Saturday, January 30, 2016

Grand Ducal Family Supports Learning Disorders Forum

Photo: Lex Kleren / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
The Grand Ducal Family was out and about today in quite a force to attend the Grand Duchy's first forum on learning disorders, which, among other this, focused on ways to integrate students facing learning disorders into the mainstream educational system. The topic is close to the hearts of the family as Prince Louis was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of ten. The third son of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess spoke about his experiences during the forum.

He was supported for the event by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, who also was the patron of the forum and gave the opening remarks, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Princess Tessy as well as Prince Sébastien. Also present for the event was Princess Margaretha. The sister of the Grand Duke has been the patron of Dyslexia International for many years. The forum was also attended, among others, by Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan, daughter of the former crown prince, and Formula 1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart.

More pictures and information at Wort and Tageblatt.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Grand Duke Says Goodbye

Yesterday, Grand Duke Henri hosted two additional audiences apart from the one for the secretary general of the OSCE: Luxembourg's head of state also received Dr. Mark Entin as well as Juan José Gomez Camacho at the palais. The two gentlemen are respectively the outgoing ambassadors of the Russian Federation and Mexico and were received by the Grand Duke for the farewell audiences given for ambassadors when they leave office in a certain country.

Stéphanie Becomes President of Mudam

Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will become the new president of the administrative board of the Musée d’art moderne Grand-Duc Jean, the Ministry of Culture announced today. The Hereditary Grand Duchess will follow in the footsteps of Jacques Santer, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and former President of the European Commission, and head the seven members of the board. The Mudam, a museum of modern and contemporary art, is one of the best known museums of the Grand Duchy. It was opened in 2006 and the building dedicated to Grand Duke Jean.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Henri Celebrates Anniversary of Economic and Social Council

Photo: Christophe Olinger / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
This evening, Grand Duke Henri attended an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Conseil économique et social (CES). For the occasion he was joined by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the President of Parliament, Mars di Bartolomeo, and an array of other politicians. They were all welcomed at Kirchberg by the president of the CES Pascale Toussing, the lady in red.

The Grand Duchy's Economic and Social Council (ESC) was established by law on March 21, 1966. It's "the government's permanent consultative body in the area of economic and social policy. It is a forum for national tripartite discussion on economic, social and financial issues for which consensus-based solutions are needed. Its general mandate is the study of economic, social and financial issues concerning either several economic sectors or the entire national economy. The Council operates either on referral from the government or on its own initiative", or so my Google skills tell me.

Pictures of the evening at Wort.

Princess Nora Talks Special Olympic and FIFA Scandal

Photo: 1 FL TV
Princess Nora, sister of the Fürst, has given an interview to Liechtenstein TV station 1 FL TV. The interview mostly focused on the Special Olympics, a national version of which took place last weekend in the Principality, but also touched on the FIFA scandal and the problems a sport faces as soon as you can earn money with them. Princess Nora is the President of Liechtenstein's Special Olympics and also a member of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). 

The full interview can be watched at 1 FL TV.

Marie and Sophie Assist at Concert for the Red Cross

Photo: 1 FL TV
Already on January 10, Princess Marie and Hereditary Princess Sophie were among the audience of a concert by the Hofmusik Liechtenstein ensemble to benefit the Principality's Red Cross. The Hofmusik Liechtenstein is a group of musicians who play music from around the year 1712, the year the Princely Family bought the County of Vaduz. The concert took place at the Guido-Feger Saal in Triesen. A report about the concert can be viewed at 1 FL TV.

Guillaume and Stéphanie Attend Concert

Photo: Chris Karaba / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie visited the home for the elderly "Konviktsgaart - Résidence Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte" to assist at a concert organised by the by Fondation Ecouter pour Mieux s’Entendre (EME), or Listen to Better Understand. Guillaume and Stéphanie have been supporting the organisation all the way since their wedding donating 15,000 euros to the Fondation and attending concerts in December 2014 as well as May 2015.

Founded in 2009, the Fondation Ecouter pour Mieux s’Entendre aims to engage those who are largely excluded from cultural life, such as people in hospitals, nursing homes or prison. The Fondation works together with the Philharmonie Luxembourg and regularly organises concerts and interactive workshops all over the country for those who are not able to go to a concert hall.

Pictures of today are available at Wort.

Grand Duke Meets Secretary General of OSCE

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
This morning, Grand Duke Henri received Lamberto Zannier for an audience at the palais. Mr Zannier is the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, often bettern known as OSCE, the world's largest regional security organization which was founded in the 1970's. The Secretary General was on a working visit to the Grand Duchy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Prince Wenzeslaus and "La Diva"

The French design label Emanuel Ungaro celebrated its 50th anniversary on Tuesday and Prince Wenzeslaus, second son of Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle, reportedly joined the party of 600 guests at the Petit Palais in Paris. The design house used the occasion to also launch a new perfume called "La Diva".

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

TV Interview with Grand Duchess Maria Teresa

Photo: RTL
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa gave a TV interview to RTL talking about dyslexia in advance of Luxembourg's upcoming first forum on learning disorders. For example, she also talks about her experiences as a mother of a dyslexic child. Prince Louis was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 10. The full interview, which was part of an edition of Kloertext, can be viewed at RTL (simply skip ahead to the 5:54 minute mark).

Grand Duke Celebrates Anniversary of Glanzstoff Textilcord

Photo: Chronicle.lu
Earlier this afternoon, the company Glanzstoff Textilcord in Steinfort celebrated its 50th anniversary and Grand Duke Henri celebrated with them. Luxembourg's head of state was accompanied for the event by the Minister of Labour, Nicolas Schmidt, the Secretary of State for the Economy, Francine Closener, as well as local mayor, Jean-Marie Wirth. Glanzstoff Textilcord is a company specialised in the conversion process of textile reinforcements required for the manufacturing of tyres. 

More information as well as pictures are available at Chronicle.lu.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

National Special Winter Olympics

Photo: Klaus Schädler / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Over the weekend, Liechtenstein held their 6th national Special Winter Olympics. In addition to athletes from the Principality, the competition was also open to athletes from other German-speaking countries such as Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and South Tyrol (well, Italy). Princess Nora, President of Special Olympics Liechtenstein, opened the Olympics on Friday night during a opening ceremony welcoming the 190 athletes and their coaches. The sister of Prince Hans-Adam II was also present for the different competition over the weekend.

Pictures of the opening ceremony at Volksblatt, more visuals of the competition at Vaterland.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Princess Sibilla Visits Denmark

Photo: SN.dk
On January 13, Princess Sibilla visited the "Denmark 1914-1918" exhibition at Mosede Fort in, you guessed it, Denmark. The museum is a candidate for the Micheletti Award, a prize recognising innovation in museums the wife of Prince Guillaume has been involved in for many years. The Mosede Fort is a coastal fort built to protect neutral Denmark from a naval German invasion during the First World War. Today's museums covers the history of Denmark during the War. 

More information are available in Danish on the museum's website, more photos of Princess Sibilla at the museum at SN.dk.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa in Davos

Photo: Ministère d’Etat
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel have been in Davos for the past three days, as previously reported. At the 46th World Economic Forum, the Luxembourgish duo met with various international decision makers from the political, economic and also civil world. This (Friday) morning, the Grand Duchess and the Prime Minister presented Luxembourg during a breakfast meeting to a global group of business leaders. With an audience of about 2,500 invitees, the World Economic Forum offers the Grand Duchy the chance to present itself to a global audience.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Alois Gives Throne Speech for Opening of Parliament

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Today, Hereditary Prince Alois delivered the annual throne speech to open Parliament in Vaduz. Specifically, the speech focused on the ongoing need for reforms, even as the Hereditary Prince acknowledged what has been accomplished in recent years.

In particular, Alois noted that there are several reform packages that still require approval and implementation, including but not limited to a pension reform that ensures long-term financial security of pension programs and a balanced budget to prevent a public debt crisis in Liechtenstein.

A little more from Vaterland and Volksblatt.

Guillaume and Stéphanie at the National Museum of Military History

Photo: Lex Kleren / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
On Wednesday, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Diekirch to visit the National Museum of Military History. The museum was established in 1984 and includes a detailed exhibit on the Battle of the Bulge, as well as events of September 1944. Additionally, the museum has an extensive collection about the Luxembourg military and its veterans.

A few more photos at Wort.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa at the World Economic Forum

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa is scheduled to be at the annual meeting for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, from January 20th-22nd. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel will also be there, fresh off his visit to Liechtenstein.

We'll update with any photos that show up of the Grand Duchess in Davos.

Update: Photo from Irina Bokova's Twitter account. (Irina Bokova is the Director-General of UNESCO).


Also, a photo from the Prime Minister's Twitter account, during the meeting with Ángel Gurría, the Secretary-General of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), about Luxembourg's support for ongoing banking reform efforts.

Alois and Sophie Host the Prime Minister of Luxembourg

It was a brief mention, but it's still worth noting. It seems that on Tuesday, January 19th, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie hosted a dinner at which Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was in attendance. The event recognized the Prime Minister's working visit to Liechtenstein on January 20th to meet with that country's Prime Minister Adrian Hasler. In particular, Prime Minister Bettel expressed gratitude for Liechtenstein's role in assisting refugees.

No photos, and nothing more than a quick article. Photos will be hosted if they're made available.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Talks about Dyslexia

Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa has spoken candidly about the struggles her son Prince Louis faced with dyslexia. Speaking at a press conference in advance of the learning disorders forum to be held on January 30th, the Grand Duchess talked about how she was unsure of where to turn after her son's diagnosis and how SCAP helped. Additionally, she noted the importance of highlighting the learning strengths and unique learning styles of dyslexic individuals and avoiding rhetoric that treats dyslexia as a handicap.

Prince Louis is also expected to attend the event on January 30th, which will, among other things, focus on ways to integrate students facing learning disorders the mainstream educational system.

A little more information at Wort.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kinnekskanner: Documentary about the Grand Ducal Family

Looks like we'll get to see a documentary about a year in the life of the Grand Ducal Family soon. Interpreting a tweet by Debora Ceccacci, RTL journalist and regular reporter of the events of the Grand Dukes, the programme will be aired on February 14, which (possibly not very) coincidentally is the 35th wedding anniversary of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. The apparent title Kinnekskanner hints at the lyrics of the grand ducal anthem, De Wilhelmus.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

More of Grand Duke Jean's Birthday

Let's have a short throwback to what probably was the grand ducal event of the year 2016 already: the 95th birthday celebrations of Grand Duke Jean. In addition to the two previously seen videos, there is now a third one, a report by Belgian royalty magazine Place Royale, including a bit of the speeches of Princess Anunciata and Archduchess Marie-Christine. Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Guillaume Celebrates Luxembourg Maritime Register

Photo: Cluster maritime / Kliewer Fotografie klwr.de
On Thursday night, the Luxembourg Maritime Register celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Chambre des Métiers in Kirchberg and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was on hand to celebrate with them. The event, which was organised by the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and the Luxembourg Maritime Cluster, included three presentation on the historical evolution of the Luxembourg maritime flag and its importance in Luxembourg's multi-sectoral policy of economic diversification, migration of refugees in the Mediterranean, as well as the role of the European Maritime Safety Agency to strengthen the global system of maritime safety.

More pictures at the cour, more info at Chronicle.

Henri Receives the President of APC

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
On Thursday, Grand Duke Henri received in audience Anne Brasseur, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (APC, for Assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l’Europe). Members of APC's Presidential Committee were also in attendance for the audience. Anne Brasseur will head APC for the final time on January 14th.

A little more information at the Cour website.

New Year's Reception at Schloss Vaduz

Photo: Roland Korner / Close Up AG / Vaterland.li
On Thursday, a New Year's reception for the diplomatic corps was held in Liechtenstein. Prince Hans-Adam, Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois, and Hereditary Princess Sophie welcomed accredited diplomatic representatives to Schloss Vaduz for this year's annual event. Also present for some of the events were Prince Nikolaus, Prince Stefan and Princess Maria Pia.

As noted last year, the reception is now organized as two events: a morning reception and an afternoon reception. The guest list is similarly divided, to ensure that everyone can fit comfortably in the space and spend time visiting with the members of the Princely family who are there to greet them.

Some more photos at Vaterland, a video at 1 FL TV.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Adjust Your Bookmarks...

...from now on, you'll now find us under www.luxarazzi.com. Yes, we are happy too that our domain name has just gotten a lot more easier to remember ;-)

Confessions of a Castleholic

Let's pause our regularly scheduled news for a quick shout-out to Confessions of a Castleholic - the 2.0 version of Castles & Co, which you might recall as my other blog I use to chronicle my visits to castles and palaces all over Europe (or so I aspire, right now it's mostly Germany and Austria). Over the past few weeks and months I didn't have enough time to regularly update it and so I decided to launch it with a new name before I start to blog regularly again. I'm looking forward to each and every single one of your visit to www.castleholic.com!

Guillaume and Stéphanie Make Sweet Visit

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
This morning, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie visited the chocolaterie Namur. Equipped with some lovely hairnets, the couple toured the production facilities as well as the Salon Namur where the company showcases some historic documents. Probably among them: the 1904 certificate distinguishing Namur as a purveyor to the grand ducal court, which they remain ever since.

Pictures at Wort and Tageblatt.

More New Year's Audiences in Luxembourg

On Wednesday afternoon, at the Palais Grand-Ducal, members of the Grand Ducal family were there for several successive audiences. Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie received the President of the Council of State, diplomats currently located in Luxembourg, and representatives of European institutions, among others.

No photos just yet, but they'll be added if they're made available.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Henri, Maria Teresa, and Guillaume Receive a Special Olympics Delegation

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
Today, Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume received a delegation of Luxembourg participants in the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles. Minister of Sports Romain Schneider was also in attendance.

During the 2015 event, 37 athletes from Luxembourg participated in sports ranging from aquatics to gymnastics to tennis, and more.

A little more information available from the Cour.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Two Audiences for the New Year

Photo: René Scho / RTL.lu
This morning, there were two New Year's audiences at the Palais Grand-Ducal, with Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa (wearing Armani - thanks Avery!), Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (in Diane von Furstenberg, again) in attendance.

During the first audience, the President of the Chambre des Députés and the Bureau of the Chambre des Députés were received.

During the second audience, one hour later, Prime Minister (and Minister of State) Xavier Bettel and other members of the Government were received.

Some really nice photos at RTL and Tageblatt. Also, a video from RTL is now available.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Luxarazzi 101: Royal Recycling and Clothes Sharing Vol. 7

Ladies and gentlemen, the sisterhood of the travelling clothes is baaaack! (And with a new member at that!) But first, if you don't know the first six parts of this series about the clothes sharing love of the Luxembourg and Liechtenstein families (and their relatives), make sure to check out volumes 1 to 6 here, here, here, here, here and, oh, here
So, let's give a warm welcome to Princess Marie-Gabrielle, the latest member of the sisterhood of the travelling [[insert clothing item of you choice here]]. The daughter of Prince Jean and his first wife Hélène Vestur wore a coat previously worn by her cousin Princess Alexandra (for a church service in 2014) for the 95th birthday celebrations of their apapa, Grand Duke Jean. However, it is not Princess Alexandra the coat originates with but her mother. Grand Duchess Maria Teressa, when she was still Maria Teresa Mestre, wore the coat when arriving to the Grand Duchy prior to her wedding. (Also, hat tip to Grand Duke Henri for sneaking in not once but twice!)
The next one is a bit harder to make out as neither picture is super clear but it still seems that Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie wore the same fur wrap with fringed edges to the water pageant and dinner of the Dutch investiture back in 2013 as her mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, did on a state visit to Belgium in 2007.
The third strike to complete the seventh edition of Royal Recycling and Clothes Sharing comes from two very familiar faces to this series: Archduchess Marie-Astrid and her oldest daughter, Archduchess Marie-Christine (with both their husbands conveniently cropped out of the pictures. Je suis désolé, messieurs.) The poncho-style coat worn by Archduchess Marie-Astrid for the civil wedding of her second son Christoph in 2012 was reworn by her daughter to a movie screening last year.

Photos: Raymond Reuter/Sygma/Guy Jallay/Luxemburger Wort/Wort.lu/EPA/Picture Press/Constance le Hardÿ de Beaulieu/Cyril Moreau/BestImage

Additional Video of the Birthday Concert


Wort published another video of the birthday celebrations of Grand Duke Jean today. Yesterday, we already saw a video by RTL. Wort's video has additional footage of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume's speech, which moved his grandfather to tears. In his speech Guillaume talked about Grand Duke Jean's quality to always see the positive in people and how he taught his grandchildren to be respectful towards everyone who they meet in their lives.

Prince Nikolaus at Papal Reception

Photo: Radio Vaticana
Today, the annual new year's reception of the members of the diplomatic corps by Pope Francis took place at the Vatican. Naturally, Prince Nikolaus, Liechtenstein's non-resident ambassador to the Holy See, was among those present. As always, Prince Nikolaus had a rather prominent seat due to the fact that he is one of the longest serving ambassadors to the Holy See. This time around, he was not accompanied by his wife Princess Margaretha though. A video of the greeting can be found on Youtube, Rome Reports has a transcription of the Pope's speech for those interest.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Story Behind the Triplet Tie: Honouring Apapa

Photos: SIP / Julien Warrand
Truth be told, when I noticed last night that Prince Josef and Prince Wenceslas were wearing the same tie, my first thought was: Is it as bad for men as it is for women if there is another person at the same event wearing the same piece of clothing? My second thought was: Did they both forget to bring their ties and this one was the only one available in the whole of Luxembourg? Then my mind wandered to: Wait, maybe it has something to do with the school they went to? But no, it didn't - and then I thought it would forever remain a mystery.

However, when I noticed today that Archduke Alexander was actually wearing the very same tie as his cousins, it all started to fall into place. Because what do the sons of Princess Margaretha, Prince Jean and Archduchess Marie-Astrid, respectively in order of mention, have in common (apart from their family heritage)? Of course, they served in the Irish Guards, just as their grandfather Grand Duke Jean did during the Second World War.

Between 1984 and 2000, Grand Duke Jean also was the honorary colonel of the Irish Guards and they were prominently featured during the birthday concert as they played a rendition of Happy Birthday for their former member.  The theme was continued by Prince Josef, Prince Wenceslas and Archduke Alexander, who, in fact, wore the regimental tie of the Irish Guards to show both their own service in the Guards and to honour their Apapa in a lovely way!

Video of Grand Duke Jean's Birthday Celebrations

Photo: SIP / Julien Warnand
Yesterday saw the celebrations for Grand Duke Jean's 95th birthday, which included a photo opportunity at the palais as well as a concert at the Philharmonie. RTL covered the events in their evening news today and the report can be seen on their website. Unfortunately, we can only see one small excerpt of the speechs of the grandchildren of Grand Duke Jean. But here's a translation of what Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume said, "Dear Apapa, on the occasion of your birthday, we all want to emphasise how proud we are of you. Now it is onto us all both in this room and outside to wish you, dear Apapa, all the best for your birthday."

Fun fact (and something I wasnt aware of until Arjan pointed it out): Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and his cousins famously call their grandfather Apapa - and that might just be a very old family tradition. Already King Christian IX of Denmark, a.k.a. "the father-in-law of Europe" and great-great-great-great-grandfather of Guillaume, was known as Apapa by his grandchildren. (Of course we can't know for certain whether this is the origin but it's still interesting to know.)

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 / Wort.lu
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.

Family and Royal Guests Celebrate 95th Birthday of Grand Duke Jean

This evening saw the celebrations for Grand Duke Jean's birthday. Luxembourg's former ruler turned 95 on Tusday this week. In addition to all of Grand Duke Jean's children, grandchildren and his two eldest great-grandchildren, several foreign royals and other relatives and friends were also in attendance for the celebrations that started with a photo opportunity at the palais grand-ducal. There was one setting for Grand Duke Jean was photographed with his descendants, and another one were they were also joined by royals and relatives.
Photo: René Scho / RTL / RTL.lu
To give you a quick run down of who was in attendance (from left to right):

First row: Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, King Philippe of the Belgians, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg with his great-grandson Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah in front of him, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Constantine of Greece, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Princess Irene of Greece

Second row: Princess Claire of Luxembourg, Prince Félix of Luxembourg, Countess Diane de Nassau, Prince Jean of Luxembourg, Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria, Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg, Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Princess Sarvath of Jordan

Third row: Princess Charlotte de Nassau, Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein, Archduchess Kathleen of Austria, Archduke Imre of Austria, Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg, Prince Louis of Luxembourg, Princess Tessy of Luxembourg, Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg, Princess Tatiana Radziwiłł, Jean Fruchaud, Archduchess Anna Gabriele of Austria, Archiduchess Adélaïde of Austria, Archduke Christoph of Austria

As the other rows get a bit messy, here's the others combined: Prince Paul-Louis de Nassau, Prince Carl de Nassau, Archduke Alexander of Austria, Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Austria, Prince Jean de Nassau, Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria, Archduchess Gabriella of Austria, Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum, Chevalier Charles de Fabribeckers de Cortils et Grâce, Princess Anne de Ligne, Prince Josef of Liechtenstein (with Countess Antonia of Holstein-Ledreborg hidden behind him), Archduchess Catharina of Austria, Prince Wenceslas de Nassau, Princess Marie-Astrid of Liechtenstein, Prince Constantin de Nassau, Prince Léopold of Nassau

For those of you not a regular to the extended Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg, I recommend our Who's Who-section that will give you a clearer picture to the name of each of the children and grandchildren of Grand Duke Jean. For those wondering about the Luxembourg- and Nassau-thing in their titles, check out both our Grand Ducal Family-section as well as the FAQ to learn more.

About the royal and noble guests... Most of them are easily recognisable either because they regularly appear at events all over Europe or by the "of [[insert country]]" in their title. As for the others: Princess Anne de Ligne is a niece of Grand Duke Jean by his sister Princess Alix. She attended together with her second husband Chevalier Charles de Fabribeckers de Cortils et Grâce. Countess Antonia of Holstein-Ledreborg is another niece of Grand Duke Jean, by his sister Princess Marie-Gabrielle. Both Princess Anne and Countess Antonia are goddaughters of Grand Duke Jean. Princess Tatiana Radziwiłł is the daughter of Princess Eugénie of Greece. She and her husband, Jean Fruchaud, are regular guests at events of the Grand Ducal Family. Archduchess Anna Gabriele of Austria, who was accompanied by her daughter Archduchess Catharina, is the widow of Archduke Rudolph and a regular of grand ducal family events as well.

For more pictures, videos and information about the concert for Grand Duke Jean's 95th birthday, make sure to check back later on! (Here you go.)

Guest List for Grand Duke Jean's Birthday Concert

Just a few minutes ago, the birthday concert for Grand Duke Jean started. Here's the official list of guests of all those attending... Turns out that the party for the 95th birthday is even bigger than the one five years ago, as members of several foreign royal families and noble relatives and friends are also in attendance!


Grand Duke Henri
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie
Prince Félix
Princess Claire
Prince Louis
Princess Tessy
Prince Gabriel de Nassau
Prince Noah de Nassau
Princess Alexandra
Prince Sébastien

Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria
Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria  
Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria
Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum
Archduke Imre of Austria
Archduchess Kathleen of Austria
Archduke Christoph of Austria
Archduchess Adélaïde of Austria
Archduke Alexander of Austria
Archduchess Gabriella  of Austria

Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein
Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein
Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein
Princess Marie-Astrid of Liechtenstein
Prince Josef of Liechtenstein

Prince Jean
Countess Diane de Nassau
Princess Marie-Gabrielle de Nassau
Prince Carl de Nassau
Prince Constantin de Nassau
Prince Wenceslas de Nassau

Prince Guillaume
Princess Sibilla
Prince Paul-Louis de Nassau
Princess Charlotte de Nassau
Prince Léopold de Nassau
Prince Jean de Nassau

Princess Anne de Ligne
Chevalier Charles de Fabribeckers de Cortils et Grâce

Countess Antonia de Holstein-Ledreborg

Dr Jean H. Fruchaud
Princess Tatiana Radziwill

Archiduchess Anna-Gabriella of Austria

Archduchess Catharina of Austria

Prince El Hassan of Jordan
Princess Sarvath of Jordan

King Konstantine of Greece
Queen Anne-Marie of Greece

Queen Sofia of Spain

Princess Irene of Greece

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands

King Philippe of the Belgians
Queen Mathilde of the Belgians

Edited to add: 
The above names are the ones on the official list, 
here area few other royals and nobles we spied

Princess Sophie of Hohenberg
Baron Jean-Louis de Potesta  

Archduke Karl Peter of Austria
Archduchess Alexandra of Austria

Archduke István of Austria
Archduchess Paola of Austria

Count Andrea Czarnocki-Lucheschi
Archduchess Isabella of Austria-Este

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Marie-Christine and Rodolphe Attend Movie Screening

Photo: Constance le Hardÿ de Beaulieu
File this in the better late than never category...

Last year, when it was still sunny and the trees featured leaves, Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria, oldest granddaughter of Grand Duke Jean, and her husband Count Rodolphe de Limburg-Stirum attended a private screening of the film "Eclatante Marguerite" about Countess Marguerite de Limburg-Stirum. The film was made by Guillaume de Westerholt with the screening took place at the Cine Centre in the Belgian village of Couture-Saint-Germain.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Our 12 Days of Christmas... (+ Saying Thank You)

It's Epiphany meaning the twelve days of Christmas - and thus our series of Luxarazzi 101s - are over. Before we take the opportunity to have a quick look back, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Christmas series: Bonnie, Emily and Kim-Lisa! The three of them have been doing awesome work behind the scenes to bring all these wonderful and interesting Luxarazzi 101s to you. I watch as the drafts grow from random notes on collected research to comprehensive articles full of often little known facts. Sometimes it's a matter of days, other times a matter of weeks. Thank you for your help this time around and all the other times throughout the year! I can already reveal that many more fascinating Luxarazzi 101s are in the works.

And now, to look back and catch up...

On the first day of Christmas, we brought to you
It is neither Santa Claus nor Father Christmas who brings the Christmas gifts in Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. Instead, the local children look forward to a visit by the Christkind (Liechtenstein) or Chrëschtkand (Luxembourg). Though be careful, when you try to see it - it won't arrive.

On the second day of Christmas, we brought to you
Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg, Princess of Thurn und Taxis
Many of you will know about Grand Duchess Charlotte and Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaide or even their younger sister Princess Antonia, the last Crown Princess of Bavaria. But who is their sister Princess Elisabeth, known as Lissi and a Thurn und Taxis by marriage.

On the third day of Christmas, we brought to you
the House of Thurn und Taxis
Who are the family that Princess Elisabeth married into - and how did they become so fabulously rich that even reigning royal and imperial families didn't mind marrying into the family.

On the fourth day of Christmas, we brought to you 
Luxembourg's third highest order and the one sometimes worn by Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume for national day military parades. Did you know that the colours were inspired by the blooming broom against the green of Luxembourg's Ösling forests?

On the fifth day of Christmas, we brought to you
Worn by Hereditary Princess Sophie for her pre-wedding ball, this tiara dates back all the way to (at least) her great-great-grandmother Queen Marie Therese of Bavaria (1849-1919).

On the sixth day of Christmas, we brought to you
Located on a 482 metre high dormant volcano, this castle was once considered to be the "strongest fortress of Christianity". Firstly mentioned about 900 yeas ago, it has been owned by the Princely Family since 1822.

On the seventh day of Christmas, we brought to you
Had history gone different, another branch of the Nassau family might be ruling the Grand Duchy today, namely the descendants of the morganatic marriage of Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau and Natalia Pushkina, daughter of the famous poet.

On the eighth day of Christmas, we brought to you
Who are the family of Hereditary Princess Sophie that has ruled Bavaria longer than the Nassaus Luxembourg, the Liechtensteins Liechtenstein, the Bernadottes Sweden and the Glücksborgs Norway combined.

On the ninth day of Christmas, we brought to you
Basically the house order of the Grand Ducal Family, this is the one that all members of the family are born with and the order that all females who marry into the family receive upon marriage. And no, it's not named for Grand Duke Adolph.

On the tenth day of Christmas, we brought to you
Another one of the younger sister of Grand Duchess Charlotte, Princess Hilda was the one with the closest bond to Luxembourg's Grand Duchess. Separated in age by just over a year, they both enjoyed relatively long lives, unlike their four less fortunate sisters -  a life that took Hilda both to Africa and the U.S.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, we brought to you
Officially the Decrees of the President of the Republic, the Beneš Decrees had an influence on the life of Princess Hilda, as well as many other noble families who owned property in Czechoslovakia, including the Princely Family of Liechtenstein.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, we brought to you 
A medieval Bohemian king and member of the House of Luxembourg, this man is considered a bit of a national hero in the Grand Duchy and also the man Grand Duke Jean was named for.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Belgian Royals to Attend Birthday Concert

Today is Grand Duke Jean's 95th birthday - and on Saturday, January 9, he will celebrate it in style with a classical concert at the Philharmonie. While not too many details about the guest list have emerged as of yet, two people who will join the fun are King Philippe of the Belgians and his wife Queen Mathilde. Personally, I wouldn't expect to see many more foreign royals as the Belgian King and Queen are more like family, King Philippe being the nephew of Grand Duke Jean.

Luxarazzi 101: John the Blind

King John of Bohemia
To include a King of Bohemia among the Luxarazzi 101 posts might not be completely obvious, but history links this fascinating figure with the House of Luxembourg. What is more, this medieval King of Bohemia is recognized as a national hero in Luxembourg and is even recognized as the founder of the Schueberfouer back in 1340. In addition, it is said that today's birthday boy, Grand Duke Jean, was named for this very man.

John, alternately Jean, Johann or Jang, was born in 1296 and likely in what is now the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was the son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII, a King of Germany and one of the early acknowledged members of the House of Luxembourg. (The first of this House is usually recognized as Henry V, the Blondell, and Henry VII was his grandson.) John, who was only around 17 years old when his father died, grew up in the French court but was inevitably embroiled more in the politics of the different Germanic courts.  In 1310, Henry VII arranged for his 14-year-old son to marry Elisabeth, the 14-year-old daughter of the late King Wenzeslaus III of Bohemia, making John a potential inheritor of the Bohemian title. It is worth mentioning that the wedding occurred after John, or rather the forces in support of him, invaded Bohemia and claimed his bride, as well as the crown. The coronation of King John and Queen Elisabeth of Bohemia was held in early 1311.

The marriage of John and Elisabeth.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this start at kinghood did not endear John to his new subjects, and he faced an uphill battle in establishing himself as a rightful King of Bohemia. Additionally, he and his wife struggled to produce a male heir, and it was not until 1316 that a son Charles (the future King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV) was born. As a result, John spent much of his time traveling and resided also in Luxembourg and France. The travels also reflected John's other potential titles, which included a claim to the throne of Poland; John took the time to visit Poland during his travels and also extracted a sizable tribute from the king there as compensation for John giving up his own claim to the throne.

In 1336, though, John faced the physical challenge that would come to define him historically. During a crusade in Lithuania, he contracted ophthalmia and lost his vision. This did not seem to stop him for long, as John became an ally of King Philip VI of France during the Hundred Years' War which began in 1337. But in 1346, around age 50, John rode into the Battle of Crécy, with his son Charles, and lost his life near the front lines. In fact, a medieval historian named Jean Froissart recorded the following about John's participation in the battle:

"The king his father [Charles's father King John] was so far forward that he strake a stroke with his sword, yea and more than four, and fought valiantly and so did his company; and they adventured themselves so forward, that they were there all slain, and the next day they were found in the place about the king, and all their horses tied each to other."

The seal of King John, reading IOHANNES
 DEI GRAT BOEMIE ET
POL REX LVCEMBVRG COMES
During the battle, King John wore a crest with the motto "Ich dien," or "I serve." This was later adopted by Edward, the Black Prince - also Prince of Wales - and the motto has remained a part of the Prince of Wales's coat of arms since that time. Additionally, King John can be credited, at least in part, with expressions that refer to "fighting blindly," although the exact attribution of this must remain somewhat apocryphal.

The burial of John the Blind has proven to be something of an historical curiosity, as his remains have been moved several times. He was buried first in Altmünster Abbey in Luxembourg, but his body was later moved to Neumünster Abbey. As a point of historical interest, Altmünster Abbey was brought down, with the exception of the still-remaining tower, in 1543 during the Italian War of 1542–46. But when the French Revolution threatened Luxembourg, King John's remains were moved once again: members of the Boch family (of Villeroy & Boch fame) hid them in an attic to prevent them from being harmed. They later shared the information with King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia (then just Prince Friedrich Wilhelm), and between 1834 and 1835, the prince commissioned a chapel to house the Bohemian king. Finally, the government of Luxembourg moved the remains to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame where they remain today.

While John's son Charles became King of Bohemia and, eventually, Holy Roman Emperor, it was his second son Wenzeslaus who followed up his role as the first officially titled Duke of Luxembourg. Wenzeslaus left no children, however, and it was Charles's son, also named Wenzeslaus, who followed his uncle as Duke of Luxembourg.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Luxarazzi 101: Beneš Decrees

In 1937, at the funeral of the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, six soldiers carried the founding father’s coffin. Each of them represented the six largest nationalities residing in pre-war Czechoslovakia: Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, German, Polish and Ruthenian. Already a year later, the coexistence of the various ethnic groups in the country had been changed drastically by the Munich Agreement. The Agreement, signed by Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy, gave Nazi-Germany the right to annex parts of Czechoslovakia along the German border with a predominantly German-speaking population, also known as Sudetenland.

Czech districts with 25% or more ethnic German population in 1935
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
As a result of the Munich Agreement, under the first Vienna Award, Czechoslovakia was forced by Germany and Italy to cede southern Slovakia, about one third of Slovak territory, to Hungary, while Poland invaded Zaolzie territory shortly after. The much smaller Second Czechoslovak Republic, established in late September 1938 and composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and the autonomous regions of Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia, only lasted 169 days. On March 14, 1939, the  independent Slovak Republic, a client state of Nazi Germany, was established. The very next day, the Germans occupied the remainder of the country and yet another day later (March 16), they established the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by a proclamation of Adolf Hitler from Prague Castle.

For the Czechs of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia, German occupation represented a period of brutal oppression as the aim of the Nazis was to "germanize" the Protectorate. An estimated 36,000 to 55,000 ethnic Czechs lost their lives due to political persecution and deaths in concentration camps. Two of the worst autrocities were the massacres of Lidice and Ležáky, two villages that were razed to the ground and their adult male inhabitants killed with women and children deported to concentration camps as a reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich. It is said that up to 360,000 living in the Protectorate, about 270,000 Jews and 8,000 Romani people, were killed until 1945.

Meanwhile while in exile in London, the Czech government drew up a series of laws which dealt with various aspects of the restoration of Czechoslovakia and its legal system, denazification and reconstruction of the country. Officially the Decrees of the President of the Republic but better known as the Beneš Decrees, they were drafted by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile under President Edvard Beneš between 1940 and 1945. The Decrees were later retroactively ratified by the Interim National Assembly of Czechoslovakia on March 6, 1946.

President Edvard Beneš
While there were some 143 decrees, the - to this day - most talked about are the ones dealing with the ethnic Germans (and Hungarians). In fact, they were also applied to the Princely Family of Liechtenstein and all other Liechtenstein citizens who owned properties in Czechoslovakia on the basis that they spoke German and were thus considered German.

The "Decree of the President concerning modification of Czechoslovak citizenship of persons of German and Hungarian ethnicity" stripped all Czechoslovaks of German or Hungarian ethnicity who had gained German or Hungarian citizenship of their Czechoslovak citizenship. The only way they could stay a Czechoslovak citizen if they had declared Czech or Slovak ethnicity after May 21, 1938, or prove that they remained loyal to the Czechoslovak Republic, did not commit offenses against the nation and either took part in the liberation of Czechoslovakia or were subject to Nazi or fascist terror - one of the people who would have actually been able to prove that was Prince Adolph of Schwarzenberg, husband of Luxembourg's Princess Hilda, though once the courts decided in his favour, a special law, the Lex Schwarzenberg, to strip him of his properties.

Another decree, the "Decree of the President concerning the confiscation and expedited allotment of agricultural property of Germans and Hungarians, as well as traitors and enemies of the Czech and Slovak nation", confiscated all agricultural property owned by, among others, Germans and Hungarians, notwithstanding citizenship, with exception of those who actively took part in the fight for preservation and liberation of the state. This one was the decrees that was applied to the Liechtenstein family as well as some of their relatives, such as the Kinskys.

Source: The Economist
While none of the Beneš Decrees actually deal with the topic of expulsion of German and Hungarian nationals from Czechoslovakia, they are still associated with the displacement of about 3 million Germans and Hungarians in the months and years following the Second World War. The Potsdam Agreement between the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union actually stated, "The Three Governments, having considered the question in all its aspects, recognize that the transfer to Germany of German populations, or elements thereof, remaining in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, will have to be undertaken. They agree that any transfers that take place should be effected in an orderly and humane manner."

However, when the Potsdam Conference began, the expulsion of the Germans and Hungarians had already started, some of the violently. There are a number localised massacres of the German population recorded especially for the summer of 1945. A joint German and Czech commission of historians estimated that there were around 15,000 Germans who died during the time caused by violence or abnormal living conditions. Estimates say that around 300,000 Germans were at one point or the other interred in "concentration camps" by the Czechoslovak, one of those was Princess Marie of Liechtenstein.

To this day, the Beneš Decrees cloud international relations. Back when the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined the European Union, it was a much discussed topic. And only in 2009, the Principality of Liechtenstein took up official relations with both of these countries. A year later, a commission of Liechtenstein and Czech historians was formed and have sinced published a number of reports. It is still a topic though when Prince Hans-Adam II visits the Czech Republic, and it is likely to stay that way for many years (and thus posts) to come.