Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wedding of Princess Amélia de Orléans e Bragança

L-R: Anunciata & Astrid of Liechtenstein, the bride and groom, Xenia of Croÿ & Ludwig of Bavaria, Charlotte of Nassau
Photos: Point de Vue
On August 16, Princess Amélia de Orléans e Bragança, daughter of Prince Antônio and his wife née Princess Christine de Ligne and thus granddaughter of Grand Duke Jean's sister Princess Alix, married Alexander James Spearman at the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in Rio de Janeiro. Among those who attended the Brazilian nuptials were Princess Anunciata and Princess Astrid, daughters of Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus, as well as Princess Charlotte, daughter of Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla.

Several other Luxembourg descendants, such as Princess Xenia of Croÿ and Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, great-grandchildren of Princess Antonia of Luxembourg, or Countess Sophie de Nicolay and her sons Count François and Count Guy as well as Prince Michel de Ligne, his wife Princess Eleonora and their children Princess Alix and Prince Henri (all of them descendants of Princess Alix of Luxembourg), were also among the guests of the wedding.

Lastly because many people are always interested in these matters, Princess Amélia's dress was a creation of British designer Emilia Wickstead and her diamond tiara came from her mother's family, the House of Ligne. For more guests and information, have a look at The Royal Resource.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Schloss Biebrich

Photos: Luxarazzi
Schloss Biebrich, or Biebrich Palace, owes its existence to Count Georg August Samuel of Nassau-Idstein. Upon his appointment to the official role of prince in 1688, he decided to expand his domestic situation to better reflect his new status.

Count Georg August Samuel commissioned architect Julius Ludwig Rothwell to construct his new Baroque masterpiece in Biebrich. He had originally relocated from Idstein to Wiesbaden, the modern-day capital of Hesse, but he later moved his seat of power to the nearby Biebrich, which today is a part of Wiesbaden, in the Rhine Valley.

The palace was completed in 1702, although a second structure, identical to the first, was added in 1706. The first part of the palace, known as the West Pavilion, became Count Georg August Samuel’s stomping-ground, while the East Pavilion was reserved for his wife Henriette Dorothea, born Princess of Oettingen-Oettingen.

In 1707, the count commissioned architect Johann Maximilian von Welsch to unite the West Pavilion with the East Pavilion. The result joined each pavilion with a long gallery that ended in a rotunda. Inside this rotunda was the count’s ballroom, while a private chapel lay beneath the ballroom.

The style of Schloss Biebrich, built as it was at the beginning of the eighteenth century, reflects Baroque architecture at its height. A grand staircase in the West Pavilion, with its large painting of Count Georg August Samuel and his family, still hints at the original richness of décor. Speaking of paintings, another feature of Biebrich Palace is the elaborate fresco featuring Aeneas at Mount Olympus on the ceiling of the rotunda that joins West Pavilion and East Pavilion.

Other Baroque features include the rich color that adorns the outside of the palace, as well as the general opulence inside. The count’s status called for elaborate state rooms in the new palace, another attribute of Baroque style.

Count Georg August Samuel and Henriette Dorothea had twelve children, three of them sons, but sadly none of the sons survived childhood. As a result, the count’s death from smallpox in 1721 ended his family line, and the title passed to the Dukes of Nassau-Usingen. The new successor, Prince Karl of Nassau-Usingen chose Schloss Biebrich as his primary residence, and in 1734, he commissioned architect Friedrich Joachim Michael Stengel to add two more wings to the burgeoning palace.

The main construction ended around 1750, and no further changes were made until landscape architect Friedrich Ludwig von Schell designed the gardens in 1817. Additionally, a large staircase descending to the Rhine was added in 1824.

Schloss Biebrich remained the primary residence of the Dukes of Nassau until the construction of the Wiesbaden City Palace, or Wiesbaden Stadtschloss. At that point, the Biebrich Palace became the summer residence of the Nassau-Usingen and Nassau-Weilberg dukes.

In 1890, Duke Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg became Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and at that point Schloss Biebrich passed into the history of the Luxembourg royals. The palace remained a family retreat until 1935, when Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg officially sold the palace to Prussia. It suffered damage during World War II and then fell into disrepair for several decades. The palace was not restored until the early 1980s. At that time, the State of Hesse took over renovations and made Biebrich Palace the current home of Hesse’s historic preservation agency. The palace garden is currently open to the public, and rooms within the palace itself may be rented for conferences or other events.

Princely Chocolate

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Things I never knew existed, Liechtensteiner Fürstenhütchen. Literally prince's or princely little hats or cones, Fürstenhütchen are delicate chocolates filled with melting hazelnut cream made by Swiss chocolatiers according to an original Liechtenstein recipe. Traditionally made out of milk chocolate, starting tomorrow there is also a version with dark chocolate available, and Prince Hans-Adam II was one of the first ones to receive these new sweets from Daniel Herzog of the Hedaco International AG which produces the chocolates. While Schloss Vaduz is usually featured on the chocolate boxes, there is also one available with Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie on it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Americans in Liechtenstein

Photo: Roland Korner / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
This week, a group of 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 where they obviously enjoyed a drink and had a chat. (At least judging by the picture above.)

Source: Vaterland

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Attendance By Video

Between August 17 and 20, the World Dyslexia Forum took place in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. While searching for a possible attendance by Princess Margaretha, who is the patron of UNESCO's Dyslexia International, I actually discovered that Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa gave the welcome and opening remarks. However, she did not do so in person but by video instead. The Grand Duchess has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1997.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Prince Franz I of Liechtenstein

When Prince Johann II died in 1929 after having reigned over the Principality of Liechtenstein for 70 years, the throne was inherited by his younger brother Prince Franz. However, the headship of the House of Liechtenstein went to the future Prince Franz Josef II. This was the first and only time in history that the House and Principality of Liechtenstein were headed by two different people.

Born on August 28, 1853, at Schloss Liechtenstein in Maria Enzersdorf close to the ancestral home of the princely family south of Vienna, Prince Franz de Paula Maria Karl August was the second son and youngest of eleven children of Prince Alois II and his wife née Countess Franziska Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau. His father's death when he was only five years old marked the infant prince. His mother went into mourning for many years and the relationship with his older brother remained distant.

The young prince was privately educated together with his older sister, Princess Therese, and later attended the Schottengymnasium in Vienna. After graduating from high school, he studied law at the universities of Prague and Vienna. After the end of his studies, he entered the civil services and served as an attaché in the Austro-Hungarian embassy in Brussels for three years between 1879 and 1882.

Upon his brothers request he returned to Vienna and began to work in the management of the Liechtenstein family's own properties. In addition, he started to represent the family on various occassions, something the unsociable Prince Johann II did not enjoy doing. Prince Franz, however, had a very different character and always needed to have lots of people around him. Working for the family left him a lot of free time and so he extensively travelled in both Austria and abroad to learn about art and history.

In the summer of 1888, he entered the Austro-Hungarian military out of of sense of duty. Wilhelm II had just become the German Emperor and his change in policy intensified tensions between the German and the Russian Empires and a fear of war, during which Austria would have fought alongside the Germans, ensured. Prince Franz enlisted in a shooting battalion but quit again when chances of a war were over.

Prince Franz in Liechtenstein
However, he did come close to the Russians in another way. On December 5th, 1894, Prince Franz became the new ambassador of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Russia. After the resignation of the preceding ambassador, the Austrian Emperor wished for someone to take over the post who had already made a name for himself at the tsar's court. The Mürzsteg Agreement signed between the Austro-Hungarian and the Russian Empires was largely drawn up by Prince Franz. After five years he resigned from his post in St Petersburg after disagreements with the Austrian leadership over an alliance with Russia on December 9th, 1899. He subsequently moved to Schloss Wartenstein in Lower Austria and spent his winters in Florence.

Having always had a great interest in both history and Eastern Europe, Prince Franz played an instrumental role in the establishment of the chair of East European studies at the university of Vienna in 1907. The former ambassador to Russia gifted the chair with 10,000 books he had previously bought from Russian historian Vasili Bilbasov. In addition, Prince Franz  was also a supporter of the Archive of Modern History of Austria, the New Austrian Biography, as well as cultural heritage preservation. Being a member of the building commission of Schloss Vaduz between 1904 and 1914, ideally prepared him for his future role as president of the "Imperial and Royal Central Committee for the Study and Preservation of Cultural and Historical Landmarks".

For his efforts he was appointed as a honorary member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He was also made a hereditary peer of House of Lords of the Austrian Imperial Council by Emperor Franz Joseph. Rumours in Vienna had it that Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose murder sparked the First World War, wanted to make Prince Franz chancellor once he took the throne. In 1917, he became the 1204th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Prince Franz I and Princess Elsa
When Prince Johann II died on February 11th, 1929, his younger brother ascended to the throne as Prince Franz I. He was the first Fürst to take a greater interest in the country and regularly spent time in the Principality, which he had already started to get to know during regular visits while Schloss Vaduz was renovated. The same year he came to the throne, he married Elisabeth "Elsa" von Gutmann.

While their marriage was seen as a bit of a mésalliance by parts of the Princely Family and not welcomed by nationalistic forces in Liechtenstein, the general population liked their Fürst and Fürstin who regularly spent time in the Principality probably also due to the fact that they were very generous in donating to various causes. (More about their courtship, marriage and why Princess Elsa wasn't welcomed by everyone in an upcoming edition of Luxarazzi 101.)

On March 30th, 1938, Prince Franz I appointed his great-nephew, the future Prince Franz Josef II, as his regent. Even though already 84 years old, Prince Franz died unexpectedly quickly on July 25th that same year while staying at Schloss Feldsberg today known as Valtice. His body was laid in repose at the castle chapel of Lednice and four days later buried at the princely crypt in Vranov near Brno. He was the last Liechtenstein ruler to be buried in what is now the Czech Republic.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

At Home and Not Too Far Away From It

Photo: Christian Flemming / Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings
The 5th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences is currently taking place at Lake Constance in Germany, just a little more than a stone's throw away from Liechtenstein. On Tuesday, Hereditary Prince Alois was among those to attend the opening where he was pictured with Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg and some other probably very famous gentleman I don't recognise. This year's Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences is attended by no less than 18 Nobel Laureates and 460 young scientists, plus a few other people as you can see above. For more pictures, have a look here

Today, Austria's minister of justice, Wolfgang Brandstetter, was on a visit to Liechtenstein (and he will continue to do so for the upcoming days as a meeting of the German-speaking ministers of justice is taking place in Vaduz tomorrow and the day after that). On the agenda of the Austrian politician was a visit to Schloss Vaduz where he was received by Hereditary Prince Alois. Pictures of it are available at Volksblatt.

Royally Speaking with Rebecca of Royal Hats

Photo: Rex Features
I have a confession to make: When it comes to royal hats, I have a thing for the slightly wacky. While I didn't care for her hat at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding, I actually loved Princess Beatrice's butterfly explosion from a few years ago. Is there an unconventional royal hat that you can't help but love?
I was very fortunate to try on the same "Butterfly explosion" (designed by Philip Treacy) in the hat department at Harrods a decade ago and it was absolutely magnificent in person! I think most royal hat followers have a soft spot for wacky millinery and I am no exception. My wacky hat crush is Queen Máxima. She has worn some dramatic and outrageous millinery but has done so with such style confidence. I often don't like her hats but always admire her ability to carry them off as beautifully and successfully as she does.

Who is your favourite hatter of the Grand Ducal Family and why?
Unlike their counterparts in Britain or the Netherlands, members of the Grand Ducal Family are not a hat wearing bunch. While the Grand Duchess wears a hand full of hats during the year for official royal or state visits, the remaining family members sport millinery just for the Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg, the country's National Day and for family weddings. 
Princess Sibilla in a Dillon Wallwork hat
(Photo: Zimbio)
Despite this, I do admire Princess Sibilla's millinery style. She wears large scale hats with sweeping brims in classic shapes with simple embellishment, often designed by British milliner Dillon Wallwork. Princess Sibilla's hats add to her statuesque elegance and she wears them so very, very well. Princess Tessy has chosen more bold hats in recent years which is great fun to see; I am also fascinated to watch Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie's millinery style develop. For Luxembourg National Day this year, the Grand Duchess wore a hat by British milliner Gina Foster and I thought it was one of the best hats she has worn in recent memory.

Have hats always been your topic of choice when it came to royals or was it somehow a progression from another interest in royalty?
My mother, aunts and grandmother have been loyal followers of the British Royal Family for more than sixty years. They collected books and magazines featuring Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother and other members of the family; as a very young girl, I paged through those books many, many, MANY times! Royal watching became a popular hobby in the 1980s when Princess Diana joined the family and the whole world closely watched what she wore. As a young girl during this time, I admired the clothes and amazing jewels but was always fascinated by the hats.

Photo: Dutch Photo Press
If you could design one hat for one royal, which royal would it be and what would the hat look like?
I would love to see Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie adopt a more youthful millinery style that shows off her delicate features to greater effect. This might be thinking too far outside the royal fashion box but there are a number of Australian milliners doing incredibly beautiful work that never appears on a royal head. How marvelous would it be to see the Hereditary Grand Duchess develop a collaborative relationship with one of these talented designers (similar to those between the Duchess of Cornwall and Irish milliner Philip Treacy, the Countess of Wessex and British milliner Jane Taylor or Queen Mathilde and Belgian designer Fabienne Delvigne).

Lastly, if you could invite six royals (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would find an invitation in their mailbox?
There are six particularly fearless royal hat wearers who immediately come to mind: Queen Elizabeth, Princess Beatrix, Queen Mathilde, Queen Máxima, the Countess of Wessex and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai. I would love to hear each of these royal ladies' approach to hat wearing, their funniest stories involving hats and how much input they have (or would like to have) in the design process. Of course, dinner would not be complete without asking about their favourite and least favourite hats.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Bulgarian Fringe Tiara

Princess Marie and Prince Gundakar of Liechtenstein recently marked their silver wedding anniversary with a mass in the Lower Austrian village of St. Christophen celebrated by the auxiliary bishop of Salzburg, Andreas Laun. Here at Luxarazzi, we are going to have some celebrations of our own by having a look at the wedding tiara worn by Princess Marie on her big day.
Sophie of Württemberg, Marie of Liechtenstein, Maria Luisa of Bulgaria, Margarethe of Württemberg
Prince Gundakar, a second cousin of Prince Hans-Adam II, and his wife née Princess Marie of Orléans, oldest daughter of Prince Henri, Count of Paris and his first wife Duchess Marie Thérèse of Württemberg, tied the knot on July 29, 1989, in Friedrichhafen on the German side of Lake Constance. Their choice of wedding venue - the childhood home of Princess Marie's mother - caused quite a fuss with the bride's family - more on it here - and so it might not be the biggest surprise that she chose (or wasn't given the chance to chose) a tiara not traditionally associated with the Orléans family.

Instead, the wore a diamond fringe tiara that seems to have originated with Princess Maria Luisa of Bulgaria. Born as the eldest daughter of Duke Robert I of Parma, and thus an older half-sister of Empress Zita of Austria and Prince Felix of Luxembourg, she was the first wife of Prince Regnant Ferdinand of Bulgaria, who would go on to become the country's tsar after her death.

In 1924, Princess Maria Luisa's daughter Nadezhda married Duke Albrecht Eugen of Württemberg. Both the couple's daughters, Duchess Margarethe and Duchess Sophie of Württemberg, wore their grandmother's fringe tiara for their weddings, as apparently did their first cousin once removed Princess Marie of Orléans at her wedding to Prince Gundakar of Liechtenstein.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Giving the Swedes a Run for Their Money

Point de Vue / Exclusiv
Showing that not only the Swedes can recycle children's clothes worn (more than a) decade(s) ago were the Liechtensteins, or more precisely Sophie von Lattorff, on the Principality's national day last Friday. The youngest daughter of Princess Tatjana and her husband Philipp von Lattorff wore the same dress (minus the sash) as Princess Marie-Caroline, only daughter of Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie, or one of the other flower girls at the wedding of young Sophie's parents 15 years ago.

Speaking of the lot, check out Exclusiv's very lovely galleries of visuals of this year's national day in which you can see a seemingly ageless Princess Tatjana, her children, Hereditary Prince Alois talking to his daughter and Countess Giorgiana of Arco, Prince Stefan, Prince Michael and his daughters Gisela and Thera, lots of waving, fair fun, a princely selfie and so much more! Also have a look at this video by 1 FL TV featuring interviews with Prince Hans-Adam and Hereditary Prince Alois as well as quite a bit of footage of the Princely Family during the morning activities.