationship exists between Liechtenstein and Switzerland: in the event that Liechtenstein does not have its own embassy, it is represented by the Swiss embassy.

No photos of the meeting at present, but Volksblatt does have a nice photo of the new ambassador.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (15): Golden Bandeau Tiara vs. Habsburg Fringe Tiara

It's Wednesday night, time for some more tiara fun as we are nearing the end of the first round of the Luxarazzi Tiara Race. Just this one and another match to go until we head into the second round which will see some fierce battles, I predict. In our last match, we saw the Lannoy Tiara heading off against the Turquoise Tiara and in the end, the sparkler owned by the family of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie took home the win with some 80 percent of your votes.
Facing off against each other today are the Golden Bandeau Tiara worn by Grand Duchess Charlotte in her younger years and the Habsburg Fringe Tiara - and yes, it's technically part of the Liechtenstein collection but a) we needed a few additional entries (like the two Bavarian tiaras); b) this could be worn by a Luxembourgish princess as Princess Margaretha is both the sister of the Grand Duke and sister-in-law of the Fürst, and c) a fringe tiara is one of the only basic tiaras shapes the Grand Ducal Collection lacks - worn by Hereditary Princess Sophie above. So, tell us...

And drop us a comment below! Voting closes on Saturday night.

Monday, August 10, 2015

More from Wenceslas in South Africa

Photo: Herald Live
You might recall that Prince Wenceslas has been spending a little time in South Africa as of late looking for business opportunities. And by the looks of it, he was successful: The second son of Prince Jean and his former wife Hélène Vestur has launched a branch of the advisory and technology company Spallian in Nelson Mandela Bay. More info about it, have a look at Herald Live

Quick note: Our policy when it comes to the jobs of the Grand Ducal and Princely Families is easy: If they use their titles at work, we do report about it - if they don't, we don't.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (14): Turquoise Tiara vs. Lannoy Tiara

Last time on the Luxarazzi Tiara Race: The tiara that puts the grand in 'Grand Duchess' - a.k.a. the Empire Tiara - won against the handcuffs the shoebuckles the Sapphire Art Deco Tiara by 85.89 percent of your votes.
Will this one be as clear? I dare not make a prediction... The Turquoise Tiara vs. the Lannoy Tiara - both small, both with (kind of) known history, both with its lovers and its haters. Tell us, ...

Voting closes Wednesday night.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Bavarian Lover's Knot Tiara

It's tiara time again, ladies and gentlemen. Today we are introducing to you another tiara by the former royal family of Bavaria, the Bavarian Lover's Knot Tiara, featured in the Luxarazzi Tiara Race. Much like the Bavarian Ruby and Spinel Parure, this one can't be worn by the current crop of Grand Ducal ladies but it has been worn by a Luxembourgish princess in the past, Princess Antonia, younger sister of Grand Duchess Charlotte and wife of the last crown prince of Bavaria, Rupprecht.
Lover's knot tiaras were once a popular design for pearl and diamond pieces. While the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara is probably the most famous of them all these days, the Bavarian tiara is a good 90 years older. Dated circa 1825, it is attributed to Bavarian royal court jeweller Caspar Rieländer. The tiara features 16 diamond arches with pearl drops hanging from lover's knot bows. These pearl drops are mirrored by another sixteen pear shaped pearls interspersed with small pearls on the tiara's top.

Much like the recently talked about Ruby and Spinel Parure, this tiara - as well as accompanying earrings and necklace - were a gift from King Ludwig I of Bavaria to his wife, Queen Therese. Therese later gave it to her daughter-in-law, Amalia of Oldenburg, who was the Queen consort of Greece from 1836 to 1862. When her husband, King Otto, had to abdicate, the couple, who was childless, returned to Bavaria. These days, the tiara is on display at Munich's Residenz, the former home of the Wittelsbach family turned museum.

Slightly Belated IOC News from Kuala Lumpur

So it turns out Grand Duke Henri wasn't in Malaysia for the 2022 host city vote back on July 31st. However, he was reelected as an IOC member, on August 3rd, during the final day of the 128th Session. For what it's worth, Henri's non-attendance put him in fairly good company this year, as more than 10 percent of voting members were either not present or not eligible to vote (due to being from one of the bidding cities).

It is likely, on the other hand, that Princess Nora was in attendance, as there is no mention of her absence from the events.

A little more news about the session here and here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (13): Empire Tiara vs. Sapphire Art Deco Tiara

It's Tiara Race time again, ladies and gentlemen! Last time around, you kind of surprised me a little. Truth be told, I would have thought that the match between the Citrine/Topaz and Pearl Tiara and the Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara would end a little closer but the latter one took home the win in rather outright fashion gathering almost exactly two thirds (66.53 percent) of votes.
The Empire Tiara and the Sapphire Art Deco Tiara are up against each other today - this one, I suspect, will be a bit of an unfair race. The 'big gun' of the Grand Ducal Collection vs. the convertible necklace that reminds some of you of handcuffs -  so tell us, ...

Voting closes on Saturday night.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Maria Teresa, Claire and Amalia at Marché de Créateurs

Voilà c est terminé, cette édition du marché des créateurs a été un franc succès, et notamment grâce à la visite de son...
Posted by Mamie et Moi on Sunday, 21 June 2015

Just as Rome wasn't build in a day, it sometimes takes us some time to locate news. A few days ago, an article by Luxembourgish magazine Revue popped up in my alerts as it mentioned Princess Claire attending the Marché de Créateurs, which took place at the MUDAM in June, and purchasing a skirt for her baby daughter by a young Luxembourgish designer. Now I finally found photographic evidence of it and turns out, Princess Claire even brought Princess Amalia as well as her mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, along.

On Holiday with the Grand Ducal Family

The best surprised are always those, you do not expect. Case in point: This holiday fun with the Grand Ducal Family. For the first time it what seems like ages, the cour grand-ducale released some holiday snapshots from Cabasson, the Grand Ducal Family's summer home in the south of France. Each year, the Grand Ducal Family spends the weeks of summer at Cabasson in varying lineups. One comes, one goes, the other one comes back - and especially the younger generation often also has an array of friends in tow.
All photos: Cour grand-ducale / David Nivière
Our picture lineup for the group shot:
First row from left to right: 
Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Grand Duke Jean, Archduchess Marie-Astrid, Archduke Carl-Christian
Second row: 
Princess Margaretha, Prince Nikolaus, Prince Guillaume, Prince Jean, Countess Diane
Third row: 
Archduchess Katarina, Archduke Christoph, Archduchess Adelaide, Prince Louis, Princess Tessy, Prince Félix, Princess Claire, Princess Amalia 
Fourth row: 
Princess Maria-Anunciata, Princess Marie-Astrid, Archduchess Gabriella, Prince Sébastien, Prince Jean
Fifth row: 
Prince Josef, Princess Alexandra, Prince Paul-Louis, Prince Léopold 

You know what, this group shot wasn't even all! But just to prove my point from above how quickly the grand ducal lineups at Cabasson can change, you can also glance Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah, sons of Prince Louis and Princess Tessy; plus Princess Marie-Gabrielle, daughter of Prince Jean; as well as Princess Charlotte, daughter of Prince Guillaume, in the following pictures...

As always, click on the pictures to enlarge! In case you have a hard time putting the names to the faces and just how they are all related, check out our Who's Who.