Saturday, January 9, 2016

Birthday Concert for Grand Duke Jean

Photo: SIP / Julien Warnand
The celebrations of the 95th birthday of Grand Duke Jean this evening culminated in a concert at the Philharmonie. After the photo opportunity at the palais grand-ducal, the Grand Ducal Family and their royal guests all made their way to the concert building, where the concert to honour Luxembourg's former Grand Duke took place at the Salle de Concerts Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte named for his late wife. (We noted some additional royal guests apart from those seen previously, we'll update our guest list as we go along.)

The younger grandchildren of Grand Duke Jean - that's everyone minus the Hereditary Grand Duke - and their assorted spouses as well as Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah, his eldest great-grandchildren, made their way to the Philharmonie in not one but two busses. (Talk about a large family!) The royal guests, Grand Duke Jean's children and spouses, as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were taken there by car. They all were welcomed by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Pierre Ahlborn, President of the Philharmonie, and Stephan Gehmacher, General Director of the Philharmonie. Grand Duke Jean did not make an official arrival but instead greeted his guests inside the concert hall.

Photo: Luxemburger Wort /
Tickets for the concert for the general Luxembourgish public were available and sold out within a matter of hours. I know that some had hoped that we would also see the younger great-grandchildren of Apapa Jean such as counts Léopold and Constantin de Limburg-Stirum, sons of Archduchess Marie-Christine, Archduchess Maria-Stella, daughter of Archduke Imre, Archduchess Katarina, daughter of Archduke Christoph, as well as Princess Amalia, daughter of Prince Félix, but considering that all the official events took part during the evening hours, it was a long stretch to hope so to begin with and all the understandable.

Anyway, back to what actually took place: The Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg under the direction of Gustavo Gimeno and with soloist Daishin Kashimoto kicked the concert of with Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61. The 42 minutes long piece was followed by the overture of Johann Strauss II's Die Fliedermaus as well as the polonaise from Eugene Onegin by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The concert was rounded of by a hearty rendition of Happy Birthday played by the Irish Guards and a birthday cake for Grand Duke Jean: the traditional Luxembourgish Baamkuch with a crown on top. 

There was also a joined speech by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Archduchess Marie-Christine, Prince Constantin, Princess Anunciata and Prince Paul-Louis, representing the five lines of Grand Duke Jean's descendants. Here's hoping we'll get to see some video clips of it!

Pictures of the concert as well as the earlier photo op are available at Wort, Tageblatt, RTL, Belga, L'essentiel, AFP, EPA and a few other places. (We might add a few more links tomorrow.)

And last but not (well, kinda) least: Fashion-wise Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie wore a Diane von Furstenberg jumpsuit (and her diamond earrings) with more IDs possibly heading your way in the next couple of days.

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