Sunday, June 23, 2019

National Day Weekend in Luxembourg

The Grand Ducal Family was busy this weekend celebrating Luxembourg's National Day. As every year, while the official holiday and celebrations took place today (Sunday), the celebrations already kicked off yesterday with the traditional visit to Esch-sur-Alzette by the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess, a visit to Château de Bourscheid by the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess as well as the torchlight parade.

Visit to Esch-sur-Alzette

Photo: Guy Wolff / Luxemburger Wort /
At around 5pm yesterday, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were greeted at the Place de la Résistance in Esch-Sur-Alzette by the town's officials. After the laying of a wreath of flowers at the war memorial, they made their way to the city centre of Esch. In front of the town hall the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess watched a parade of the associations and clubs of Esch-sur-Alzette. After a short reception hosted in the honour of the royal guests at the town hall and an appearance on the balcony, the Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple made their way to the Escher Volleksfest, a public fair celebrating National Day, where they mingled with the people and lit a fire together with young scouts. More pictures and videos at Wort and RTL.

Château de Bourscheid

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort /
Meanwhile, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa paid a visit to the newly renovated Château de Bourscheid. After learning about the castle and its almost 1000-year-long history, the couple mingled with the people and took part in a celebratory ceremony that saw emergency and rescue services rewarded for their duties. The also paid a visit to House Stolzemburg, which is part of the castle. More pictures and videos at Wort and RTL.

Torchlight Parade

Photo: Luxemburger Wort /
Then the two grand ducal duos reunited and was joined by another few family members, namely Prince Félix, Prince Louis, Princess Alexandra and Prince Sébastien, for the traditional torchlight parade and fireworks on the eve of the Grand Duke's official birthday. The torchlight parade features firefighters, scouts and basically everyone who is old enough to hold it carrying (surprise, surprise) torches. In addition there are folklore and musical groups and associations performing. The torchlight procession is part of the street festival taking place in the city on the day prior to the National Day. The pre-celebrations were rounded off by a fireworks display watched by the Grand Ducal Family from the balcony of the Place de la Constitution. More pictures and videos at Wort and RTL.

Official Ceremony

Photo: Sophie Margue / Cour grand-ducale
This morning, the long day of festivities for National Day started with practically almost already traditional official ceremony. First introduced in 2013, the secular ceremony took place at the Salle de concerts Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte of the Philharmonie Luxembourg this year. Just like last night, the Grand Ducal Family was out in quite a force to mark the occasion only missing Princess Claire. As part of the ceremony, the Grand Duke, President of Parliament Fernand Etgen and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gave speeches and presented honorary awards to deserving Luxembourgers, including two Luxembourgish soldiers killed earlier this year during an explosion of a WWII bomb presented to their families. More pictures and videos at Wort and RTL.

Military Parade

Photo: Guy Wolff / Luxemburger Wort /
Next up on the day's agenda was the military parade which took place in the Avenue Kennedy this year. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie and, for the second time now, Prince Sébastien, were on hand to witness the occasion. Apart from Luxembourg's armed forces, the parade also included police personnel and members of the rescue services.

Te Deum

The Grand Ducal Family then continued to celebrate National Day by attending the Te Deum mass at the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Luxembourg this afternoon. The Te Deum used to be the focal point of the National Day festivities but was replaced by a secular ceremony a few years ago. It's still held but in slightly smaller fashion in the afternoon. As it has been for a while now, the Te Deum was an interreligious one, concelebrated by the Catholic Archbishop of Luxembourg, the chief rabbi of Luxembourg and the imam of the Muslim community. The Te Deum just ended a few minutes ago so no pictures as of yet.

What's left? The National Day Gala of course! We will have a separate post hopefully full of glittering tiaras, wonderful gowns and dashing gentlemen later today, so stay tuned!

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