Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Royally Speaking with Moniek of History of Royal Women

The one in which I talked to Moniek of the History of Royal Women blog as part of our Royal Speaking series.

Your blog, as its name suggests, mainly deals with royal women in history, news related to them, as well as chronicling your visits to various royal sights. Are these your main interest when it comes to royalty or are there any others not featured on your own blog?
I would say they are my main interests, I do keep up with most of the current royal but I don't like writing about them. Instead I have a bookcase filled with English language books about royal women and I enjoy writing about both the well-known and the not so well known royal women.

Was it with either history or architecture that your interest in royals started or vice versa (first royals, then history)?
My fascination began after watching the Tudors tv series. I began researching Anne Boleyn and from her read first about the other English queens and later also royal women from other countries and dynasties. I find the castles interesting because it's a piece of hem left behind. As if you can walk in their footsteps.

Is there a special period in history and its women you are especially interested in and if yes, what is it that fascinates you most about this certain time period?
My initial fascination with Anne Boleyn still lingers. It was such a turbulent time in history with the reformation and later the ascension of the first English female monarchs.

If you could be one historical royal figure for a day, who would you like to be for 24 hours?
Staying in he Tudor period, I think I would go for Mary I. I believe she is a very misunderstood figure and does not deserve the nickname 'Bloody Mary'.

Last but most certainly not least, if you could invite six royals (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would find an invitation in their mailbox?
Hmm this is a difficult one!
Most certainly Anne Boleyn, simply because I have so many questions.
Christina of Sweden
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Empress Matilda
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Marie Antoinette
- All of them are interesting women who played a part in history!

Nelson Mandela – From Prisoner to President

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Earlier today, Grand Duke Henri visited the „Nelson Mandela – From Prisoner to President“ exhibition about the former South African President who died last year at the Musée National de la Résistance in Esch-sur-Alzette. In December 2013, the Grand Duke was among the tens of thousands of people to attend the memorial service in Johannesberg after expressing his tribute to the fighter against Apartheid in a letter to the current South African President a few days prior.

More pictures from the Grand Duke's visit to the Mandela exhibition are available at Wort.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Grand Duke Celebrates with Queen Silvia

Photo: Kungahuset
Last Friday, Grand Duke Henri made a quick trip to Geneva in Switzerland where he celebrated the 20th anniversary of Mentor International, a non-profit organisation working to prevent drug use and promote health as well as well-being amongst youth, alongside Queen Silvia of Sweden.

Source: Kungahuset

Vienna Masters

Photo: Stefano Grasso / Longines Global Champions Tour
Once again the LGT Bank Austria was the main sponsor of the Vienna Masters, an international 5-star equestrian tournament, which took place near Vienna over the past few days. Prince Philipp and Princess Marie (as in Prince Constantin's wife) were on hand to hand out the winner's prize to German rider Ludger Beerbaum on Chaman!. The LGT Group has sponsored equestrian events for many years as "horse breeding and riding represent a cultural heritage which goes back thousands of years, yet which at the same time is modern". As past experiences, see here and here, have shown us, I wouldn't be surprised if either or both of them also brought along some family.

More pictures are available on the website of the Global Champions Tour.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Grand Duke Celebrates (Not Only) His "Heemecht"

Photo: Tania Feller / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Yesterday, Grand Duke Henri visited Ettelbruck to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ever performance of Luxembourg's national anthem, Ons Heemecht. Before participating in an academic session, he unveiled a memorial to honour the first performance of the anthem on June 5, 1864, in Ettelbruck. The 3.30 metres high hand statue features the mouth prints of 550 people of Ettelbruck, the number of people who first sang Ons Heemecht together 150 years ago.

Source: Wort

Luxarazzi 101: Gartenpalais Liechtenstein

This one, the Gartenpalais, might just be my favourite of all the Liechtenstein palaces in Vienna. Historically the garden palace owned by the Princely Family has simply been known as Palais Liechtenstein. Since a few years, however, the Family has started to use the name Gartenpalais as to avoid confusion with another family-owned palace in Vienna, the Stadtpalais. As confusion is never our friend, we’ll conveniently also use the name Gartenpalais to describe the Baroque palace located in 9th Viennese district of Alsergrund.
All pictures: Liechtenstein. The Princely Collection, Vaduz-Vienna.
The history of the palace starts in 1687 when Prince Johann Adam I bought land in the Rossau from the Auersperg family. Located just outside of the city walls of Vienna, a self-contained model estate named Lichtenthal, one of the rare examples of large-scale Baroque urban planning in Vienna, was developed on said and additional parcels of land. Lichtenthal included the Gartenpalais as well as the Sommerpalais located on the opposite side of the garden.

The original Gartenpalais
A year later, Prince Johann Adam I invited different architects to come up with plans for a palace and likely due to his love for Italian artists, the Prince chose the plans of Domenico Egidio Rossi of the Bologna school. Starting in 1692, his plans of a palatial urban villa in the Roman style, were carried out by Luccanese architect Domenico Martinelli. The palace's shell was finished around 1700, however, works on the palace's interior continued for many years.

Prince Johann Adam I wanted to commission his favourite Italian painter Marcantonio Franceschini for the interior decoration of the Gartenpalais but the man from Bologna couldn't be convinced to travel to Vienna. Instead Johann Michael Rottmayr from - in difference to Bologna - nearby Salzburg created the fresco cycles in all areas of the ground floor as well as the two staircases starting in 1705. However following water damage, these frescos were covered up by stucco-framed oil paintings of Antonio Bellucci during the 19th century and only rediscovered and subsequently reconstructed during the early 2000's.

The Sala Terrena hall
While the Prince could not convince Marcantonio Franceschini to come to Vienna, there are several oil paintings by the Italian artist that were integrated into the ceiling panels of several rooms.  Renowned stuccoer Santino Bussi created rich stucco decoration throughout the entire Gartenpalais. The palace's biggest room, the Herkulessaal or Hercules Hall, was designed by Baroque painter Andrea Pozzo and include a monumental ceiling fresco depicting 'The Admittance of Hercules to Olympus'. The sculptures throughout the palace were created by Giovanni Guiliani.

During the following centuries, Prince Johann Adam I's Baroque ensemble underwent several changes. During the late 18th century, the entrance portal, which was integrated into the semi-circled stables, was changed into a classical triumphal arch by court architect Joseph Hardtmuth. In 1814, Harthmuth's successor as court architect, Joseph Kornhäusel, had the arch as well as the stables torn down and added the still existing fence thus opening the whole ensemble to an outsider's view.

The Hercules Hall
While the Gartenpalais had previously been used privately, Prince Johann I decided that paintings and other works of art owned by the Princely Family should be brought together and exhibited to the general public - well, those who could afford it - at the palace. In 1807, the museum was opened. However, various changes were made to the palace prior to the opening to accomodate the museum: For example, some windows were walled up to allow pictures to be hung on the walls instead. In addition, four of the five doors between the Hercules Hall and the Great Gallery were closed to make room for Rubens' Decius Mus Cycle and, as previously mentioned, the Rottmayr frescos were covered up to exhibit paintings by Belluci which originally belonged to the Stadtpalais.

At the time of the museum opening, the Herkulessaal was classically decorated, however, at the beginning of the 20th century, these changes undone and some neo-Baroque decorations like stucco panels and fireplaces added. Five Franceschini paintings were hung on the inner longitudinal wall and the walls of the gallery rooms were painted in shades of blue and green.

The library
Towards the end of the 19th century, the five open round arches of the Sala Terrena hall on the ground floor were glazed to preserve the interior which had previously been subjected to the weather conditions. In 1897, an elevator was added to bring the visitors to the second floor. Between 1912 and 1914, the princely library containing some 100,000 books from the 15th to 19th century was brought to the Gartenpalais.

In 1938, after the Anschluss of Austria into Nazi-Germany, the Princely Family moved their main residence from Vienna to Liechtenstein and the Gartenpalais was closed. Luckily, they were able to bring their art collection to the Principality prior to the end of the Second World War so that nothing was destroyed. Between 1957 and 1978, the palace was home to the Österreichisches Bauzentrum museum. Subsequently, the Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig Vienna moved in until 2000.

Starting in 2001, the Gartenpalais was thoroughly renovated to fulfill all fire prevention, security and air-conditioning requirements for a modern museum which was to be opened at the palace once again. During the renovations, which cost around 25 million euros paid for by Prince Hans-Adam II, several changes to the palace from previous centuries were undone to create a harmonious whole. After three years of work, the Gartenpalais was re-opened as a museum for the Princely Collection of the House of Liechtenstein including the Golden Carriage of Prince Joseph Wenzel in 2004.

After disappointing numbers of visitors also due to the fact that the palace is located a outside of the usual flow of Vienna tourists, the museum was closed in 2011. Since 2012, the Gartenpalais can be rented as a venue for all kinds events such as gala dinners, weddings, concerts and more. It can still be visited as a museum but only once a month during a guided tour.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Grand Duke Jean Attends Fencing Tournament

Photo: Laurent Blum / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Earlier today, Grand Duke Jean was among the spectators of the Challenge Dr Emile Gretsch fencing tournament at the Centre Sportif Henri Schmitz in Esch-sur-Alzette. Dr Emile Gresch, for whom the tournament is named, wasn't only a three-time Olympian in fencing but also the doctor who delivered all the five children of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duke Jean. Dr Gresch, who died in 2004 at the age of 95, became court physician in 1980. He was later named honorary court physician and has also fought fencing matches against Grand Duke Jean himself.

Pictures of Luxembourg's former head of state at the tournament can be found at Wort.

Guillaume and Stéphanie Join European Unity Walk

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Earlier today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie as well as several Luxembourgish ministers and other politicians joined the European Unity Walk organised by the European Parkinson's Disease Association (EPDA) in order to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and its impact on people living with the disease, their families and society as a whole.

A gallery of visuals of the Unity Walk, which apparently also included some kind of dancing performances by everyone, can be found at Wort. A video can be found at RTL.

The Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple Yesterday

Photo: Guy Seyler / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
After the day before yesterday's visit to Steinfort, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie paid a visit to the Association EPI in Schrassig yesterday. The Association luxembourgeoise pour l'Encouragement, la Promotion et l'Intégration de jeunes et de jeunes adultes en détresse - basically the Luxembourg association for the encouragement, promotion and social integration of youth and young adults in hardship - is a non-profit organisation which aims to defend the interests of young people in distress and tries to promote their social and professional integration in society.

Accompanied by Minister Claude Meisch, the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duchess learned about the different programmes and services offered by the Association EPI during their visit. Subsequently, they also met with a number of teenagers and young adults who have received support by the association in the past.

Thus far, there don't seem to be any visuals of the engagement available yet. As always, we will make sure to post links once they do. -- Update: Some are now available on the website of the cour grand-ducale.

Source: Cour grand-ducale, Association EPI

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beardy Prince

Almost wouldn't have recognised you, Sir: Prince Robert, Grand Duke Henri's cousin, and his new beard recently attended the Biennale des Antiquaires pre-opening at Le Grand Palais in Paris on September 9. He was pictured together with Carrie Perrodo.