Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guillaume and Stéphanie in Dubai

The Hereditary Grand Ducal Couple with Obaid Humaid Al Tayer (L) and Pierre
Gramegna (R) / Source: Cour grand-ducale
Today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Dubai for their ongoing visit to the Middle East. Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, has accompanied the hereditary grand ducal couple as part of a 60-person financial delegation to strengthen ties between Luxembourg and Islamic banking institutions.

They were received by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the Minister of Finance for the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, they met with Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.

The day's events included a seminar entitled "Dubai and Luxembourg: Partnering to Bring you Global Opportunities" which was organized jointly by Luxembourg for Finance and Dubai International Finance Centre. Among the purposes of the seminar is presenting Luxembourg as a leading center for Islamic finance in Europe, as well as discussing evolving financial technologies.

The next stop for the Luxembourg financial delegation is Qatar, on March 4th and 5th.

More photos on the Cour website, and further information about the visit on Wort. Some postings on Twitter can be found here, here, and here.

Hereditary Grand Duke Hands Out Diplomas

Photo: Blitz Agency 2015
Before he headed off the Middle East for an economic mission, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume handed out 662 diplomas for successfully passed apprenticehship exams to some presumably very happy Luxembourgers, who just ended their apprenticeships in retail, industry, hotel business, gastronomy, service and the socio-pedagogical sector, on Sunday. 74 of the apprentices were awarded with the special Promotion du Travail certificate for outstanding accomplishments. The Hereditary Grand Duke was accompanied by Minister Nicolas Schmit and Claude Meisch for the event.

Pictures are available at Wort and the cour.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Guillaume and Stéphanie in the Middle East

Source: Cour grand-ducale / MFIN
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie are currently in the United Arab Emirates with a delegation of 60 representatives from Luxembourg. The goal is to forge stronger financial ties between Luxembourg and the Middle East and attract Islamic investors to Luxembourg. Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna is accompanying them for the visit, which will include seminars organized by Luxembourg for Finance.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie are scheduled to be in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from March 1st to March 3rd and then travel to Qatar for a visit from March 4th to March 5th.

More about the trip here and here. A photo that includes Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie is also available from the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance's Twitter page.

Grand Duke Awards Former IOC President with Order

Photo: 2015 Cour grand-ducale
Today, Grand Duke Henri received Count Jacques Rogge, who served as the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for twelve years between 2001 and 2013, for an audience at château de Berg, the Grand Ducal Family's residence. On the occasion, the Grand Duke awarded Count Rogge with the Grand Cross of the Civil and Military Order of Merit of Adolph of Nassau.

Grand Duke Henri himself has been a member of the International Olympic Committe since February 1998 following in his own father's footsteps.

The Order awarded to Jacques Rogge recognises, in addition to foreign heads of state, individuals for their meritorious service to the Grand Duke, the Grand Ducal House and Luxembourg, as well as for their outstanding loyalty to the Grand Duke or his House. The order also rewards those who have excelled in the arts and sciences, as it does residents of Luxembourg or foreign nationals as a sign of benevolence.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: House of Kinsky

About time we added a new topic to the Luxarazzi 101 mix methinks and indeed we are going to do so with the dear relatives of the Grand Ducal and Princely Families. First up is the House of Kinsky that provided the Princely Family of Liechtenstein with not one but two Fürstins (or Fürstinnen for all you German-speaking people out there.) Plus, there were also two Liechtenstein princesses who married into the Kinsky family. So as you can see, the relations are numerous.

Legend has it that the story of the Kinsky family started more than 1000 years ago when a beautiful King's daughter went out hunting in the forest where she was attacked by a pack of wolves. Everyone but a young man fled the scene and left the beautiful princess to herself. That young man, however, killed off some of the wolves and fought off the rest and thus saved the princess. For his heroic actions, the young man was enobled by the princess' father and given a coat of arms featuring three wolves' teeth. (Though some other sources actually claim that the teeth on the coat of arms are bear teeth.)

In all reality, the Kinsky family's history can be traced back to around the year 1150 while they were firstly mentioned on May 16, 1237. The family's original name was Wchynsky after the village of Vchynice (or Wchinitz) in northern Bohemia. It later evolved via Chynsky to Kinsky, the latter one used since at least 1628.

In 1596, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II confirmed the noble rank of the family and united the names Wchynitz and Tettau names in a so-called Letter of Majesty. In the same letter, the family is elevated from the rank of a knight to the rank of barons. Radslav Wchynsky, called "the Rich", was one of the ten richest and most influential men in the country at the time. It was due to his efforts that his family was ennobled by Emperor Rudolph II, who was in need of his support.

The rise of the family to great prominence began in the turbulent era of religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants which finally led Bohemia and Europe into the Thirty Years' War. Some of Radslav’s nephews took an active part in the war: While Wenzel was a Catholic and councillor and chamberlain of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias, his brother Wilhelm (Vilém) was a Protestant and friend and in-law of Wallenstein. While he did take part in the Protestant revolt against Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, which culminated in the 1618 Defenestration of Prague, his friendship with Wallenstein saved him from the expropriation faced by other Protestant nobles. In 1628, he was even raised to the rank of a Count though murdered six years later alongside Wallenstein had Cheb Castle. He was the first one to take the name Kinsky. A third brother, Ulrich, also took part on the Defenestration of Prague but already died before the Battle of White Mountain.

Wenzel's son Johann Oktavian entered the services of the Austrian crown just like his Catholic father had done. (Another family whose star began to rise around this time was in fact the Liechtensteins.) In 1676, the Emperor Leopold I confirmed the countly status given to his uncle of Johann Oktavian and his descendants. In the following decades, many Kinskys served the Habsburg rulers in the diplomatic and military services. One branch of the family was even elevated to the status of Princes of the Holy Roman Empire by Empress Maria Theresa in 1747. The members of the Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau family continued to occupy high military and diplomatic posts until the end of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918.

After the end of the Second World War, estates of the princely (Choceň) branch of the family were confiscated under the Beneš decrees, as the late Prince Ulrich (1893–1938) was reproached with his declared German nationality and active collaboration with the Sudeten German Party. Estates of the other branches of the Kinsky family, Kostelec and Chlumec, which had been confiscated by the Nazis during the German occupation, were returned after 1945, but then confiscated again, this time by the ruling Communist Party in 1948. After the fall of Communism, several possessions were restored to the latter two branches of the family.

And now onto the Kinsky-Liechtenstein relations: The first Kinsky to marry into the Princely Family was Countess Franziska Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau, who married Prince Alois II in 1831. Today's Princess of Liechtenstein, Marie, is also a born Countess Kinsky. The other way around, there were Princess Maria Josepha of Liechtenstein (1835-1905) who married Prince Ferdinand Bonaventura Kinsky (1834-1905) as well as Princess Maria Christina of Liechtenstein (1741-1819) who was married to Count Franz Ferdinand Kinsky (1738-1806). And if that still isn't enough for you, the maternal grandmother of Prince Hans-Adam II was also a born Kinsky.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Alois and Sophie Watch The Gypsy Baron

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie were among those to view the premiere of "The Gypsy Baron" by Johann Strauss, the Son in Vaduz this evening. They were joined by the President of Parliament Albert Frick, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture Aurelia Frick, as well as Vaduz mayor Ewald Ospelt. Liechtenstein's Operettenbühne operetta stage celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. 

Pictures can be viewed at Vaterland.

Grand Duke Meets New and Old Ambassadors

Photo: Republic of Togo
On Wednesday, Grand Duke Henri received outgoing U.S. ambassador Robert A. Mandell for a farewell audience. Mandell has served as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg for the past three and a half years and will now return home. In addition, new ambassadors of Sri Lanka, Mauritania, Togo (Kokou Nayo Mbeou, above together with Grand Duke Henri), Slovakia and Zimbabwe presented their letters of credence to the Grand Duke on Wednesday as well.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Grand Duke to Visit Cabo Verde

Grand Duke Henri will make a three-day official visit to the Republic of Cabo Verde between March 10 and 12. He will not be accompanied by the Grand Duchess on this visit. The delegation will also consist of Romain Schneider in his function as Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action and Francine Closener, Secretary of State in the Ministry of the Economy. The trio will visit the islands of Santiago, Santo Antão and São Vicente. Around 7,000 people from Cabo Verde, an island country of the Western coast of Africa, live in the Grand Duchy.

Blog Selected by Luxemburger Wort

Photo: Screenshot Wort.lu
You might have noticed that something about the blog has changed during the past few days. No, we neither added a new royal family to cover nor did we invent a new feature or gave the blog a visual make-over. Instead, we added a badge of the right hand side: Blog selected by Luxemburger Wort the Grand Duchy's biggest newspaper. 

As the badge says, Luxarazzi is one of a number of blogs selected by the English-language version of Luxemburger Wort's online version, Wort.lu, to be featured in a special section on their website, the Blogosphere. The aim of the new Wort.lu section is to group "the most useful or entertaining blogs about Luxembourg in one place". Naturally, we are thrilled to be included in this group. So, head over to Wort and check out the other featured blogs.

Luxarazzi 101: Queen Fabiola's Circle Earrings

84 days ago today, Queen Fabiola of Belgium passed away. Today, we are going to remember her in a way I'm not quite sure she would have liked to be remembered by, some of her jewels: A pair of three circle earrings adorned by a multitude of coloured and non-coloured stones, namely diamonds, rubies and emeralds. These earrings, which don't seem to be old heirloom pieces, are today owned by Princess Margaretha, Queen Fabiola's niece. 

Princess Margaretha first publicly wore her aunt's circle earrings for the traditional mass for deceased members of the Belgian royal family in February of last year, even before Queen Fabiola's death. After Belgium's former Queen passed away on December 5th, there was much speculation as to what would happen to her jewels. Especially as it had been announced that all her private possessions would go to the Hulpfonds van de Koningin, a charity she set up at the time of her wedding in 1960. However, considering that Princess Margaretha owns some of her aunts jewels and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians does as well, I like to think that Queen Fabiola simply gifted her jewels to her nieces and nieces-in-law during the last years of her life. I guess that time will only tell though.