Friday, August 31, 2018

Grand Ducal Family To Attend Mass for King Baudouin

Several members of the Grand Ducal Family will be in Brussels on September 8 to attend a thanksgiving mass celebrated in honour of King Baudouin of the Belgians, who died 25 years ago. The King was the brother of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and thus an uncle of the Grand Duke. Grand Duke Henri himself and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Prince Louis, Archduchess Marie-Astrid and Archduke Carl-Christian, Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus as well as their three children Princess Anunciata, Princess Astrid and Prince Josef, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla with their children Prince Paul-Louis, Prince Léopold and Princess Charlotte will be in attendance according to the Belgian Royal Court.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

U.S. Congressional Staffers Visit Liechtenstein.

Photo: IKR
This week, a group of U.S. congressional staff is on a visit to Liechtenstein to learn about the Principality and its people. Among a bunch of other things, the employees of the United States Congress were received by Hereditary Prince Alois at Schloss Vaduz.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Luxarazzi 101: Prince Consort Felix - Family and Interwar Years

For the first part of our biography series on Prince Felix, have a look here.


After returning from their honeymoon that took them to Egypt, among others, Grand Duchess Charlotte, grandmother of the current Grand Duke, and her husband Prince Felix faced a difficult time back in Luxembourg. Although the monarchy had been preserved following the outcome of the 1919 Referendum, both Charlotte and Felix knew that the events of the First World War had considerably soured the public's perception of the institution. They knew that meddling in politics had led to the downfall of Charlotte's sister Marie-Adélaïde, so therefore any further interference should be avoided at all costs. As a result, the couple wished to prove themselves to the Luxembourgish people as a dedicated team devoted to improving life within the Grand Duchy.
Charlotte (far left) and Felix (far right) with Albert I and Elisabeth of the Belgians
in 1930 during a Belgian state visit to Luxembourg
Male consorts were still a rarity among European royalty during the early years of Felix's marriage. The only other male consort at the time was Hendrik of Mecklenberg-Schwerin, the husband of Dutch Queen Wilhelmina; the fact that he was given insufficient income and few duties had caused significant trouble within the marriage. Though his life as a consort and second fiddle was not without struggle, Felix was determined to serve his new country to the best of his abilities, despite the fact that the role was not as well-defined for a man as all of his predecessors within the family and Luxembourg in general had been women.  He is often considered the most important and trusted advisor of his wife who was the one guiding family life and decisions.

Felix and Charlotte visiting the Aero-Club in 1922
Fitting of his military past, Felix became colonel at the head of the Luxembourg Volunteer Army, one of two branches of the armed forces (the other one being the police), starting in 1920. Their first engagement after returning from honeymoon had actually led Charlotte and Felix to visit the volunteer troops on December 19, 1919. The command was largely ceremonial, as the day-to-day operations were under the control of Captain Emile Speller. Felix also divided his time among various charitable pursuits, such as serving the first of two terms as the president of the Luxembourg Red Cross from 1923 to 1932.

The year 1920 was a crucial one for Luxembourg: On January 15, the first British ambassador after the war was sent to the Grand Duchy to present his credentials to the Grand Duchess with French and Belgian ambassadors to follow soon thus strengthening the country and Charlotte's rule. Charlotte and Felix also met with French President Raymond Poincaré in Thionville in February. In December, Luxembourg became part of the League of Nations though it meant that Charlotte and Felix had to somewhat distance themselves from the German or married-to-Germans parts of their family.

In 1922 Felix served as the official "guardian" of five members of the former Emperor Karl of Austria's suite who settled temporarily in the Grand Duchy on their way to Spain from exile in Madeira. The presence of the contingency in Luxembourg was deeply unpopular with the people as it was feared that it would incite violence in the country. 
Charlotte and Felix with their children in the early 1930s 
In the meantime, the Grand Ducal Family was growing rapidly, ensuring the succession and continuation of the dynasty. In the morning hours of January 6, 100 canon shots announced the birth of the first first child of the couple, the future Grand Duke Jean, at around 11pm the night before. The birth of an heir to the throne evoked a new patriotic pride in the Grand Duchy that had been missing for almost a decade or so. Four daughters and another son were born between 1922 and 1929:

- Princess Elisabeth (1922-2011)
- Prince Charles (1927-1977)
- Princess Alix (1929-)

Prince Felix in 1937 during a hunt in Grünewald Forest
A long-standing urban legend exists stating that Felix lost ownership of a large portion of the central Luxembourg’s Grünewald Forest in 1934 through a poorly-placed casino bet. The story is certainly apocryphal as the forest was actually sold by Grand Duchess Charlotte to the government to help pay family expenses, which were severely strained due to the ongoing Great Depression. Château de Berg, which the Grand Ducal Family had personally owned up until this point, was also part of this transaction. The castle remains the official residence of the Grand Duke (or Grand Duchess) to this day.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Felix served as the official representative of the Grand Duchy at a number of royal events in Europe. Along with Charlotte, Felix attended the wedding of the future Leopold III of Belgium and Astrid of Sweden in 1926. (Leopold and Astrid's daughter Josephine Charlotte would marry Felix and Charlotte's son Jean in 1953.) Felix served as an official representative of Luxembourg at the funeral of British King George V in 1936, as well as an attendee at the coronation of George VI later that same year. 

Felix gradually became more involved in the government as a member of the Council of State at the beginning of 1937. The following year, a conference on military medicine and pharmacy was held in Luxembourg City. The conference was formed as a means of exploring the growing threat of conflict in Europe and treatment of resulted wounded. One idea discussed was that of turning the Grand Duchy into a neutral area devoted strictly to the treatment of all wounded and ill military personnel. Prince Felix became the head of a committee dedicated to determining the feasibility of this proposal. Felix saw this idea as a possible means of maintaining Luxembourg's neutrality should war begin in Europe. As history tells us, however, the idea never came into fruition - we will delve deeper into how Luxembourg and especially Prince Felix fared during the Second World War in the next part of this series.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Alois Meets President of UN General Assembly

Photo: IKR
Yesterday, the President of the United Nations General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák was on a visit to Liechtenstein. His agenda for the day included a meeting with Hereditary Prince Alois at Schloss Vaduz. Mr. Lajčák also currently serves as the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Henri Expresses Condolences for Passing of Kofi Annan

Grand Duke Henri sent the following message to express sympathy following the August 18th passing of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

The Grand Duchess and I express our deepest condolences to you and your organization for the loss of the esteemed former UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan.

His brilliant career and his unwavering commitment to human rights and multilateralism will remain an inspiration for all those who fight for a better world.

Please accept our deepest sympathies.

Grand-Duke of Luxembourg

Luxembourg, 21 August 2018

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Imre and Kathleen Visit Ireland With Their Daughters

Photo: Edward
Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen as well as their daughters Maria-Stella and Magdalena were in the Irish town of Galway this week to participate in an event honouring Blessed Emperor Karl and Empress Zita, Imre's great-grandparents, which also kicked off the World Meeting of Families. Luxarazzi readers Edward and Viktorija were both in Galway for the event and kindly shared their photos with us - thank you very much!
Photos: Edward

The event also included a presentation by Archduke Imre, nephew of Grand Duke Henri, about his ancestors. Edward tells us, "Imre's talk was about his great-grandfather, with a focus on the family life of Karl I and Zita as the event was kicking off the World Meeting of Families. He only had 30 minutes and I really wish he had more time as the talk was very interesting with lots of visuals. He  also spoke about how how he and Kathleen met, which was at Feast Day mass for his great grandfather in Washington, D.C."
Photos: Viktorija

He continues, "Imre brought a 1st Class relic of Emperor Karl I, which was a piece of bone. After evening prayers everyone had the chance to venerate the relic. There was a nice elderly lady with  a lifelong interest in the House of Habsburg who brought a scrapbook of photos. Imre and Kathleen both signed it for her - and people were invited to look through the book and ask the lady questions about the family. The Cathedral was packed and Imre and Kathleen talked with everyone. Almost 10 minutes with me and my friend alone - very kind!"
Photo: Edward
In advance to the event in Galway, Archduke Imre also gave an interview about his ancestors. Speaking to attendants of the mess, Archduchess Kathleen also revealed that her third child is due around October 12 of this year.
Photos: Edward (left), Viktorija (right)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Alois Presents Orders to Former President of Caritas

Photo: Tatjana Schnalzger / Vaterland /
On the 21st, Hereditary Prince Alois welcomed Marina Kieber, formerly the President of the organization Caritas Liechtenstein, to Schloss Vaduz. There he presented her with the order Komturkreuz (Commander's Cross), in recognition of her work with Caritas for 27 years.

Information and photo from Vaterland.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Archduke Imre Talks Family Legacy

Photo: Galway Advertiser
In an interview with Galway Advertiser, Archduke Imre has spoken of the legacy of the Habsburg family saying, "We are very lucky to be able to be incognito when we walk in the street; that is a great advantage nowadays that the family can have a private life. Then again, people often ask what the family might think on certain issues, and we always have to be ready to have an opinion, and also to lead by example, to work hard and what we do, to do well. We feel no nostalgia for the imperial era, not because it was a burden, but our family tries to look forward and continues to serve however we can." The full interview and a few more lovely pictures are available here.

Archduke Imre, the nephew of the Grand Duke and oldest son of Archduchess Marie-Astrid, and his wife Kathleen are to visit Galway in Ireland later this month to participate in a ceremony at Galway Cathedral honouring his great-grandfather, Blessed Karl of Austria, who, as Karl I, was the last Emperor of Austria-Hungary.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Prince Alexander and Princess Astrid in Berlin

Photo: AEDT
Some rare news... Back in June, Prince Alexander, oldest son of Prince Philipp of Liechtenstein, and his wife Princess Astrid were among the guests at the International Council Museum Berggruen Dinner at the Great Orangery of Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin. The Museum Berggruen is a collection of modern art classics featuring works by Klee, Picasso and Matisse.

National Day Celebrations Continued (Plus Photos and Videos)

Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
While the rest of the (Catholic) world observed the Feast of Assumption of the Virgin Mary today, the Principality of Liechtenstein celebrated their National Day. After the state ceremony and reception this morning, the traditional fair was held in the afternoon and evening in Vaduz with members of the Princely Family in attendance. At least Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie mingled with the people with the Hereditary Prince also giving an interview. The usual fireworks were cancelled this year in favour of a new laser show with projections onto Schloss Vaduz due to the current weather conditions.
Photos: Tatjana Schnalzger / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
In not totally unrelated news (as we only see them about once a year): Prince Nikolaus is looking all grown up, allowed to drink beer and now officially taller than big bro Prince Wenzel. Time flies (and yes, I do sound like my own grandma)!
Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Also spotted in Vaduz today: An almost Habsburg. Severin Meister, son of Archduchess Gabriela of Austria and grandson of Otto von Habsburg, the last Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, chatted to Hereditary Princess Sophie.
Photo: Daniel Schwendener / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.l
Plentiful galleries of pictures of this morning are available at both Vaterland and Volksblatt. Volksblatt also has a lengthy video interview with Prince Hans-Adam II. 1 FL TV has a video of Hereditary Prince Alois' full speech during the state ceremony as well as a news broadcast including interviews with Prince Hans-Adam and Hereditary Prince Alois. More videos (and probably pictures) to come in the coming days. Photos of the fair - though very little of the royals - meanwhile are available at Vaterland.

Liechtenstein Celebrates National Day

Photos: Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
It's that time of the year again! The Princely Family is back from their annual summer break in time to celebrate the Principality's National Day. As always, pictures of the day are slightly hard to come by but we will do our best with further updates to come during the course of the week as it usually takes a while for all websites to be updated. 
As is tradition, the National Day celebrations kicked off with the state ceremony on the castle meadow next to Schloss Vaduz. Thus far we could spy that the Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie as well as their sons Princes Wenzel and Nikolaus were in attendance for the day. During the course of the act of state, both the president of the parliament as well as the Hereditary Prince, who is his father's regent, held speeches.

After the official celebrations are over, the Prince and Princess traditionally invite the people of Liechtenstein, and everyone else who wants to join them, into the rose gardens of Schloss Vaduz. For the second year in a row, tickets for the event were supplied in advance to limit access to the garden with the reason being that the reception had been so crowded during recent years that regular Liechtensteiners hardly had a chance to speak to their Fürst and his family due to many foreigners also trying to meet the royals. Our special correspondent Arjan was very lucky that he went to Liechtenstein two years ago and so you can read his full report here.

For the time being, a few more visuals are available at Vaterland.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Grand Ducal Couple Welcome French Presidential Couple

On the evening of the 12th, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa welcomed French President Emmanuel and his wife Brigitte for dinner at their vacation property near Fort de Brégançon. This follows a tradition dating from 1945, in which the French head of state dines with neighbors (so to speak) -- heads of state from nearby nations and other dignitaries -- while staying at Fort de Brégançon.

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were first received by the French Presidential couple, after which they made their way to Tour Sarrazine. The two couples apparently traveled by electric vehicles, a reflection of the Grand Duke's focus on the environment.

More information at Europe 1.

Update: Pictures are now available on the website of the cour.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New Pictures: The Grand Ducal Family on Holiday

Photos: Cour grand-ducale / Cyril Moreau / Bestimage
The cour grand-ducal has released a few pictures of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Grand Duke Jean, Prince Jean, his daughter Princess Marie-Gabrielle, her husband Antonius Willms and their son Zeno on holiday in Cabasson. What a lovely surprise to bring us over the summer break, let's hope for some additional pictures of more extended family members in the weeks to come!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Luxarazzi 101: Prince Consort Felix - Early Years

He was the longest serving consort of Luxembourg, as well as the first and only person who has married a reigning monarch of the Grand Duchy. Today we begin the first in a four-part series about the Luxembourg's first - and to this date only - male consort, Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

Bourbon-Parma family c. 1894
Felix is the baby in the center of the photo
Felix was born on September 28, 1893, in Schwarzau am Steinfeld, Austria, near the border of what is today the Czech Republic. He was the sixth child of Robert, the deposed Duke of Parma, by his second wife Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal. Robert claimed descent from both the French and Italian royal families. The couple had a total of twelve children in addition to the twelve Robert had with his first wife Maria Pia, an Italian princess. The large family made their home at a string of various properties in Austria, France, and Italy. Though his father considered the family first and foremost French, Felix and his siblings grew up speaking Italian, French, Portuguese, English, German, and Spanish, a reflection of their mixed lineage and cosmopolitan upbringing. 

Felix as a soldier during
the First World War
Felix was born into a family notable not only for its size, but also its wealth – Robert was able to retain a great deal of his capital and properties despite the loss of his ducal throne. The family moved among the various homes via a personal train with sixteen coaches carrying their belongings. Several of Felix’s half-siblings were born with mental disabilities, which later caused legal battles among his siblings over the control of power and money within the family. 

The sibling closest in age to Felix was Zita, who later became the last Austrian Empress. Among his other siblings and half-siblings were Maria Luisa, princess consort of Bulgaria; Xavier, Carlist pretender to the Spanish throne; and Sixtus, the engineer of a failed attempt at peace negotiations during World War I. Felix also descended from the Portuguese royal family through his mother. Maria Antonia was the sister of Maria Ana, the consort of Grand Duke Wilhelm IV of Luxembourg. This gave Felix and his siblings many cousins, including Wilhelm’s six daughters. Duke Robert died in November 1907, shortly after Felix’s fourteenth birthday.

Felix was educated together with his siblings at home by various private tutors. At the age of ten, he was sent to Stella Matutina, a Jesuit school in Feldkirch. He continued his education in Brixen (Tyrol) where he lived with the Countess Kinsky, at a Jesuit school in Vienna before receiving his Matura certificate at a school in Mödling, Lower Austria. Afterwards, Felix was sent to England where he attended Stonyhurst College to prepare for his future university studies. Felix intended to attend Oxford University but during his summer holidays in Austria, World War I broke out.

Prince Felix in 1917
Felix then attended the Viennese Military Academy before enlisting in the Austrian Army as "Felix Bourbon" with his brother René at the outbreak of the war. He served as an officer in the Austrian 15th Dragoons, seeing combat mostly in Italy. The war divided the family, as at least two of Felix’s brothers served in the Belgian Army. From the outset of the war, Felix stated that while he had no fears of combat he would not fight against the French, whom he considered his countrymen. 

Felix was noted by his fellow soldiers for his competent command and brave service, earning both the Medal for Bravery and the Iron Cross. In 1918, he saved the Austrian Emperor (Karl, his brother-in-law) from drowning after Karl's boat capsized in the fast-moving Isonzo river. While several man drowned, Felix held the Emperor's head above the water so both could be pulled back to safety. While receiving a medal for his bravery, he did not like discussing the incident for the rest of life considering it his natural duty. Felix officially left the Austrian Army on November 5, 1918, shortly before the signing of the Armistice ending the war.

Despite the great wealth of the Bourbon-Parma family, Felix’s personal holdings were quite modest. This was due to the fact that Robert’s fortune went mostly to his disabled eldest son Enrico, but was controlled by Felix’s half-brother Elias. As a younger son, Felix had little inheritance or political power, forcing him to make his way through life by his own means. 

Felix and Charlotte
at the time of their engagement
Felix had long been close to his cousin Charlotte, of whom he was two years older. The exact circumstances of courtship and date of the actual engagement between Charlotte and Felix are unclear. The union may have been at least partially engineered by the bride's mother Maria Ana; the engagement of Charlotte's sister Antonia to the much older Rupprecht of Bavaria was deeply unpopular with the French due to the war. Although Felix fought with the Axis powers during the war, he had significant and direct ties to French royalty as well. His refusal to fight against French troops may also have helped appease Luxembourgish and French anger toward the marriage. During the war, Prince Felix had made headlines in Luxembourg after a leaked telegram mentioned him as one of the first Austrian to enter the city during the Siege of Przemyśl, the longest siege of World War I. Prince Felix, however, was nowhere near Przemyśl during the time.

There is plenty of indication that Charlotte and Felix also married for love. The two were rumored to have become much closer following the wedding of Felix’s sister Zita and future Emperor Karl of Austria in 1911. The couple may have become engaged during the war, but kept this news quiet due to Felix’s position in the Austrian Army and the German occupation of Luxembourg. Multiple news sources of the time note the engagement as early as 1915. The couple got officially engaged on October 6, 1918, though only their families knew at the time. Pope Benedict XV provided a dispensation in December 1918 allowing the couple to marry. This was necessary as Felix and Charlotte were first cousins.

Following the engagement announcement, Charlotte issued a statement insisting that the marriage was indeed a love match. She made it clear that she was not forced into the engagement by anyone, and that she was interested in marrying only Felix. Felix is noted as requesting permission from the Allied occupiers to visit Charlotte in Luxembourg as early as January 1919. He again requested permission in August 1919, yet he was not allowed to travel to the Grand Duchy until mid October. 

The wedding was formally announced on October 30, 1919, and set to take place at Château de Berg out of concern for possible protests of the marriage based on Felix's war service. However, the couple was persuaded to marry in Luxembourg City instead in hopes of raising the spirits of the people with a grand celebration. The wedding ceremonies marked the first time a reigning sovereign had married within the Grand Duchy and the first large celebration held in the country since the end of the war.

Felix officially became a Prince of Luxembourg on November 5, 1919, as a result of a grand ducal decree secured by a vote within the Chamber of Deputies after some debate. The next morning the civil ceremony was held at the Grand Ducal Palace with Luxembourg City Mayor Jean-Pierre Lucas (Luc) Housse presiding. As was typical for a civil ceremony, the gathering was small, simple, and attended only by a limited group of the couple's immediate family and a few government officials.

The religious wedding was conducted later that day at Notre Dame Cathedral by Monsignor Sebastiano Nicotra, the Papal Nuncio to Luxembourg. Felix's brothers Sixtus and Xavier stood as witnesses to the wedding. While a large crowd of spectators was present outside the cathedral, there were reportedly few cheers when the couple emerged from the cathedral. The occupation of the Grand Duchy by Axis powers during the war clearly still stung in the hearts and minds of the people. Thankfully however, the day did not end on a sour note: during the reception at the Grand Ducal Palace, Felix and Charlotte were called to the balcony several times that evening to greet well-wishers.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Guillaume and Stéphanie Attend Mudam Party

Photo: Thierry Martin / Revue /
The Hereditary Grand Ducal couple attended an end-of-season party for Mudam to reflect on the season's exhibits and also focus forward on upcoming projects. The event was hosted by Mudam director Suzanne Cotter, along with the Board of Directors and other members of the Mudam team. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie was in attendance in her role as President of the Board of Directors.

Information from Revue.