These are answers to common questions related to the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg and the Princely Family of Liechtenstein.

Please try and keep in mind that neither the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg nor the Principality of Liechtenstein are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, Denmark, Spain, etc, etc... Do not try to apply the customs or laws of any other nation to either Luxembourg or Liechtenstein. It causes much confusion and spreads inaccurate information when "experts" write blog entries, forum posts and even books with "facts" about the Liechtenstein and Luxembourgish monarchies based on the traditions of other nations. This creates a royal version of broscience.

We here at Luxarazzi hate royal related broscience and strive to correct false knowledge that is rampant online and in print. If the answer is here, you can rest easy with the knowledge that all of these facts have been checked and checked again. When we say we've checked a fact, we don't mean we ran over to another blog, bought a book by a self proclaimed expert or checked Wikipedia. When we say we've checked a fact, we mean we've dug up the relevant decree or law and in some cases contacted the Cour Grand-Ducale or the Fürstenhaus directly.


1. Does the Grand Ducal Family have a surname?

Yes, all members of the family have the surname 'de Nassau' or 'zu Nassau'. This is their legal surname.

On September 21, 1995 Grand Duke Jean issued an Arrêté grand-ducal (Grand Ducal Decree) that reorganized the styles, titles and surname of his entire house. Articles 1-3 of this decree make it very clear that every member of the family would have the surname 'Nassau' in addition to specific titles.

On February 3, 2006 Grand Duke Henri issued a new decree that modified the decree of September 21, 1995. The only change was that the surname 'Nassau' was henceforth replaced by the name 'de Nassau'. No other change was made any other part of the previous decree.

In June 2012 the Nassau Family Pact was updated creating a revised House Law. It reaffirms that all male line members of the Grand Ducal Family and Grand Ducal House have the surname 'de Nassau' or alternately 'zu Nassau'.

Additionally, all first line descendants have the surname 'de Nassau'/'zu Nassau' without regard to gender. With the new gender neutral succession this means that the children born to a reigning Grand Duchess or a female heiress apparent, as first line descendants, will have the surname of 'de Nassau'/'zu Nassau'. For example, if The Hereditary Grand Duke's first child is female, her children will have the surname 'de Nassau'/'zu Nassau' not the surname of their father. The children of all other female members of the family have the surname of their father (e.g., 'von und zu Liechtenstein', 'de Habsbourg-Lorraine', 'de Ligne', ...).

2. What titles did Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy acquire when she married HRH Prince Guillaume, The Hereditary Grand Duke?

Prior to the changes made to the family bylaws concerning the house law published via the Arrêté grand-ducal of June 18, 2012, the titles Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess were not automatically obtained by the heir apparent or their spouse. A decree was required to give an heir or heiress apparent the title. The title was not granted at birth. A separate decree was required to allow their spouse to use the feminine version of the title. It was not acquired automatically despite the approval of the marriage.

Since Guillaume and Stéphanie married after the changes became law, she automatically obtained the feminine version of each of his titles. Thus, Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy became HRH Princess Stéphanie of Luxembourg, The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, The Hereditary Princess of Nassau and Princess de Bourbon de Parme after her marriage. It should be noted that the Cour Grand Ducale began using the style of Royal Highness and the title Princess Stéphanie of Luxembourg immediately after their civil wedding. They did not, however, begin to use the title Hereditary Grand Duchess until after their religious wedding. She also became a member of The Grand Ducal House and The Grand Ducal Family.

The titles of Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Hereditary Prince of Nassau or Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Hereditary Princess of Nassau are now automatic for the heir or heiress apparent from the moment that they become heir or heiress apparent. The wife of a Hereditary Grand Duke automatically obtains the use of his titles following the completion of their approved marriage. The husband of a female heiress apparent obtains the style of Royal Highness and the title Prince of Luxembourg at marriage.

The children of a Hereditary Grand Duke or Hereditary Grand Duchess are considered first grade (first line) descendants. As first grade descendants the children are born with the style of Royal Highness and the titles Prince or Princess of Luxembourg, Prince or Princess of Nassau, and Prince or Princess de Bourbon de Parme. They are also born members of The Grand Ducal House, The Grand Ducal Family and The Grand Ducal Line.

[Please note, The Grand Ducal House (hereinafter The House), The Grand Ducal Family (hereinafter The Family) and The Grand Ducal Line (hereinafter The Line) will be explained further on.]

3. What title did the former Claire Lademacher receive upon her marriage to Prince Félix?

As the Grand Duke gave his consent for a marriage between Prince Félix and Miss Claire Lademacher, she, in accordance with the changes made to the family bylaws concerning the house law published via the Arrêté grand-ducal of June 18, 2012, has obtained the right to use the style of Royal Highness and the feminine version of any title held by Prince Félix and his surname. Thus, the former Claire Lademacher became Her Royal Highness Princess Claire of Luxembourg, Princess of Nassau, Princess de Bourbon de Parme. Because their marriage has received The Grand Duke's consent she will also become a member of The Grand Ducal House and The Grand Ducal Family. She will enjoy these titles and memberships during her marriage and unremarried widowhood. She will lose these titles and memberships if she and the Prince either divorce or legally seperate, or if she remarries after being widowed.

Their children will be Royal Highness with the titles of Prince or Princess de Nassau, members of The Grand Ducal Family and The Grand Ducal Line and will carry rights of succession to the Throne.

4. Is Prince Louis in the line of succession?

Neither Prince Louis nor his sons are in the line of succession. Prince Louis renounced his place in the succession for himself and all of his decedents prior to his marriage.

5. Did Prince Louis renounce his title when he renounced his place in the succession?

No, he did not. In accordance with the House Law of the Grand Ducal Family, born members of the House keep their membership (and titles and styles associated with it) even if they conduct a marriage without the written consent given by the head of the House.

6. Was Princess Tessy created a princess in her own right?

Remember what we said about not trying to apply traditions from other monarchies to Luxembourg? This is one of the places where people try to slip in traditions from Belgium, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. This sort of classification of titles is not a Luxembourgish tradition. I've read all of the decree related to titles and have examined the Nassauischer Erbverein.

Tessy is a Princess of Luxembourg, a Royal Highness and a de Nassau. Don't make it more complicated than it is.

Should the couple divorce or separate the Princess will cease to be a Princess and a Royal Highness. Should she become a widow she will retain the use of her current title and style for the duration of her life as long as she doesn't remarry. If she should remarry she will cease to be be a Royal Highness and a Princess of Luxembourg. If she had an illegitimate child during her widowhood that child would not inherit any title from the Princess.

Naturally the reigning monarch could issue a new decree specific to the Princess if she and the Prince divorced or if she became widowed.

7. Is Princess Tessy a member of The Grand Ducal Family or The Grand Ducal House?

Prince Louis is a member of The Grand Ducal House, The Grand Ducal Family and The Grand Ducal Line. Prince Louis did not receive consent to marry Miss Tessy Antony. Following their marriage Prince Louis retained his title and his associated memberships. He renounced his rights of succession for himself and his descendants about two months before the marriage.

Madame de Nassau, as Princess Tessy was styled prior to June 2009, did not obtain membership in The Grand Ducal House by marriage. Membership in The House can only be transmitted to spouses if The Grand Duke has given consent for the marriage. The House Law does not stipulate that consent is required to transmit membership in The Family to a spouse. Thus, Princess Tessy is a member of The Family but not The House. She is not eligible for membership in The Line because she is not a descendant of Grand Duke Adolph.

The elevation to the style of Royal Highness and Princess of Luxembourg did not confer any right to membership in The House nor does it imply retroactive consent to the marriage.

8. Why was Tessy elevated to Princess of Luxembourg but her sons only to Princes of Nassau?

According to the Arrêté of September 21, 1995 and in accordance with the changes made to the family bylaws concerning the house law published via the Arrêté grand-ducal of June 18, 2012, only the sons and daughters of the current, former, or future monarch hold the title Prince or Princess of Luxembourg.

This means that only the children of Grand Duke Jean, Grand Duke Henri and the (future) children of The Hereditary Grand Duke hold the title, while the children of Prince Jean and Prince Guillaume (the younger brothers of the current Grand Duke and sons of the former) have the title of a Prince or Princess of Nassau. The children of Félix and Sébastien will be titled as Prince or Princess of Nassau with the style of Royal Highness. This is in accordance with the House Law.

Prince Robert, nephew of Grand Duke Jean, is an exception of this rule as he was born before it was established, hence, he holds the title Prince of Luxembourg with the style Royal Highness. His wife and children are styled Royal Highnesses with the title Prince or Princess of Nassau.

9. Are the titles of the sons of Prince Louis and Prince Jean hereditary? (The Princes that were not born HRH Prince of Nassau but were created so by decree.)

When the sons of Prince Louis and Prince Jean were elevated to the title of Prince of Nassau with the style of Royal Highness they automatically became "Princes de Notre Maison". Thereafter, they fell under the ordinary rules and traditions established by the Nassau Family Pact and the subsequent Arrêté of 1995 that refer to them specifically or generically to any of the "Les Princes de Notre Maison" regarding titles, names and styles.


The House Law of 2012 muddles the waters concerning possible inheritance of titles for the descendants of a prince who is without succession rights or who was elevated to the style and title of Royal Highness Prince by decree. The new House Law creates a distinct division between the rights, prerogatives and privileges of those who have succession rights and those who do not. The House Law is clear in 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."

Due to the very specific wording of The House Law a Prince or Princess who has received their title by any method other than birth within an approved marriage may not necessarily be eligible to transmit titles to their descendants.

10. Is Prince Jean's wife a Princess of Luxembourg?

No, Prince Jean's wife does not have the title of a Princess of Luxembourg and neither is she styled as a Royal Highness. Instead, she enjoys the title of a Countess of Nassau in accordance with the changes made to the family bylaws concerning the house law published via the Arrêté grand-ducal of June 18, 2012.

The new house law stipulates that the wives and legitimate offspring of a marriage without consent bear their first name and the last name 'de Nassau'/'zu Nassau' as well as the title Count or Countess of Nassau. This means that Countess Diane was never elevated to the rank but that her elevation was a consequence of the introduction of the new house law.

This means that Countess Diane did not enjoy this title since her marriage but only since June 2012. On July 18, 2011 the Cour Grand-Ducale responded via email to a specific question on this matter stating that Prince Jean's wife is styled as Madame Diane de Guerre. During the wedding celebrations of the Hereditary Grand Duke, she was officially styled as Countess Diane of Nassau for the first time. She is a member of The Family.

11. Is Prince Jean's former wife still a Countess of Nassau?

Hélène Vestur no longer enjoys any title associated with her marriage to Prince Jean.

Madame Vestur was elevated to Countess of Nassau by virtue of the Arrêté grand-ducal of 1995. Article 4 of the same Arrêté grand-ducal that allowed for her elevation states that spouses who gain title by merit of the Arrêté lose those rights in the event of separation, divorce or remarriage after widowhood.

Those who fall under Article 4 are those who gain a title through marriage.

12. Is Princess Alexandra in line for the throne?

Princess Alexandra is currently third in line for the throne.

13. Why are Princess Marie-Astrid and Princess Margaretha not in the line of succession?

At the time of the two princesses birth, only male members of the family were allowed to inherit the throne as long as male heirs were available.

On September 16, 2010 an Arrêté grand-ducal was issued stating that the line of succession to the throne would be changed to allow any first born child regardless of gender to become heir to the throne. The change starts with the descendents of Grand Duke Henri, thus, not only Princess Marie-Astrid and Princess Margaretha are excluded from the line of succession but might be Princess Charlotte, daughter of Prince Guillaume, depending on how you define "applies for the first time" to the descendants of Grand Duke Henri.

14. Why was Grand Duchess Charlotte, and before her Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde, able to inherit the throne?

Because there were no possible male heirs left.

When Charlotte and Marie-Adélaïde's father's uncle Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm died in 1905, the only other male heir left was Grand Duke Guillaume IV's cousin Count Georg Nikolaus of Merenberg, who was the product of a morganatic marriage. Two years after his uncle's death, Grand Duke Guillaume IV declared the Merenbergs non-dynastic and named his own eldest daughter as his heir apparent.

When Luxembourg's first reigning Grand Duchess abdicated, likewise there were no male heirs left so her sister Charlotte succeeded to the throne.

15. Did Grand Duke Jean renounce the names and titles inherited from his father HRH Prince Félix of Luxembourg, Prince de Bourbon de Parme, etc...?

Yes, he did. He did so by Arrêté grand-ducal on July 28, 1986.

16. Is this renunciation still in effect?

No, it is not. The Arrêté grand-ducal governing the names and titles of members of the Grand Ducal Family of September 21, 1995 repealed the decree of July 28, 1986 in its entirety.

Article 5 of the September 21, 1995 Arrêté grand-ducal states: "L'arrêté grand-ducal du 28 juillet 1986 concernant le nom de famille des Membres de la Famille grand-ducale est abrogé."

The English translation of Article 5 is: "The Grand Ducal decree of 28 July 1986 on the family name of the Members of the Grand Ducal Family is repealed."

17. Does this mean that members of the family still have the title Prince or Princess de Bourbon de Parme?

Yes, it does. The decree of 1986 has been repealed. The affect is that the effects of the decree are completely reversed.

Note: the correct title associated with the decedents of Prince Félix of Luxembourg is Prince de Bourbon de Parme. It is not Prince de Bourbon-Parme.

It should be further noted that Prince Félix de Bourbon de Parme was entered into the nobility of Luxembourg with the hereditary title of Prince de Bourbon de Parme and the style of Royal Highness on the same day that he was awarded Luxembourg nationality and created a Prince of Luxembourg. Any title created under the Letters Patent issued by Grand Duchess Charlotte falls entirely under Luxembourgish law. The Dukes of Parma have no more authority over these titles than they have over the Parmese titles that are now part of the nobility of the Netherlands.

18. Was Grand Duchess Charlotte elevated to the style of Royal Highness by her marriage to Prince Félix?

No, she was not. The late Grand Duchess Charlotte enjoyed the style of Royal Highness from the moment of her ascension to The Throne.

The monarch, their spouse, the heir-apparent and the heir apparent's spouse have traditionally enjoyed the style of Royal Highness. This predates the entry of Prince Félix de Bourbon de Parme into the Grand Ducal Family.

19. Were the other descendants of Prince Félix elevated to the style of Royal Highness through his inheritance?

Yes, up to a point they were.

Grand Duke Adolphe assigned the style of Grand Ducal Highness to each of his grand-daughters at or shortly after their births. Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide was elevated to the style of Royal Highness when she was created Hereditary Grand Duchess (heiress-apparent). Grand Duchess Charlotte was automatically elevated at the time of her ascension. Grand Duke Jean, as natural heir-apparent, would have been born a Royal Highness with or without his father's hereditary distinctions. The other decedents of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Félix were born with the style of Royal Highness that is correctly associated with their father's titles. You may view this as an inheritance from his Parmese titles or an inheritance from the title he was entered in to the Luxembourgish nobility with. It really doesn't matter.

In 1986 when Grand Duke Jean renounced his father's Bourbon inheritance he pointedly retained the style of Royal Highness for his siblings and descendants With this action Grand Duke Jean severed the previous relationship between the style of Royal Highness and the title Prince or Princess de Bourbon de Parme. The style ceased to be solely associated with the Bourbon heritage and became linked to the Luxembourg heritage. The decree of 1995 fully repealed the acts of the 1986 decree. However, the 1995 decree maintains this clear distinction. The style of Royal Highness remained permanently attached to the Luxembourg/de Nassau heritage. The modified House Law of 2012 reaffirms that the style of Royal Highness is permanently attached to the titles of Prince or Princess borne by all members of the Grand Ducal House and Grand Ducal Family.

No matter how you view the decree of 1986 and the repeal of this decree you cannot deny that the decree of 1995 permanently and legally attaches the style of Royal Highness to the titles of Prince or Princess of Luxembourg and Prince or Princess of Nassau. Grand Duke Jean, like his mother and son, are legitimate Fountains of Honor. Their ability to create titles and styles is firmly and prominently established in the constitution of The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Because of these actions the style of Royal Highness is no longer an "upgrade" associated with the Bourbon heritage of Prince Félix.

Some of the sister's of Grand Duchess Charlotte were elevated to the style of Royal Highness through their own marriages others remained Grand Ducal Highness until their deaths.

Thirty-two persons currently carry the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince or Princess in association with the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg.

20. Did Prince Félix (husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte) gamble away the Grünewald Forest or the Grand Ducal Fortune?

Of course he didn't! Maybe he was a gambler but these specific tales are nothing more than urban legend. Like most urban legends, there is no truth to the matter.

On August 4, 2006, Gast Giberyen and Roby Mehlen (members of the Chamber of Deputies) officially questioned this urban legend. They received a detailed official response on February 15, 2007.

The official response outlined most of the property transactions taken by or on behalf of the Grand Ducal Family from 1891 onward. It details transactions associated with the forest from 1840 onward. The official response states that the funds obtained from the transactions were used for the maintenance of the Cour Grand-Ducale. The response specifically and categorically states that the rumors associated with Prince Félix' gambling debts are untrue.

The Nassau Family Trust still owns 850 hectacres of the forest. (That is a little more than 2100 acres.)

21. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg but was never a Princess of Luxembourg.

She most certainly was a Princess of Luxembourg. On the occasion of the wedding of his son and heir Grand Duke Jean issued an Arrêté grand-ducal that "conférant les titres d’Altesse Royale, Princesse et Grande-Duchesse héritière de Luxembourg à l’Epouse du Grand-Duc héritier."

For those of you who cannot read French the decree "confers the titles of Royal Highness, Princess and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg on the spouse of the Hereditary Grand Duke."

I draw your attention to the part that says "Princesse et" (translation: princess and). That means that she was without question a Princess of Luxembourg from the moment she became Henri's wife.

22. It is Hereditary Grand Duke NOT Crown Prince.

You're right, it is... However...

...the Cour Grand-Ducale and the government of Luxembourg actually render Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg as Crown Prince of Luxembourg when using the English language with very, very few exceptions. This is particularly the case when Guillaume is overseas. As far as I'm concerned, so called experts have no business arguing with The Grand Duke and his government concerning the translation of the title into other languages. They have jurisdiction over the title and how it is rendered in other languages when specifically referring to their heir, former heir or future heirs. Strictly speaking it is not incorrect, nor worth arguing about, when someone refers to Guillaume as Crown Prince Guillaume. We stick to Hereditary Grand Duke on the blog but won't complain when the Cour Grand-Ducale, the government of Luxembourg, the press or other bloggers write Crown Prince. I prefer Hereditary Grand Duke for many reasons. Linguistics isn't one of them. There is only one Grand Duchy in the entire world. The title Hereditary Grand Duke is unique and representative of this. Crown Princes are pretty darn ordinary by comparison.

You may also note that when Guillaume is not referred to as The Hereditary Grand Duke he is Prince Guillaume, the Hereditary Grand Duke but never Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. The sole reason why we are doing it here on the blog is to avoid confusion with his uncle, the other Prince Guillaume.

23. Who are members of The Grand Ducal House, The Grand Ducal Family and The Grand Ducal Line?

In accordance with the changes made to the family bylaws concerning the house law published via the Arrêté grand-ducal of June 18, 2012, the relatives of the current and former sovereigns of Luxembourg are divided into three groups.
The Grand Ducal Line consists of all of the direct marital descendants of Grand Duke Adolph (male and female lines).

The Grand Ducal Family consists of all direct marital descendants of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The spouses, widows and widowers of members of the Grand Ducal Family are included as well.

The Grand Ducal House consists of the head of state (as head of the house), the former heads of state and first grade descendants of a head of the house born within a marriage made according to the house rules. According to the house rules, in-law spouses and widows/widowers of members of the Grand Ducal House and widows/widowers of deceased heads of state also belong to The House. The aforementioned widows and widowers will lose their membership to the Grand Ducal House in case of remarriage. The head of the house may confer born members of the Grand Ducal Family the membership of the Grand Ducal House. Born members of the Grand Ducal House keep their membership even in case of marriage conducted without the consent of the head of the house. Spouses of members of the Grand Ducal House only become members of The House if the head of the house has given his written consent to the marriage.
The House Law is also very clear that the use or the conferral of a style or title in an individual case cannot deduce either rights from the membership of the house or family or consent to the marriage. This means that just because a person is given a title (Diane, Tessy, Gabriel, Noah, Constantin, Wenceslas, Alexander, Frederick, etc, etc...) does not necessarily mean that they have acquired the status as a member of The Family or The House.

As you can see from these criteria the Grand Ducal Family is very large and includes a large number of people who do not have the surname 'de Nassau' and who have no titles of any kind. The Grand Ducal Line is pretty massive. The Grand Ducal House is without question the most exclusive of the three groups within the de Nassau heritage.

24. Does the gender neutral succession extend the inheritance of titles to the children of a blood-royal princess like in the case of Princess Madeleine of Sweden?

Yes and no. Firstly, Luxembourg is not Sweden.

In accordance with the changes made to the family bylaws concerning the house law published via the Arrêté grand-ducal of June 18, 2012, the children of a reigning Grand Duchess or a Hereditary Grand Duchess (heiress-apparent) are born with the style of Royal Highness, the title Prince or Princess of Luxembourg (etc) and the surname 'de Nassau' or 'zu Nassau'. The revised house law is very clear that in all other cases the surname and titles associated with the family remain a male-line inheritance for the descendants of Grand Duchess Charlotte.

For example, children born of Princess Alexandra will not inherit a title from her. They will also have the surname of their father. They will, however, have places in the line of succession if they are born within an approved marriage.

The Grand Duke may, if he chooses, use his constitutional authority as a Fountain of Honor to create a hereditary noble title for his female-line descendants. This would be a personal decision not a requirement or a consequence of the revised family bylaws.

25. Can I find the much referenced house law somewhere?

Yes, we have provided a translation of the family pact here and of the bylaws concerning the house law here.


1. What, a prince who reigns over a country?

Indeed, Liechtenstein is a principality which is reigned over by a sovereign prince. While there used to be more, the only surviving principalities these days are Liechtenstein, Monaco and the co-principality of Andorra. While the sovereign prince is usually styled as The Prince of Liechtenstein, his wife is The Princess of Liechtenstein; all other members of the family are Prince X or Princess Y of Liechtenstein with the style of Serene Highness.

The title of a Prince for a monarch often leads to a bit of confusion, so just keep in mind the terms of the language spoken in Liechtenstein, German, as it makes it much easier as there is a clear linguistic distinction. The monarch is the Fürst and his wife is the Fürstin, while all other members of the family are either a Prinz or a Prinzessin. Meanwhile, the heir to the Principality's figurative throne is titled as the Hereditary Prince and his wife as the Hereditary Princess.

2. What are the titles of the members of the Princely Family?

Please, see the previous answer.

In addition to the style of Serene Highness and the titles Fürst and Fürstin for the reigning Prince and his spouse, they are the Duke and Duchess of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count and Countess of Rietberg. The Reigning Prince also holds the unique title of Sovereign of the House of Liechtenstein.

Every member of the family is entitled to the style of Serene Highness and the titles Prince of Liechtenstein, Count of Rietberg or Princess of Liechtenstein, Countess of Rietberg.

The Prince decides on the titles and surnames of those who marry without consent (and their family), illegitimate offspring of a prince or princess and adopted children.

3. Why is Hereditary Princess Sophie styled as a Royal Highness when the rest of the family are Serene Highness?

Hereditary Princess Sophie was born a Duchess in Bavaria, a title associated with the style of a Royal Highness. A woman retains her style after her marriage even if she marries a man with a lower style and takes a new title.

The very same applies to Princess Margaretha (née of Luxembourg), wife of Prince Nikolaus, and Princess Marie (née of Orléans, or of France in case you are an Orléanist), wife of Prince Gundakar, who were born Royal Highnesses and remain so even if their husbands are only Serene Highnesses. Historically, this has also been the case for the grandmother of Prince Hans-Adam II who was born an Archduchess of Austria and thus was styled as an Imperial and Royal Highness even when titled as a Princess of Liechtenstein.

4. Do female members of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein lose their membership to the House of Liechtenstein upon marriage?

No, they do not.

We are aware that there are people who argue that this is the case but it is not in accordance with the house law of 1993 which states that "a princess whose membership is by birth does not lose such membership on her marriage."

In an e-mail the secretary of the Hereditary Prince explicitly confirmed this part of the law upon request. As born princesses do not lose the membership to the House, they also retain their style and title associated with it. They are, however, free to chose to be known by their husband's title or name.

Let's look at a few examples to make it more clear.

Liechtenstein's ambassador to Austria, née Princess Maria-Pia of Liechtenstein, is a female member of the Princely Family who married a commoner, Mr Max Kothbauer. After her marriage, she is officially styled as "HSH Maria-Pia Kothbauer, Princess of Liechtenstein". The same applies if a princess of the family married a count, for example. She would be officially styled as "HSH Countess X of Y, Princess of Liechtenstein".

There, however, are a few exceptions to the rule due to different reasons.

HSH Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, sister of Prince Hans-Adam II, remained styled this way even after her marriage to the late Don Vicente Sartorius y Cabeza de Vaca, 3rd Marquess of Mariño as her husband was a Spaniard. In Spain, a woman keeps her own last name after her marriage and does not use her husband's. Similarly, a child gets his or her two last names from both parents. (The first surname is usually the father's first surname, and the second the mother's first surname.) In accordance, Princess Nora's daughter is usually known as Maria Teresa Sartorius y Liechtenstein.

Prince Hans-Adam's only daughter, Tatjana, however, chose not to by styled with the title she has been born with and retains even after her wedding to Philipp von Lattorff. Instead, she is now simply known as Mrs Tatjana von Lattorff. It is not wrong though to style her as "HSH Tatjana von Lattorff, Princess of Liechtenstein" as it was simply her choice not to be styled as such.

5. What is the surname of the members of the Princely Family?

The members of the Princely Family carry the surname 'von und zu Liechtenstein'. Many of them, however, chose to be known as 'von Liechtenstein' or simply 'Liechtenstein' in their daily lives.

6. Just how big is the Princely House of Liechtenstein?

Quite big. All legitimate male line descendants of Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein (1760-1836) are considered to be members of the Princely Family. Membership compromises members by birth and members by marriage. As mentioned before, Princesses by birth do not lose their membership at marriage; their children though are not considered to be members of the House. Consequently, the Princely House has more than 100 members and is considered to be the biggest ruling family in Europe.

Membership to the Princely House of Liechtenstein is based on free will. Any adult member of the House can renounce their membership by a "written declaration notified to the Reigning Prince and the Family Council. Such declaration is irrevocable and is valid only for the person making it." A princess who has become a member of the Princely House through marriage retains this membership during widowhood unless such widow remarries. In case of a divorce, the princesses by marriage lose their membership to the House.

All members of the Princely House are Liechtenstein citizens. Neither the Sovereign Prince nor his heir may acquire foreign citizenship and any member succeeding to the throne must renounce any foreign citizenship acquired previously. Any renounciation of Liechtenstein citizenship by a member of the Princely House should only be done in case of "substantial reasons" and with prior agreement of the Sovereign Prince. The citizenship may be restored at a later date by the Sovereign Prince.

7. Who can marry into the Princely Family and how does a prince of the House of Liechtenstein gain consent to his marriage?

Basically anyone can marry into the Princely Family as the House of Liechtenstein never had explicit rules of equality, or Ebenbürtigkeit. A prince, however, needs to seek consent for his marriage.

When a male member of the Princely Family intends to get married, he needs to inform the Sovereign Prince and submit "all documents required under Liechtenstein law, together with a written and unconditional declaration by the other party to the intended marriage that that party recognizes the binding nature of all aspects of this Constitution, for that party and all issue arising from the intended marriage" to the secretariat of the Prince.

Once the Sovereign Prince gives his consent to the marriage, he must give notice to all adult members of the Princely House. Within one month, every member of the Princely House who is of full age may object to the intended marriage in writing for various reasons. If this is the case, the Sovereign Prince will rule on the matter and also has to inform the Family Council. An appeal against His decision must the lodged within two weeks.

If there are no objections to the marriage or the objections lodged are unsuccessful and the consent is thus given, the wedding has to take place "within one year from the date on which all essential conditions for the recognition of the marriage were met." The couple must get married in a public place with the Sovereign Prince (or a representative of his choice) as well as two adult witnesses present. "As part of their agreement to marry, the parties to the marriage shall, in particular, make express vows to live together in an indissoluble union, to beget and raise children and to give each other mutual support."

8. If the Princely House of Liechtenstein has so many members but the Principality is so small, what are they all doing and where are they living?

Work. Yes seriously, the members of the Princely Family are expected to get an education and then work for a living, or as Prince Philipp phrases it "With [my family], things are very different. After your studies, you better go and work, and earn your living. It’s as simple as that."

The Princely House only has four members regularly representing them in matters of state and such. Meant with this four members are the Sovereign Prince, Hans-Adam II, and his wife, Princess Marie, as well as the Hereditary Prince Alois and his wife, Hereditary Princess Sophie. All of them live in Schloss Vaduz above the Liechtenstein's capital by the same name. 

The rest of the Princely Family lives all around the world, in Liechtenstein and abroad, where they study or work. Many of them are working in the financial sector or as diplomats. Only Prince Philipp and Prince Max work for the family-owned LGT Group, while Prince Constantin is the head of the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation. They, however, have worked for other companies that were not owned by the Princely House for many years before joining the Family's businesses. Even Prince Hans-Adam II and Hereditary Prince Alois have worked normal jobs in their lives.

9. How is the Princely House financed?

For many years now, the Princely House has not received any money from the state of Liechtenstein. Instead, they make their money through their businesses owned by the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation, the most famous being the aforementioned LGT Group, a wealth and asset management group. Prince Hans-Adam II famously expressed it this way, "I have to earn money before noon so I can afford to reign in the afternoon."

10. Once again, can I find a version of the house law somewhere?

Yes, the Princely House provides both the German original as well as an English translation on their website.

If you have an additional questions drop them in the comment box below.


  1. What kind of lives will Princes Felix, Louis, Sebastien, and Princess Alexandra lead if they are to never become the Grand Duke or Duchess?

    1. Probably much like their aunts and uncles: They will have little to no official role and thus will live a rather quite life.
      Their uncles Prince Guillaume and Prince Jean have normal jobs to support their own families, while their aunt Princess Marie-Astrid and Princess Margaretha largely work in the charity world. Princess Margaretha said in an interview that despite having her primary residence in Liechtenstein, she still spends a lot of time in Brussels to work for different causes; for example she is the patron of Dyslexia International.

  2. I can't find the 1995 decree where the decision regarding the Bourbon-Parma titles is repealed. I can only find the Arrêté grand-ducal du 21 septembre 1995. Where is the proof?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. you know in where is studying the prince joseph wenzel?
    and what is studying?

    1. He is attending a boarding school in the United Kingdom.

  5. It's fantastically refreshing to find a royal blog that takes factchecking seriously! The quality and depth of your articles is also impressive.

    May I ask whether the royal decrees you cite have been translated into English? I'm particularly interested in the June 2012 revision to the family pact. (By the way, if you plan to add more features in the future, a page rounding up links to important documents could be a very helpful addition. :) )

  6. Thank you! We really do enjoy knowing that our readers appreciate our work and find it useful.

    Grand Ducal decree are not officially translated into English. These decree are not always even found in the same language. The oldest historical decree were always rendered in both French and German. Nowadays, all of the legislation in the Grand Duchy is written in French. The other two languages are used at different stages of the process and are important. The exception is the Nassau Family Pact. The pact was originally written in German. The revised pact is written only in German.

    Any decree or legal document used as research for this piece has been translated into English by one of the bloggers here or by reliable multilingual associates. However, it they have not always been saved as documents. We discuss decree and relevant documents at length privately. Some translations are rendered directly in the course of those private conversations. Two of our bloggers are native German speakers. They have translated the entire revised family pact into English for me (the monolingual American). This was extraordinarily gracious on their part and I am very grateful.

    The House Law of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein has official translations in German and English. I assume this is necessary because the Princely Family is very large and spread throughout the world. Not all members of the Family can understand German language.

    Not all of the documents used to create this FAQ can be found online. Some of the information can only be found in print.

    If you have a question regarding where to find a specific document please feel free to contact us directly (see Contact tab).

    1. You certainly deserve the appreciation for creating an extraordinarily helpful resource. :)

      I'm interested in reading the translation of the revised family pact. Would it be possible for you to post it, if you have it saved?

  7. Sydney and I have discussed it and we both feel that to remain 'the' source for Luxembourg information that we will provide the English translation. We still need to ask Luxfan, who translated, half of the documents if we can publish her work. Then we just need to edit some parts for correctness (grammar, etc). So, stay tuned.

  8. Hello - I left a comment a few days ago which hasn't yet appeared. Is it still in moderation?

    1. There are no additional comments awaiting moderation. I have checked blogger and disqus.

      Perhaps it is best to simply use the contact email luxarazzi@gmail.com for your inquiry.

    2. Thanks. I'll first try resubmitting the comment one more time. :)

      May I ask whether you still have plans to publish the translation of the family pact? I of course have no wish to pressure you, and realize that preparing it for publication must be a time-intensive venture, but am interested to know whether to await it in the following couple of months or so. :)

    3. We are currently in the process of smoothing the translation over and to make sure that the translation is an exact translation of what is said in the German version. We are likely to publish it in some quieter times for the blog, so probably early next year.

  9. Please delete this comment if you already received the duplicate last week; I am resubmitting it in case the first try didn't succeed.

    I would be grateful if you could answer any or all of these questions regarding the family's names:

    1. Did the reigning house of Luxembourg always style itself as the House of Nassau, or was there a span wherein it was the House of Bourbon de Parme?

    2. Has it always been the case that titled members of the grand-ducal family bear surnames, and was the dynastic surname always (de) Nassau, never (de) Bourbon de Parme?

    3. Prior to the revision of the Nassau bylaws in 2012, were women who became princesses or countesses by marriage compelled to adopt the surname (de) Nassau? If not, did each wife nevertheless do so? (I am in particular interested as to the former Princess Joan, who presently uses her surname Dillon in addition to her third husband’s ducal title.)

    4. Did princesses of Luxembourg who married retain their surnames or adopt those of their husbands?

    5. Why is the German surname "zu Nassau" instead of "von Nassau", and has it always been thus? I understood that "zu" implied actual possession of the designated territory, which is surely not the case in re Nassau.

    6. How would one correctly translate the Nassau surname into Luxembourgish: "vun Nassau"? (I acknowledge that the present house law prescribes the French "de Nassau" or the German "zu Nassau.")

    7. Did all members of the reigning house of Luxembourg style themselves primarily by the French forms of their names, e.g., Adolphe and Adélaïde-Marie instead of Adolph and Adelheid Marie?

    8. Moreover, if an ordinary female Luxembourger wished to hyphenate her husband’s surname with her own, what would be the customary order of the names?

    Thank you very much for any assistance! :-)

  10. Sometimes Blogger seems to act up and we didn't receive the question the first time around... Anyway, here are a few answers.

    1) There was never a time when the family described themselves as the House of Bourbon-Parma which would also be very difficult as the Luxembourgish constitution states that the head of state comes from the House of Nassau so a change of constitution would be needed.

    2) There was also never a time when they used the last name "de Bourbon de Parme". I don't think there was an official surname prior to 1995 when Grand Duke Jean decreed it would be "Nassau" (later changed into "de Nassau"). However, Prince Jean's first wife was called "Hélène Nassau" and Prince Jean also often went by "Jean Nassau". While in the British army, Grand Duke Jean used the last name "Luxembourg" and his children sometimes used the surname "(de) Clerveaux" if they did not want to be recognised.

    3) As the family only has only had an official last name since 1995, I don't know whether they were compelled to change their name to Nassau prior to that. Hélène Vestur became Hélène Nassau but I don't know about the others who received a royal title and style. There is also often a difference between what official names are and what names are used. While the official last name of the Grand Ducal Family is "de Nassau", all the male members (at least) seem to sign their marriage certificate with "de Luxembourg".

    4) As none of the princesses have ever shown me their passport, I don't know. However as they all married nobles/royals, they often fall under new house laws now that possibly stipulate the last name of a family member.

    5) It is a bit more complicated than that. The Nassau family has always been "zu Nassau". Being a "zu" is much more prestigious than being a "von" in German because it usually shows that your family has much older roots. The medieval "zu" means about the same as the word "in" which simply means that the family has reigned "zu (in) Nassau". These designations do not change even if you lose your territory.

    6) Probably "vu Nassau" though I don't know if the Luxembourg language acknowledges the difference between "von" and "zu".

    7) These days, there are mostly referred to by their French names though during his lifetime Adolphe was known as Adolph, Guillaume as Wilhelm and Adelaide-Marie as Adelheid-Marie. Even Marie-Adelaide, Charlotte's older sister, seems to have been called Marie-Adelheid by her family. The family changed the ways of a naming a child after the end of WWI when Marie-Adelaide was accused of being pro-German.

    8) Most female Luxembourgers actually use hypenated names, afaik usually with their maiden name first and then their husband's name. The wife of former PM Jean-Claude Juncker is called Christiane Frising-Juncker.

    1. Thank you very much. You are a fount of knowledge, and I am grateful for your efforts and generosity!

      Questions concerning the answers:

      1) Was it compulsory for wives to adopt the surname Nassau between 1995 and 2012?

      2) Grammatically, what distinguishes "vu" from "vun"?

    2. 1) I guess not but only because I can't think a law explicitly stating that they had to. At the same time I am fairly certain that they were expected by the family to do so.

      2) "Vun" would be a declination of the word "vu" which means of.

  11. Why can't girls succeed to the Liechtenstein throne?

    1. Because they have salic law which excludes females and female-line descendants from succession. Many monarchies used to have salic law. The Liechtensteins apparently never saw a need to change the rules probably also due to the fact that in the last few generations, the oldest child has always been a boy.

  12. The house law of Liechtenstein limits membership of the Princely House to "descendants in the male line...being issue of a recognized marriage," but in regard to succession rights, merely states that "the first-born male of the eldest line is always called to succeed to the throne," without a requirement that successors belong to the Princely House.

    A literal interpretation infers that a prince's son who is born out of wedlock, born of an unrecognized marriage, or born without a princely title (for instance, the Rietbergs) nevertheless has succession rights. Is this, indeed, the case?

    1. No because Article 12(3) states that only people who have the right to vote and to stand for election according to the house law can succeed the throne. The right to vote and to stand for election have all male members of the family who have reached the age of maturity unless they wave their voting rights away, they are under the influence of a regime or a few other stipulations you can find in Article 9.

      I understand that most "comital" branches of the family such as the Rietbergs have been given the right to bear the title "Prinz/Prinzessin von und zu Liechtenstein". Some of them do and other don't as they had already made a name for themselves prior to being allowed to and didn't want to change their name. I guess that they, however, have not been given rights to the throne but I don't know. Barring unforeseen disasters, we will probably never get to know anyway ;-)

  13. I saw your website from Noblesse & Royauté. I found it great, it enlights me on several questions I have on the Grand-Ducal family and answers questions about the Liechtenstein family I wasn't even thinking about.
    I still have 2 questions :

    1. Does the title "Prince(sse) de Bourbon de Parme" only for Prince Felix de BP's descendants or it's the official title for all Bourbon-Parme and it's an error of language that make us call them "Prince(sse) de Bourbon-Parme" (in this case, should we also said Prince de Bourbon de Sicile/Prince de Bourbon de Deux-Sicile)?

    2. If Hereditary Grand Duke's first born is a girl, and her own first born is also a girl, will this one have the title of "Princesse de Bourbon de Parme" ? It is that I understand from you explications but it doesn't sound right to me, as the rules for princely titles of BP is inheritance by male line.

    Thank in advance

  14. The titles held by the descendants of Prince Felix of Luxembourg, Prince of Bourbon of Parma are separate from the titles held by and inherited in other lines of the BP family. Whatever the specific titles are of the other branches or the methods of inheritance (male only) have no impact on the BP titles of the Luxembourgish family. The Luxembourgish BP titles are governed only by the Hous Law and other legalities in Luxembourg. The situation is not very different from the BP titles that are now part of the Dutch nobility. These titles are inherited by the legal regulations of the Dutch nobility.

    I do not know if it is a error or language or not. It is simply how the title is recorded in Luxembourg. It may be different in other branches of the family and in other countries.

    The traditional rules of princely titles of BP do not apply to the titles of held by the Luxembourg family because these titles are part of the Luxembourgish nobility and are an inheritance governed by the new House Law of Luxembourg. The Duke of Parma nor any historical regulation on heritance in the BP family have any impact on how the title is inherited in Luxembourg. The historical BP rules do not even apply to the princely titles used by the Duke, which are now part of the Dutch nobility and governed by Dutch laws.

    If Guillaume first born is a daughter, and her own first born is also a daughter the BP title will pass to her and from her to her own children just as the titles of Prince(sse) de Luxembourg and Prince(sse) de Nassau will. You just have to consider that the BP titles of Prince Felix' descendants is different from those of the other branches of the family. Other branches of the family have titles that are still inherited under the old rules (male-line, marital approval) while the Luxembourg and even the Dutch titles now have a different structure because of their incorporations into foreign nobility. If, for example, a BP prince was incorporated into the Danish nobility his title would be inherited based on whatever laws govern Danish noble titles instead of the traditional rules of BP.

    The Prince de Bourbon de Parme title used in Luxembourg by Prince Felix' descendants who are also Prince de Luxembourg or Prince de Nassau is part of the Nassau inheritance governed by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Prince Felix' descendants are in a unique and confusing situation because while his male-line descendants continue to use and inherit the HRH Prince de B de P title as part of their Nassau heritage he also has female-line descendants through his granddaughter Countess Lydia of Ledreborg (Lensgrevinde Holstein til Ledreborg) who married Prince Eric of Bourbon-Parma. The titles of these female-line descendants of Prince Felix are not part of the Nassau BP heritage and are based on the traditional rules for BP princely titles.

    I hope this has answered your questions without confusing the matter further. If you have other questions feel free to ask them.

    1. If Guillaume first born is a daughter, and her own first born is also a daughter the BP title will pass to her and from her to her own children

      May I inquire as to when this provision was made? My understanding was that titles of the Luxembourgish nobility are inherited solely through the male line, and I had presumed the BP title was no exception. Are other Luxembourgish noble titles inheritable through the female line?

      I am also interested as to why the male-line descendants of the grand-ducal family who do not bear other princely titles (e.g. Countess Diane of Nassau, or Prince Louis's family before 2009) do not use the BP titles.

    2. Please go ahead and delete the duplicate comment.

  15. If Guillaume first born is a daughter, and her own first born is also a daughter the BP title will pass to her and from her to her own children

    May I inquire as to when this provision was made? My understanding was that titles of the Luxembourgish nobility are inherited solely through the male line, and I had presumed the BP title was no exception. Are other Luxembourgish noble titles inheritable through the female line?

    I am also interested as to why the male-line descendants of the grand-ducal family who do not bear other princely titles (e.g. Countess Diane of Nassau, or Prince Louis's family before 2009) do not use the BP titles.

    (I will resubmit this comment as I think I may have inadvertently omitted part of it on the first try, several minutes ago. Please delete the first.)

  16. is he part of the Family of Liechtenstein or not

  17. is he part of the Family of Liechtenstein or not Miguel as I cannot find him anywhere

    1. He is not, as far as we are aware, a part of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. I have thoroughly checked the entire family tree and cannot find him anywhere. We did find some google results for him but we thought that he seems more poser than prince. I found nothing legitimate about him; however, the family is vast.

  18. I am not sure if this was discussed before or not, but seems I can't find it. Why did Prince Jean of Luxembourg have to renounce his right to the throne when he married Hélène Suzanna Vestur because she is a commoner, while Grand Duke Henri could marry Maria Teresa without renouncing his right to the throne? Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was also commoner, right? Thank you

  19. The situations are very different. When Prince Jean married Helene they already had a child, and it was not well-known that Marie-Gabrielle had even been born. Many people were surprised when Constantin was born that Marie-Gabrielle was already part of the family. Jean was marrying a woman he already had a child with, who didn't get on with his parents (at the time) and who was a commoner. It was a difficult situation all around and I doubt that Prince Jean had much choice or, at least, probably didn't feel like he had many decisions. Helene certainly, in my opinion, seems to a larger part of the family than does Jean's current wife. Things may have been difficult for Helene in the beginning and she may not have helped make it easier but she gets on well with the family now and her children are fully incorporated into the family and are close to their royal/princely relations.

    Yes, Maria Teresa was also a commoner.

    Henri wanted to marry a woman from a wealthy family, a family who shared many common friends with his parents. They did not have any extra-marital children. She came from the "right sort" of family and had the "right" sort of education and interests. His parents did not initially want to accept her; however, Henri threatened to give up his rights. In the end they were allowed to marry. Jean and Helene were also allowed to marry and Jean kept his title and place within the family. I think that they family dealt with the situation as best as they could given their position and the expectations place on them by their faith, family and country.

    When Prince Jean renounced his rights he stated that he did so in order to make it easier to pursue his business career. He did not mention his daughter (who few knew about) or his eventual marriage to Helene. This is the same "excuse" that Prince Louis used when he did the same before his marriage to Princess Tessy. I'll leave it to you to decide if you feel if it is the real reason behind those actions.