Friday, August 9, 2019

We Are On A Break

Dear readers, times flies when you are having fun - but as Luxarazzi is turning ten this year, we have decided to take an extended hiatus. It wasn't an easy decision for us as it has been an amazing ride this past decade and along the way, we - the people behind Luxarazzi - became good friends wherever around the globe we live(d). However, ten years also mean a lot of changes in our offline lives: New jobs, new towns, new babies, new responsibilities, new passions. Balancing it all and the running of a royal blog can be tough sometimes and being realistic, we decided it is best to take a break for now. 

Thank your for all your support and loyalty throughout the years! 

Luxarazzi 101: Prince Consort Felix - Later Years

For the first three parts of our biography series about Prince Felix, 
please have a look here, here and here.


It was clear to Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix the minute they returned to Luxembourg after the end of World War II that much work needed to be done to heal the Grand Duchy and its people following the war. The first few years meant nearly endless touring of the country, meeting with inhabitants who needed help, and commemorating those who had lost their lands, loved ones, and lives in the devastation.

Felix (far left) at the 1945 Metz liberation vigil
Felix and his family had experienced some of that pain in that they temporarily lost their home. Château de Berg was commandeered by the Nazi occupiers who refurbished it into a girls' school. The home was not suited to house the Grand Ducal Family until extensive renovations had been completed, so for several years Felix, Charlotte and the children lived at Château de Fischbach. While that property had also been used (and looted) by the Germans, its floor plan had not been altered significantly and was thus inhabitable.

Charlotte and Felix concentrated their activities on ceremonies honoring the war experience in Luxembourg, as well as repairing the resulting war damage. One of his chief duties during this time was to assist in the repatriation of deportees, survivors of concentration camps, and other Luxembourg citizens displaced by the war. In late 1945, Felix attended a vigil marking the liberation of Metz as well as the funeral of American General George S. Patton in Luxembourg City. Felix was also a regular attendee at the annual Memorial Day service in Hamm, Luxembourg, honoring American servicemen who lost their lives during the war.

The Prince Consort also received several honors for his own service during the war and its aftermath.  Felix was granted the French Croix de Guerre by General Marie-Pierre Koenig and the Silver Star Medal and Legion of Merit Award from the US Armed forces in 1945. The following year Felix was created a Knight of the British Empire by King George VI of the United Kingdom. He later received the Luxembourg War Memorial Cross in 1949. In 1950, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Military Order of Avis in Portugal, and became a Knight of the Order of Seraphim in Sweden in 1951. Felix was granted the American Legion Gold Medal in 1957 and the Badge of Honor from the National Society of Belgian War Crosses a year later.

During these years Prince Felix also began to resume some of his pre-war service within the Grand Duchy. He served as Commander-in-Chief and Inspector General of the Luxembourg Army from 1945 to 1967. Felix also resumed his position as head of the Luxembourg Red Cross in 1947, a position he held until 1969.

In the last years of the 1940s and into the 1950s, Felix and his family settled into a more peaceful life. Felix and Prince Jean participated in a hunt in the Netherlands hosted by Prince Bernhard in December 1948. In January 1949, Felix helped to organize a series of celebrations honoring the thirtieth anniversary of Charlotte's reign. Felix also received much of the art stolen from Villa Pianore during the war this year after it was recovered from Dornsberg Castle.

Felix and his grandchildren, circa 1962
Meanwhile, Felix's children were growing up - and falling in love. Youngest child Alix was the first to marry in 1950, followed by Marie-Gabrielle (1951), Hereditary Grand Duke Jean (1953), Elisabeth (1956), and Marie-Adelaide (1958). (Prince Charles married a few years later, in 1967.) By 1968, Felix's children had made him a grandfather 27 times over.

As Felix's children were now adults, he began the process of taking a less active role in the direct management within the Grand Duchy. Felix resigned his seat on the Council of State to be filled by Hereditary Grand Duke Jean in 1951. However, the Prince Consort still kept up a very busy calendar of official and personal events. Felix dined with General Dwight D. Eisenhower during a visit to Luxembourg in January 1951. Felix and Charlotte attended the funeral of King George VI in London in 1952, as well as that of George's mother Queen Mary the following year. The couple also paid a state visit to the Netherlands in 1956. The Prince Consort was present with Charlotte at the dedication of the American Military Cemetery at Luxembourg on July 4, 1960, and the two visited France and dined with President Charles de Gaulle in February 1961.

But this relatively busy and peaceful time was marked with personal tragedy for the Prince Consort. Felix's disabled elder brother Giuseppe died in 1950, with Felix at his side. His youngest brother Gaetano died in 1958. The year 1959 was a particularly difficult one for Felix, as four members of his family died within the first six months. His elder sister Maria Teresa died in January, followed by sister Marie Adelaide the following month. Felix's mother died at Château de Berg in May of 1959 at the age of 96. Maria Antonia had lived in Luxembourg with her son's family since the end of World War II. Felix's brother Elias died just over a month later in June. Elias had long served first as head of the Bourbon-Parma family on behalf of two disabled brothers (Enrico and Giuseppe) and in his own right from 1950-59.

Felix with Charlotte, c. 1963
Charlotte abdicated the grand ducal throne on November 12, 1964, in favor of Hereditary Grand Duke Jean. She had ruled Luxembourg for over 45 years, with Felix serving as her consort for all but a few months of that reign. The couple continued to live at Château de Fischbach, which had been their home since 1945. They were joined there by Princess Elisabeth and her daughters Anita and Sophie, and later by Prince Charles, Princess Joan, and their children Charlotte and Robert. Charlotte and Felix celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1969 among their many children and grandchildren. The two received the Cross of the Order of Resistance to commemorate the event.

Felix died on April 8, 1970, at Château de Fischbach after several months of increasingly ill health. His remains lay in state for three days at the Grand Ducal Palace. Felix's military funeral on April 11 was attended by several members of European royalty and heads of state.

Fourteen years after the Prince Consort's death, his great-grandson, the second child of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, was named Félix in his honor. The following year, in 1985, Grand Duchess Charlotte died of cancer at the age of 89. She is buried beside her husband in the crypt at Notre-Dame Cathedral.