Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Princess Tessy to Speak at Women Economic Forum

Princess Tessy will be one of the speakers at the Women Economic Forum taking place in London from January 31 to February 2. The title of this year's event is "Awakening the Power Within: The Way Forward for the UK". Princess Tessy will speak on Wednesday morning as one of the guests of honour of the inaugural session.

Monday, January 30, 2017

More Show Jumping for Prince Philipp and Princess Theodora

Photo: Mercedes-Benz CSI Zurich
Prince Philipp, younger brother of Prince Hans-AdamII, and his granddaughter Princess Theodora were in Zurich over the weekend where they attended the Mercedes-Benz CSI Zurich, a show jumping tournament. After handing out the prizes of the LGT Private Banking Challenge on Saturday, they honoured Pius Schwizer of Switzerland as the best rider of the tournament on Sunday.

Alois at New Year's Reception of Commercial Industry

Photo: Paul Trumer / LIechtensteiner Volksblatt / Volksblatt.li
On Tuesday last week, Hereditary Prince Alois was among the guests of the New Year's reception of the manufacturing industry of Liechtenstein. The event, also attended by several of the Principality's politicians, included a talk by Swiss mountain climber Evelyne Binsack about her adventures at Mount Everest & Co. Volksblatt offers an extensive gallery of visuals.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Prince Philipp and Granddaughter Theodora in Zurich

Photo: Mercedes Benz CSI Zurich
Prince Philipp and his granddaughter Princess Theodora, daughter of Prince Alexander and Princess Astrid, were in Zurich, Switzerland, earlier today, where they attended and handed out the prizes at the LGT Private Banking Challenge. The show jumping tournament is part of the Mercedes-Benz CSI Zurich. The grandfather-granddaughter-duo already did the same in 2014 and 2015. This year's challenge was won by Billy Twomey from Ireland with Ardcolum Duke, ahead of Joel Kurmann on Tarzan de Thurin (Switzerland) and Maikel Van der Vleuten on VDL Groep Quatro (Netherlands).

Luxarazzi 101: Sylvia Martinez of Les Folie's Bibis (In Her Own Words)

The bold and the beautiful: Could you imagine a major royal event without hats and fascinators? It just wouldn't be a proper royal bash without a nod to massive millinery, would it? We talked to miliner Sylvia Martinez of Les Folie's Bibis, who took part in the "De Mains de Ma√ģtre" exhibition initiated by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess St√©phanie.

You have recently exhibited your work as part of the "De Main de Ma√ģtres" exhibition, initiated by the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess. Can you tell us a how it came about and about your experience?
I am part of the “Metiers d’Art en Lorraine” since 2010 in France, and I do regular exhibitions in the region. I am also a member of the IDAA association that wants to promote the “Meti√©rs d’Art in Luxembourg”. So the president of the IDAA association, Katty Chacun, was approached by the organizers of this exhibition “De Mains de Ma√ģtres” and she provided them with 20 names of creators, and 12 of them were chosen to be part of this exhibition, including my work. For me it was an amazing experience, to be part of all these talented persons, in such a magnificent place. Also the opportunity to meet the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess was a big honour. 

Sylvia Martinez with the Hereditary Grand Duke
and Hereditary Grand Duchess
Please tell us a little about yourself. How did you become a hat designer?
I am a Spanish economist that had worked in finance for 20 years in Madrid. Life made me leave Madrid in 2007, to come close to Luxembourg, to Zoufftgen (where I live) and I saw the perfect opportunity to make a radical change in my professional life too. I have been always fascinated by hats, I wear them regularly and I wanted to work with my hands; so I learned how to work the different materials to make these marvellous hats, like I used to see in films or magazines. My father was a tailor and one of my aunts a dressmaker, so I have grown up with needles, threads and fabrics… all these amazing materials that get transformed into something unique. After some Master Classes with prestigious teachers to learn how to work the felt, the sinamay, the buckram, the straw and the feathers, I felt ready to take this new adventure of making hats. And at the end of 2009 I created my brand “Les Folie’s Bibis”.

The hat for Princess Stéphanie
You have offered two of your hats as gifts to the Grand Duchess as well as the Hereditary Grand Duchess. How the process of creating a new hat usually does looks like?
Normally it is the material that communicates something to me… and the magic starts! I don’t normally make any sketches in advance, because most of the time I have no idea of what would be the final result… I can have a little idea, but by creating and transforming the material with my hands, the hat is taking form… And the moment arrives that I feel is done, and it  is finished… I know it sounds strange but it is the way it works in me.
The hat for the Grand Duchess
The hat I create for the Grand Duchess, first I looked for pictures about her, to have an idea of her colours and style. I had this nice silk on my hands and I imagine making leaves of different colours with pearls. For the base of that hat I used wool felt in fuchsia, blocked on a nice shape. When I finished, I really thought that it could be perfect for The  Grand Duchess, so I “dared” to send it to her as a present. And some weeks later I received a wonderful letter thanking me for this hat… I was so excited and grateful about that.
At the exhibition “De Mains de Ma√ģtres” I thought that it could be a nice present for the Hereditary Grand Duchess to offer her one of my hats as well, one that could be adapted to her style. So I chose one nice sinamay and lace head piece in light beige colour. I hope she likes it and she will have the opportunity to wear it.

What is the inspiration behind your creations?
I get my inspiration in old films and old fashion books. I love the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's… All these glamorous years for fashion, all these elegant women and men wearing hats, gloves… I try to get inspiration in old times bringing old styles alive in a contemporary and elegant way. Nature is also a source of inspiration, with the colours, combinations and forms.

If you could create a hat for anyone in the world, who would it be and what would the hat look like?
Difficult question… With my work I want to make feel every woman unique, elegant, special and simply beautiful. It is important to talk and listen to the client to know their wishes and expectations, the style and what the client wants to communicate wearing a hat or headpiece, in order to find the perfect one for her. Being a big fan of Audrey Hepburn myself (for me one of the most elegant women from the last century), I would have liked to have the opportunity to create an elegant hat for her. Not possible anymore, but she is still and always so inspiring to me.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Grand Duke Inspects Cycling Course

Photo: Serge Waldbillig / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
This weekend, the 2017 Cyclo-Cross World Championship will take place in Luxembourg. Already today, Grand Duke Henri made his way to the Parc Belval in Bieles to have a look at the route that the cyclists will take this weekend. The Grand Duke was accompanied by the mayor of Sassenheim Georges Engel, UCI president Brian Cookson and championship director Eric Leyder. He also met some Luxembourgish riders to wish the good luck for the upcoming competition.

Wort has more pictures.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hereditary Prince Alois at World Economic Forum in Davos

Photo: Bigstock
Hereditary Prince Alois may have been among the attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos about a week ago, on January 17. I say may as all I can find are four rather non-telling pictures of His Serene Highness with no one else or no place else in sight. The visuals can be found at Bigstock.

Guillaume and Stéphanie Attend the Preview of "Rusty Boys"

Photo: Liam McEvoy
On the 24th, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess St√©phanie attended a preview of the feature film "Rusty Boys," from Luxembourg's own Andy Bausch. The film, which is in Luxembourgish, is about a group of four retirees who decide that life in a retirement home just isn't right for them. The grand ducal duo was accompanied by director Bausch, producer Paul Thilges and actors of the movie. The Hereditary Grand Ducal couple also attended a reception after the film.

Another picture if available at the cour.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Princess Tessy Makes First Public Appearance Since Divorce Announcement

Princess Tessy made her first public appearance since the announcement of her separation from Prince Louis by attending the Creative Coalition's Annual Spotlight Awards hosted by the Kia Supper Suite in Park City, Utah, United States and looking pretty fab doing so. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilising and activating its members on issues of public importance. The Spotlight Initiative Awards are a prestigious honor in the independent film area.

For more pictures, have a look at Getty Images.

Guillaume and Stéphanie to Attend Special Olympics Winter Games

In March, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess St√©phanie will be in  Austria to support Team Luxembourg at the Special Olympics Winter Games, which run from March 14-25. The couple is expected to attend from March 18-20, at locations in Graz and Schladming, where Luxembourg's athletes will be competing in the following sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and stickshooting. Team Luxembourg will include 24 athletes who have been training for the Games since October.

A little more information at Chronicle.lu.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Henri and Maria Teresa Celebrate 175 Years of the Postal Service

Photo: Tageblatt / Tageblatt.lu
On the evening of the 20th, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were in Esch-sur-Alzette for an event celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Administration des Postes, as well as the 25th anniversary of Post and Telecommunications Company (l’Entreprise des Postes et de T√©l√©communications). The postal service is the largest private employer in Luxembourg and provide a range of services beyond the mail. The telecommunications service also provides television, internet, and mobile phone options.

The postal service employs around 2000 people, with at least 900 expected at the Friday evening festivities. Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, who also holds the role of Minister for Economy and Trade, was in attendance as well.

A little more from Tageblatt. Also more photos from the Cour website.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Henri Sends Message of Congratulations to Donald Trump

On January 20th, Grand Duke Henri sent a message of congratulations to Donald Trump in honor of the inauguration. The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr President,

Together with the Grand Duchess I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of your inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America.

The historical ties of friendship that unite our countries mean much to all of us in Luxembourg.

We wish you all the possible success for your mission as Head of State and we hope for a continued excellent transatlantic relationship.

Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Henri Receives the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Photo:ʩ2017 Cour grand-ducale / tous droits réservés
On the 20th, Grand Duke Henri received in audience Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who is the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a role he has held since September of 2014. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein is also a prince and a member of the Hashemite House; but, per UN policy, he does not use his title in his official role as High Commissioner.

Alois Attends the Austrian-Liechtenstein Society Reception

Photo: IKR
On the 18th, Hereditary Prince Alois was in Vienna to attend and speak at the New Year's Reception for the Austrian-Liechtenstein Society (√ĖLI). This event marks the organization's 10-year anniversary and represents its ongoing commitment to maintaining the strong ties between the two countries. 

Princess Maria-Pia, who is Liechtenstein's Ambassador to Austria and the Czech Republic (and previously served as the Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union), also attended the event. Director General Karl Stoss, who is the President of the Austrian-Liechtenstein Society, was awarded the Order of the Principality of Liechtenstein in recognition for his decade of commitment to furthering the society's goals.

A little more information here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume Visits Hein Workshops

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
On the 18th, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was in Strassen to visit the workshops of the Hein company, which specializes in the production of ovens for bread-making. These ovens are used from Paris to New York, and the Hereditary Grand Duke was there to recognize the company's 135th anniversary.

Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, who is also the Minister of the Economy, was present for the visit.

A little more from Wort.

Hereditary Prince Alois Meets with Ukrainian Leader

On the 18th, Hereditary Prince Alois met with Petro Poroshenko in what the latter described as a "historic meeting." He also commented on the potential for an ongoing bilateral relationship, and reports of the meeting included a discussion about trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

A little more information here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Future Title of Princess Tessy of Luxembourg

Earlier this evening, the cour grand-ducale announced that Prince Louis and Princess Tessy would divorce after ten years of marriage and two children together. Almost immediately, we were asked about a few more details. We will address the ones regarding titles, styles and names in a moment, but first let us express how sad we are for Prince Louis, Princess Tessy, Prince Gabriel, Prince Noah and all involved. I am sure we all wish the family well during this trying time, especially the young princes. Here on Luxarazzi - and I hope everywhere else out there - we will refrain from any speculation about personal matters and respect the privacy of everyone involved. We hope that they can find the long-term happiness apart that they couldn't find together and remain friends for the sake of their sons.

Prince Louis married the former - and probably future - Tessy Antony on September 29, 2006, at the parish church of Gilsdorf after a legal wedding at the palais grand-ducal. The couple had become the parents of a boy, Gabriel, about half a year earlier. He was soon followed by a brother, Noah, in September 2007. On August 22, 2006, a little more than a month before his marriage, Prince Louis renounced his succession rights to the Luxembourgish throne. The decision was made as not to give an advantage to any future children. His oldest son, Gabriel, would not have been able to inherit succession rights anyway as he was born out of wedlock. At the time, Princess Tessy was simply known as Tessy de Nassau taking the legal last name of the Grand Ducal Family. Accordingly, her sons were known as Gabriel de Nassau and Noah de Nassau.

The decision of Louis' wife and son only having the last name "de Nassau" and neither title nor style wasn't without precedent in the history of the Grand Ducal Family yet a decision against the Arrêté grand-ducal of September 21, 1995, which reorganised the styles, titles and surname of the Grand Ducal Family. The decree's Article 3 states, "The Princes of Our House who have entered into a marriage without the consent of the Head of the Family, along with their spouse, bear respectively the title of Count and Countess of Nassau. The descendants of these unions are qualified in the same way."

According to the 1995 decree, Prince Louis should have henceforth be known as Count Louis of Nassau and his family as Countess Tessy of Nassau and Count Gabriel of Nassau. However, Tessy was denied the usage of the title via a press release of Grand Duke Henri (while Louis remained a Prince of Luxembourg). On national day 2009, the Grand Duke made the announcement that Tessy de Nassau would be elevated to the rank of "Her Royal Highness Princess Tessy of Luxembourg". Her and Prince Louis' sons would henceforth be known as "His Royal Highness Prince Gabriel of Nassau" and "His Royal Highness Prince Noah of Nassau", just like any other grandchildren of the Grand Duke by children who are not the heir to the throne.

There should have been an official decree to go along with the press release allowing Tessy and her sons the usage of their titles and styles. However, we have never been able to locate said decree. (Unless there was some weird retroactive consent-giving going on like it happened in Belgium with Prince Amedeo.) There definitely were decrees in 1995 and 2004, respectively, that elevated the wives and children of Prince Jean and Prince Robert firstly to the rank of Counts and Countesses of Nassau and then Princes and Princesses of Nassau. Both decrees are publicly available. If there was no decree published along with the press release elevating Tessy, Gabriel and Noah, one would have a very good argument to question the validity of their titles and styles in the first place. (Yes, even the Grand Duke as Fountain of Honour cannot make title elevations by press release.)

In addition to the Grand Duke's signature, an act creating new titles of the nobility of Luxembourg also needs a countersignature by a member of the government as per Article 45 of the constitution, which says, "All provisions of the Grand Duke require the countersignature of a responsible member of the Government." Both the 1995 and 2004 decrees include the countersignatures, as do all other acts related to a title or the validation of a foreign title be they issued by Grand Duke Adolph, Grand Duchess Marie-Ad√©la√Įde, Grand Duchess Charlotte, Grand Duke Jean or Grand Duke Henri.

Speaking of countersignature... In 2012, a new House Law was introduced (which actually lacks the countersignature - but that is another topic for another day...), The Bylaws - again, lacking countersignature - concerning the House Law stipulate that "In case of a legal separation, a divorce or remarriage after death, the wives [of a member of the House] lose the style and title conferred upon them." (Article 4b) The same Article also states that "The use or the conferral of a style or title in the individual case cannot deduce either rights from the membership of the House or Family or consent to the marriage."

You would be right in thinking now that Princess Tessy will soon cease to be a princess and become Tessy Antony again, as she was known prior her marriage. However... This wouldn't be the Grand Ducal Family if there wasn't a twist to it: Tessy was elevated to the rank of "Her Royal Highness Princess Tessy of Luxembourg (* and the titles that go along with it)" in 2009. The House Law was introduced three years later. So, without knowing the exact wording of the decree creating her a Princess, you can't be entirely sure if the House Law actually is applicable to her case. There were a few instances - gender neutral succession, anyone? - in which the cour specifically stated that the House Law would not be applied retroactively. So it is questionable if it will be in the case of Princess Tessy's future title and style as the current ones were created prior to the introduction of the House Law.

If a decree actually exists somewhere and specifically mentions "Tessy de Nassau" being created "HRH Princess Tessy of Luxembourg etc." yet fails to mention the event of a divorce and what happens to her title in said event, one could make a serious case, that Tessy can actually keep her title. (Assuming that the decree is countersigned.) Looking back at the decrees of 1995 and 2004, both included a stipulation about divorces et al and what happens with titles and styles in the case it does happen.

For example, Article 4 of the 1995 decree reads as following, "In case of separation from the spouses, in case of divorce, in case of remarriage after death, the titles conferred to the spouses of the Princes of Our House by virtue of the present decree are lost." It is by this stipulation that Countess Hélène of Nassau, first wife of Prince Jean, reverted to her maiden name Hélène Vestur after her divorce. And despite all what we just wrote, we would still assume that the case of Princess Tessy will be handled in the same way, unless otherwise stated by the cour grand-ducale.

You could even make the case that one part of the 2012 House Law was written with Princess Tessy specifically in mind. Article 4b says, "In case of a legal separation, a divorce or remarriage after death, the wives lose the style and title conferred upon them." Tessy's title isn't based on the House Law, according to which she would also be a Countess of Nassau (while her husband could have kept his title as Prince of Luxembourg, in difference to the 1995 decree). Rather it is based on a (non-existent?) decree, so in her case it has been an actual "conferral of the title" instead of under the rights of another part of the same Article saying that "the members of the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family, in all their official and private functions which may concern them, bear [...], those who conducted a marriage without the consent of the Head of the House, the family name "zu Nassau" ("de Nassau") as well as their previous title. The wives and legitimate offspring of this marriage bear their first name and the family name "zu Nassau" ("de Nassau") as well as the title Count or Countess of Nassau."

As you can see, you can make many cases on this matter. The most likely one, following precedent, is that Princess Tessy will soon be known as "Tessy Antony" again. In Luxembourg, a woman who is part of a mutual consent (no-fault) divorce cannot retain her husband's surname without his consent. Yet you can also see that there are many twists and turns in this explanation and the way the Grand Ducal Family has handled these matters in the past, so you never really know.

One thing is for sure though, Princess Tessy has been a real asset to the family and we hope that she continues to very much be a part of the family no matter what the future and the title question holds, much as it has been the case with Hélène Vestur.

Statement by Princess Tessy on Divorce

Princess Tessy apparently released a statement to some media today concerning her divorce from Prince Louis also announced by the cour grand-ducale. She said, "I am very sad to confirm that Louis and I are getting divorced after 12 years together. Despite our separation, we will always remain unified by parenthood to our two precious boys. It is extremely sad for both of us to realise that we will walk separate life paths from now on. In these challenging times, I ask for privacy for both of us and especially the privacy of our children to be respected. No further comment will be given at this stage."

Louis and Tessy To Divorce

"Their Royal Highnesses The Grand Duke and The Grand Duchess are regretting to announce the decision of Prince Louis and Princess Tessy to divorce", the cour grand-ducale just announced. The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess are asking everyone to respect the privacy of all involved in these sad times.

Prince Louis and Princess Tessy got married on September 29, 2006 and celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last year. The couple share two sons, Gabriel (* March 12, 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland) and Noah (*September 21, 2007 in Luxembourg). After initially being known as Tessy de Nassau after her wedding, the former Tessy Antony became a Princess of Luxembourg on national day 2009.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Princess' Right to the Throne

Princess Charlotte with her brothers, from left to right,
Prince Paul-Louis, Prince Jeand and Prince Léopold
(Photo: Guy Jallay / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu)
In 2010, Grand Duke Henri changed the law of succession to the Luxembourgish throne to make it gender neutral. The change was communicated around national day a year later in 2011. Those who have been around long enough in the royal watching community will remember that things were a bit messy back then: First, Princess Alexandra had succession rights, then she didn't, and then it turned out that she indeed had them after all. The question of another Luxembourgish princess was much less discussed around that time: Princess Charlotte of Nassau, only daughter of Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla.

Prince Guillaume is the only of the Grand Duke's siblings to possess succession rights to the Luxembourgish throne. Archduchess Marie-Astrid's and Princess Margaretha's rights have only ever been very theoretical to begin with: Prior to 2010, females in the Grand Ducal Family were never in the line of succession per se but only allowed to succeed if there was no male member of the family with succession rights left. This was the case for both Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide and Grand Duchess Charlotte. The fifth child of Grand Duke Jean, Prince Jean, renounced his rights to the Luxembourgish throne a few weeks after the birth of his daughter Marie-Gabrielle, who was born out of wedlock. As for the other two male-line members of the Grand Ducal Family: Prince Robert married without consent and at least can't pass on a right to the throne - it's debatable whether he still has them himself - and Princess Charlotte never really had them, similar to her cousins Marie-Astrid and Margaretha.

The décret grand-ducal of September 16, 2010, states the following:
We Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau

after inspection of the “Nassauischer Erbverein” of June 30, 1783, as well as changes and amendments, mainly by the family bylaw concerning the house law of May 5, 1907,

after the approval of the agnatic council

declare and command:

Art 1) The furthermore unchanged "Erneuerter Nassauischer Erbverein"  of June 30, 1783, is amended and supplemented as follows

a) Article 24, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 1 is replaced by the following

"1) The order of succession in every possible way, in which the right of the first born child without exception is to be respected,"

b) Article 24, Paragraph 2 and 3 become Paragraph 2 and are replaced by the following

"Regarding the order of succession (Paragraph 1), We felt called upon, in case of death or abdication of a reigning Grand Duke, not to limit the right to succeed to the throne to the male line, but to introduce primogeniture regardless of gender, to confirm and to substantiate, so that the inheritance of the throne will go and remain with the oldest child of a reigning Grand Duke. The order of succession will be applied for the first time to Our descendants."

c) Article 26 is replaced by the following
"If the head of the house dies without marital heirs of the blood, his siblings and their descendants inherit the throne and the Grand Ducal entail in order of the firstborn child, as long as they are in the line of succession. If the head of the house has no siblings, this is valid for his next-related house- or family members. "
There is also an additional Article, part of the bylaws concerning the House Law, giving female members of the Grand Ducal Family the right to vote in matters concerning the family council. However, the further Article (much like the one above) does not fail to mention, that it is first applied to "Our [Grand Duke Henri's] descendants". The changes were confirmed by the new version of the Nassauischer Erbverein, published in 2012. Only Article 24 is slightly reworded:
As far as it concerns the order of succession (Paragraph 1), the right to inherit the throne after the abdication or the death of a reigning Grand Duke has the first child, regardless of gender, of him. This order of succession is applied for the first time to Our descendants.
Once again, there is no fail of mention, that the changes apply for the first time to the descendants of Grand Duke Henri. Apart from the Grand Duke himself, there is only one other member of his generation passing on succession rights, his youngest brother Prince Guillaume. Prince Guillaume has three sons: Prince Paul-Louis, Prince Léopold and Prince Jean. However, he also has a daughter: Princess Charlotte. While his three sons have had the right to succeed to the Luxembourgish throne since their birth, his daughter Charlotte apparently still doesn't. (I say apparently as you never know with the cour grand-ducale, see the case of Princess Alexandra above. Plus, the cour has failed to answer the question thus far even after being asked repeatedly.)

I don't think anyone expected Grand Duke Henri's sisters to ever gain succession rights but why exclude Princess Charlotte? I doubt the young princess cares very much - after all she would only be tenth in line to the throne as of now with lots of cousins and brothers of child-having age ahead of her, which means that she would likely drop further down the line in years to come - but wouldn't have been as easy to apply the changes to the line of succession to all descendants to prince's house able to succeed to the throne?

Thinking this further, it actually means that we have two different succession rights in two different lines of the Grand Ducal Family. While the line of Grand Duke Henri practises absolute primogeniture (meaning that the first born child regardless of their gender is called upon to succeed to the throne), the line of Prince Guillaume practises a semi-salic law, which allows women to succeed only at the extinction of all the male descendants in the male line. In the future, this will also apply to further descendants of Prince Guillaume's line. Any grandsons in male-line will find their place in the order of succession (provided that their parents' marriage received the Grand Duke's written consent), while granddaughters will remain excluded. However unlikely and heaven forbid, but if Grand Duke Henri's line were to die out, Luxembourg would be back to the same old law of succession practised prior to 2010 giving no right whatsoever to women as long as a male relative is alive.

See our translations of the Family Pact (2012) and the bylaws concering the house law for further information on legal matters in the Grand Ducal Family.

Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Cancel Engagement Due to Health Reasons

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa cancelled an engagement on Thursday night due to health reasons. They were scheduled to attend an event for Luxembourgers and refugees to have a meal together organised by the city of Luxembourg together with the associations "Passerell" and "Reech eng Hand". Sounds like Their Royal Highnesses came down with a cold or something - here's wishing a speedy recovery to the couple!

Guillaume and Stéphanie To Travel to Dubai

On February 13, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie will head a Luxembourg for Finance delegation, led by the Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. They are scheduled to attend a seminar entitled "Luxembourg and UAE: Partners in Global Finance" organised in cooperation with the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Grand Duke Jean Meets German Chancellor Merkel

Photo: Cour grand-ducale
After the public photocall of the reception of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the palais grand-ducal was over yesterday, an additional member of the Grand Ducal Family met the German head of government: Grand Duke Jean. It's nice to see His Royal Highness back in action after suffering from ill health and subsequently being hospitalised over Christmas. A belated happy 96th birthday, Monseigneur!

Princely Family Hosts New Year's Reception

Photo: Information und Kommunikation der Regierung, Vaduz
Members of the Princely Family hosted not one but two New Year's reception for some 500 guests at Schloss Vaduz yesterday. Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie, as well as Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha first welcomed the diplomatic corps at the family's residence. They later also received members of parliament, the presiding members of government and justice, mayors of the municipalities, people who have princely titles (Princely Councillor, Princely Court Councillor, Princely Justice Councillor, Princely Education Councillor, Princely Commerce Councillor and Princely Spiritual Councillor) or were awarded the Order of Merit, the highest public officials, and representatives of associations and organisations, political parties and public life.

Princess Marie-Gabrielle Engaged to Antonius Willms

Photo: Valentin Dupont
Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Nassau, oldest child and only daughter of Prince Jean and his former wife Hélène Vestur, recently got engaged to her boyfriend Antonius Willms. The couple lives in Munich, Germany, and plans to get married in Spain. Marie-Gabrielle and her future husband attended the wedding of Princess Alix de Ligne and Count Guillaume de Dampierre together last year.
Princess Marie-Gabrielle was born on September 8, 1986, in Paris, France. Antonius Willms is the son of Hayo Willms and Countess Maria Theresia of Goess-Saurau. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on December 22, 1988.
Congratulations to the happy couple and their families!

Grand Ducal Couple Receive Angela Merkel

Charles Caratini
Yesterday, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa received German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Palais Grand-Ducal. Ms. Merkel was making a brief visit to Luxembourg on her way to Belgium.

The Chancellor also met with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and other members of the government. They held discussions on a wide array of topics including: border security, migrants, road tolls, Brexit and corporate taxation. The visit wrapped up with a luncheon at the Museum of Modern ARt Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM).

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Henri and Guillaume Attend New Year's Concert

Photo: Claude Piscitelli / Cour grand-ducale / monarchie.lu
On the evening of the 11th, Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume attended a performance from the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (OPL) under the direction of violinist Julian Rachlin. The event included pieces from a number of composers, including Rossini, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky, among others. The Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess are both patrons of OPL.

Information from the Cour.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Second New Year's Reception at Palais Grand-Ducal

Photo:ʩ2017Cour grand-ducale/Charles Caratini /tous droits réservés
On Wednesday the 11th, the members of the Grand Ducal Family held the second New Year's reception for 2017. This event welcomed the members of the Bureau du Conseil d'Etat and representatives of the Autorit√©s Nationales. After this, the Grand Ducal couple and the Hereditary Grand Ducal couple received the members of the Diplomatic Corps currently residing in Luxembourg and the representatives of European institutions, as well as members of the Grand Ducal House.

Any further photo links will be added when made available.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Henri Sends Letter of Condolence for Former German President

On the 10th, Grand Duke Henri sent a letter of condolence to the current German President Joachim Gauck at the passing of former President Roman Herzog. Herzog served as President from 1994 to 1999 and had previously served as a judge on the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and then later as president of the Court.

The text of the letter:

Sehr geehrter Herr Bundespräsident,

Gemeinsam mit der Gro√üherzogin m√∂chte ich Ihnen hiermit mein tief empfundenes Beileid anl√§sslich des Todes von Altpr√§sident Roman Herzog ausdr√ľcken.

Seinen Besuch in Luxemburg 1994 behalten wir in guter Erinnerung.

Wir m√∂chten Sie bitten, den Angeh√∂rigen in unseren Namen unser Mitgef√ľhl auszusprechen.

Großherzog von Luxemburg

And in translation: 

Mr President,

Together with the Grand Duchess, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences on the occasion of the death of former President Roman Herzog.

His visit to Luxembourg in 1994 we remember well.

We would like to ask you to express our compassion to the relatives in our name.

Grossherzog of Luxembourg

Grand Ducal Family Holds First New Year's Reception for 2017

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
On the 10th, members of the Grand Ducal family welcomed representatives from the Luxembourg government for the first of two New Year's receptions for 2017. (The second will occur on the 11th.) Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and Hereditary Grand Duchess St√©phanie were there to greet guests at the Palais grand-ducal.

Many great photos from Wort and the Cour website.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Henri Pays Tribute to Late President of Portugal

On Monday, Grand Duke Henri sent a letter of condolence to the President of Portugal, honoring the late President M√°rio Soares who died on January 7th. Soares was President of Portugal from 1986 to 1996 and had previously served as Prime Minister from 1976-1978 and then from 1983-1985.

Luxembourg has historically strong ties to Portugal, as evidenced by the letter sent from the Grand Duke to the President earlier this year. Additionally, Grand Duchess Maria Ana was born into the royal family of Portugal.

The text of the letter reads as follows:

Monsieur le Président,

La Grande-Duchesse et moi vous adressons nos plus sinc√®res condol√©ances √† l’occasion de la disparition de l’ancien Pr√©sident Monsieur Mario Soares.

En Monsieur Soares, nous rendons hommage √† une personnalit√© qui a marqu√© de son empreinte l’histoire de son pays, √† la fois comme homme d’√Čtat et comme fervent Europ√©en. Nous nous souvenons √©galement avec √©motion de l’ami engag√© du Luxembourg.

Nous vous serions tr√®s reconnaissants si vous vouliez bien vous faire l’interpr√®te aupr√®s de la famille de Monsieur Soares de toute notre compassion.

Grand-Duc de Luxembourg

In translation:

Mister President,

The Grand Duchess and I send you our deepest condolences on the occasion of the loss of former President Mario Soares.

In Mr Soares, we pay tribute to a personality who has left his mark on the history of his country, both as a statesman and as a fervent European. We also remember with emotion the committed friend of Luxembourg.

We would be very grateful if you would share with Mr. Soares' family all our compassion.

Grand-Duke of Luxembourg

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Luxarazzi 101: Marcin Lobacz (In His Own Words)

Princess Tessy in a gown by Marcin Lobacz on National Day 2016 (All pictures courtesy of Marcin Lobacz)
During the past year, Princess Tessy wore gowns and dresses by Marcin Lobacz for various occasions both in Luxembourg and abroad - and you obviously liked it voting her tiara appearance on National Day as your favourite gala appearance of the year by quite a margin. High time to have a closer look at Marcin Lobacz - and who better to tell us more about his creations and what inspires him than the London-based designer himself?! Enjoy our interview with the man behind the dresses and a major thank you to Marcin for taking the time for giving us such an interesting and inspirational insight into his work!

From her gown for the national day gala to the black dress she wore when meeting Pope Francis, you have created some of the best known looks of Princess Tessy in 2016. Can you tell us if you have a personal favourite among the dresses?

Marcin Lobacz with Princess Tessy in the ML Couture
Custom Peridot Catsuit Gown at the big opening
of the Royal Global Artistic Forum Exhibition
at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
Marcin Lobacz: My dresses are my babies, every single one is special to me in a different way, hence it is difficult to pick my personal favourite. However, the fact remains that the creation which made the greatest impact all over the world was the famous Couture Gown in Turquoise and Orange, Nassau Colours, worn by Princess Tessy at the gala of the Luxembourgish National Day and in celebration of her 10th wedding anniversary.
It took its starting point from the quote by Sir Cecil Beaton, one of the most celebrated British Portrait Photographers of the Twentieth Century, Diarist and Renaissance Man renowned for his love of elegance, glamour and style: "More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and azure."
It was also the dress spotted by His Excellency Shaikh Rashid Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who invited me to exhibit it during his Royal Global Artistic Forum at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre, which was the reason of my trip with Princess Tessy to attend the event in Dubai. The Gown was on display in "The significance of Court Dress" section of the exhibition next to the gown from The Dutch Royal Court.

How did you first meet Princess Tessy?
Princess Tessy and Prince Louis were the Guests of Honour at my Private Event in the heart of Mayfair; Couture Showroom Presentation „In Your Wildest Dreams” - the Fashion Journey through London, St. Tropez and Panama in The Clarendon Room at Brown’s Hotel in London, celebrating my namesday, the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours, on the 11th of November 2015.
The ML Couture Moonstone Gown from the Spring-Summer 2017 Couture Collection by Marcin Lobacz
Please talk us through the process of creating a dress for Princess Tessy, is she very involved or does she give you a carte blanche?

It varies depending on the circumstances, occasion and time frames, which are usually very tight and unpredictable. For instance, while I was designing the Custom Waterfall Cape Dress in Onyx Black especially for Princess Tessy to wear during a private audience of Luxembourg’s Royal Family with His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City or the Custom Emerald and Sapphire Chiffon Cocktail Dress for the meeting with Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace, formal requirements were my number one priority. I wanted both dresses to look very modest, subtle and understated; conservative and modern at the same time, which required an accumulative number of hours working on hand draping and real craftsmanship while finishing. In my opinion, elegant means appropriate for the occasion in the first place. I never reject my signature style though – a designer’s role is to work well to the brief and find methods to present his vision in the right way.
Princess Tessy in The ML Couture Custom Emerald
and Sapphire Cocktail Dress ready to meet
Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace
Coming back to the gown for the National Day, Princess Tessy hand-picked the style in one of her favourite colours from my Couture collection. Sophisticated, understated elegance of the look immediately attracted her attention as the ideal creation for the most important day in the Luxembourgish Royal Calendar. The outfit was bespoked especially for her, having been customized to meet personal requirements and preference regarding the shape of cleavage and the length.
Exquisite family jewellery was personally chosen by H.R.H. the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg to match my design and in accordance with Princess Tessy’s wish to put emphasis on the clean minimalistic line of the dress silhouette by juxtaposing it with more elaborate Art Nouveau tiara as well as Art Deco earrings and bracelet encrusted with precious stones reflecting the overall colour palette.
There are also situations, when ready styles from the collection work really well for the particular event without any amendments, which was the case when Princess Tessy wore my Moonstone Gown for the Diplomatic Black&White Charity Ball 2016, Amethyst Gown for the Big Dutch Masters Gala and Rhodochrosite Gown for the Prince’s Trust Gala Dinner with The Prince of Wales, all those styles come from my brand new Couture collection for Spring-Summer 2017.  

Where do you find the inspiration for your work? 

Marcin Lobacz with Sheikh Rashid Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa of Bahrain
at the big opening of the Royal Global Artistic Forum Exhibition
at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
I wouldn’t be able to live, nor create, without music. The world of sounds inspires thoughts, images of colors, texture and shapes, which can then become the starting point for my collection. Mother Nature is my real muse; flowers, animals, the sunset sky... all elements, even the scent or a simple gesture have the power to influence what I design to a great degree, provided the initial interest leads to some real emotion. There is nothing stronger than the truth and first-hand experience. Particular inspiration depends on the collection but it is always about women for whom I design and their dreams. I observe women and that is where my vision comes from- who they are, what perfume they wear, how they live, what they dream of… unveiling part of their mystery. I would like to accentuate a woman’s individual personality and make her feel as if she were born in my creations. Also the fabric that I decide to use might be an inspiration. One idea sparks the next. The process of creation should never be preconceived. I find it very important to remain open and let it go, let the research carry you through the journey, without trying too hard. In this way idea development is more thorough and the result remains fresh. Searching for inspiration is very parallel to music– I used to play the piano and now my material is like notes. If you are sensitive enough, able to read and listen, they tell you exactly how to play. Then it is just a matter of interpretation.

What was it that sparked your initial interest in fashion? And what made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I grew up in the Opera and Musical Theatre where my Mother performed as a Soprano and I was lucky to be surrounded by the magical world of wonderful classical music, fabulous costumes and the appreciation for Arts. I have always loved drawing and what I was illustrating, even as a child, revolved around women and what they wear. I think the Theatre was the best environment for my natural passion to grow. I chose it as a professional pathway very early and I started working in the fashion industry before my formal education in this area so everything happened the other way round. When I was still at the gymnasium, I decided to design and make a capsule collection, which was followed by my first catwalk show at the age of 15. Then I produced the next collection and at 17, my first clients appeared: The opera singers, who sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, The Royal Opera House in London and The Deutsche Oper in Berlin. I started my formal fashion education only after I had passed my Baccalaureate. I have always been fascinated by the old school techniques and the heritage of Haute Couture so I was taking relevant courses, which developed my pattern making, sewing as well as millinery skills, hence my background is very much in the field of Bespoke wardrobe. I moved to London in pursuit of my dream to study at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Simultaneously, I got the chance to broaden my experience at Julien Macdonald and Philip Treacy, with whom I had the pleasure to work on projects for Armani Prive, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy, both ready to wear and Haute Couture. I graduated in 2012 and decided to carry on developing my own label based in London.
Princess Tessy wearing the ML Couture Rhodochrosite Gown for the Prince’s Trust Gala Dinner in London
Can you describe your style in three words? 

Effortless Glamour and Elegance - those are my three core brand values. 

If you could have lunch with five fashion icons and/or designers of the past and present, who would you invite?

The Amethyst Gown from the new Spring-Summer 2017 Couture Collection
by Marcin Lobacz (worn by Princess Tessy for the Big Dutch Masters Gala)
Monsieur St Laurent has always been my Hero. No other designer contributed to the history of fashion so much. He gave women not only the greatest amount of key items in their wardrobe but also showed them how to use their power to compete with men on every possible level. He was a Genius and I could speak endlessly but words seem too shallow to reflect his great influence on me and my life. The legacy he left, speaks for itself and that is the biggest achievement of the Designer.
Coco Chanel is another Style Guru for whom I have never ending respect. There would be so many questions that her patience might be challenged! She was so brave and unapologetic, turned the world of fashion upside down with her effortless casual elegance, completely different to what was considered elegant back then. Such act requires charisma, determination, strength and personality.
I would certainly have many synergies to discuss with Madeleine Vionnet. “The Queen of bias-cut”, just like Chanel, moved away from stiff constructions towards much softer, dynamic look, moving with the wearer, so close to my own ideal of beauty. I use a lot of bias-cut in my dresses - a technique, which involves many secrets and requires years of experience to master so a lunch with such an expert Couturier would be invaluable.  
I have always admired Lee Alexander McQueen and he was one of the reasons why I decided to pursue my dream of studying at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. His sharp tailoring, innovative construction, dark aesthetic and fierce decadence still fascinate me. He was a real Artist.
Last but not least, Erte and his universe of exotic extravagance, appreciation for beauty of the human body, magical stage design and elegance of Art Deco illustrations, which next to Art Nouveau, is my favourite period in the history of Art. I love the sensitivity behind his work as well as its theatrical romantic mood, so dear to my heart because of my own background.

The new year is just around the corner: What are your (fashion) goals for 2017? 

Princess Tessy and Marcin Lobacz
shopping together to choose accessories
Designer’s mind never sleeps and is always full of new goals because future becomes past so quickly, especially in my profession. Although planning and being perfectly organized is essential in my work, I am also a great believer in organic development. I have my dreams but don’t plan too far ahead, because in fashion, as in life, everything can change overnight. It is much wiser to simply live, observe and learn, put the energy out there, remain active and open-minded without pushing any fixed scenarios. That is my view on existence in general and I follow the same beliefs in fashion. I am very appreciative of life and what is given to me. My intention is to give back as much as I can to the universe, becoming a new, stronger and better version of myself every day. Personal progress is very important to me and my goals are definitely related to developing my brand further. Haute Couture is my greatest passion and facing the reality, which becomes more and more commercial, I feel an increasing desire to revive real glamour and elegance. All my life is dedicated to dreams and I do my best to make them come true. I love surprises and taking on new challenges. They help us make discoveries about ourselves and others as well as understand who we and they are. Life is like a book and one cannot be stuck on one page; all chapters need to be read in order to get the full meaning of it. For the same reasons, fashion brands change faces of their campaigns or brand ambassadors. That’s what makes waiting for what the future brings so exciting...

Thank you for the interview, Marcin!

If you would like to learn more about Marcin Lobacz and his designs, make sure to visit his website and follow him on Facebook, Twitter (@MarcinLobacz) and Instagram (@marcinlobaczdesigner).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Luxarazzi 101: Dress Codes - Black Tie

We've discussed white tie dress code already. This time, we're going to take a look at the traditions around the dress code for black tie events.

For formal events, black tie is somewhat more informal than white tie, although the word "informal" is relative in this context. Black tie is also more common than white tie, with white tie events being fewer in number.

Additionally, the specifics of black tie dress code tend to be fewer in number than the specifics of white tie. But that doesn't mean the black tie dress code allows for anything that might be described as "casual."

What's the History of Black Tie Dress Code?

Grand Duke Henri in black tie for the concert
on the eve of the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria
of Sweden. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
To understand the current expectations for black tie dress code, let's first take a look at the history. Black tie is generally accepted to have started during the Victorian era, although like so many Victorian traditions of social etiquette it didn't evolve in specifics and expectations until the Edwardian era. Essentially, black tie was meant to be dinner dress. Our readers who are also fond of Edwardian and post-Edwardian period films will likely recall those scenes of a family at the large manor house sitting down to dinner, with the men in tuxedo jackets and the ladies in gowns. This would have been the standard for most evenings and no doubt presumes the availability of staff to help with "dressing for dinner." In one of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves stories, the irrepressibly idiotic Bertie Wooster has a conversation with one of his society friends who has retired from social events and embraced a bohemian lifestyle, in part because he cannot bear the thought of having to dress for dinner every night. 

Over time, black tie dress also become more common as the appropriate formal attire for any event at which white tie would have been too formal. As standards relaxed in post-war society, black tie also become the more standard form of evening dress, with white tie representing special occasions. 

So How Does Black Tie Dress Code Look?

For men, a white dress shirt goes underneath a dinner, or tuxedo, jacket. On a quick historical note, the term "tuxedo" referring primarily to the entire black tie outfit is American and gets its name from Tuxedo Valley, New York. Among the British, tuxedo generally refers to the jacket itself, in white, while a traditional black tie dinner jacket is more likely to be black. In either black or white, the jacket should have silk facings with a notched (or peaked) lapel. A waistcoat, or cummerbund, also goes underneath the jacket. The silk bow tie, of course, is black regardless of jacket color.

Cufflinks or shirt studs are always appropriate. Black tie dress code also requires black trousers with a silk or satin braid that runs down the side of each leg. Black stockings are worn with black court shoes, or Oxfords.

This website has a useful visual of standard black tie dress code for men.

Don't Forget the Ladies!

As with white tie dress code, the ladies have a much easier time of choosing their black tie attire. The general recommendation is "gown": but this might mean a standard gown, a cocktail dress, a little black dress (LBD), or even a formal jumpsuit of suitable material and style. Some ladies have adopted the traditional men's style and selected a tuxedo for themselves in black tie attire. For shoes, evening shoes are appropriate, so expect a more formal shoe in silk, satin, or sparkles.

What About "Creative Black Tie?"

Well, it's unlikely you'll see this at too many black tie royal events, but the idea of a more personal style in black tie attire has made its way into certain (read: celebrity) arenas. For creative black tie, the wearer might choose a bow tie in a color other than black or a shirt in black instead of white. The idea is to embrace unconventional pieces within traditional black tie dress code. The majority of royal black tie events would be unlikely to feature many creative black tie stylings, but there's always the opportunity for the unexpected sighting.

We'll keep an eye out.