Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grand Duke Receives Portuguese Prime Minister



Grand Duke Henri received the Prime Minister of Portugal in audience today. The visit is part of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's two day working visit to Luxembourg. Prime Minister Coelho will meet with many Luxembourgish politicians discussing matters ranging from education to emigration.

Portugal and Luxembourg have a special relationship because more than 16 percent of the population are of Portuguese origin. The Grand Duke is himself descended from King Miguel I of Portugal no less than 3 times!

A photo of the Prime Minister and the Grand Duke shaking hands can be found at the website of the Cour.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stéphanie's First Solo Engagement

The Hereditary Grand Duchess together with Pierre and Anni Rossy of Schroeder Joalliers
(Photo: Guy Wolff / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu)
At what point a new(-ish) princess does her first solo engagement without her hubby, mother-in-law or some other family member by her side always is of quite an interest for many royal watchers. Well, now the wait in Luxembourg's case is over: Probably a little lost in all the trade mission news during the week before last, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie had her first solo engagement when she visited the Uchihara luxury jewellery store in Tokyo to view and promote their section of Schroeder jewellery.

Schroeder Joalliers was established in 1877 by Lambert Schroeder, who had left Luxembourg during the second half of the 19th century and settled in Chicago where he did an apprenticeship but returned to his home country after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While run by the second generation of the family, the jeweller became a purveyor to the Grand Ducal Court in 1920 and remains so to this day.

Though they are probably most famous for their watches (which I bet many of the male members of the Grand Ducal Family wear), Schroeder has also created and adjusted jewellery for at least three generations of grand ducal ladies including Grand Duchess Charlotte, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa over the past almost 100 years. For example, they revised the Emerald Art Deco Tiara by Chaumet in recent years prior to a state visit by the sovereign couple. In addition, they also manufacture orders such as five or six crosses and badges of the Order of the Oak Crown each year.

Now run by the fifth generation of the Schroeder family, Pierre Rossy, and the sixth generation, his daughters Sophie and Anni, also working for the company, Schroeder Joalliers also has a workshop in Paris in addition to its headquarters in Luxembourg's Grand-Rue. The company has expanded heavily during the past few years. Pieces by Schroeder are now also being sold in China, Japan, Russia and the Arab world in addition to several European countries.

Doing her first solo engagement shortly before her second wedding anniversary places Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie pretty much right in the middle of the time it took the European heirs' and newly married rulers' wives of the last decade and a half to firstly venture out of their palaces and castles on their own.

The quickest of all of them was Princess Charlène of Monaco who did her first solo engagement a week after her wedding while still on her honeymoon. Together with her husband she was in South Africa, where Prince Albert attended an IOC meeting, when she flew alone to Noordhoek, Cape Town, and participated in a press conference with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to discuss the charity "The Giving Organisation" (of which they are both co-patrons) five days after her wedding.

Also pretty quick off the blocks were Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who did her first solo engagement on June 14th, 2004, exactly one month after her wedding when she attended the National Pony Championships in Jutlant, as well as the the Duchess of Cornwall, who visited the Southampton General Hospital on May 23, 2005, while her wedding to the Prince of Waled took place on April 9.

In difference, it took the Duchess of Cambridge about half a year before attending her first solo engagement while standing in for her father-in-law who was at a funeral in Saudi Arabia. On October 26, 2011, the Duchess hosted a charity cocktail reception for "In Kind Direct", a patronage of the Prince of Wales, at Clarence House. She was famously married on April 29, 2011.

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands' (at the time still Princess Máxima) first solo appearance, a visit to the Meuse County Hospital in the province of Sittard, occured on August 16, 2003, around 18 months after her (02/02/2002) wedding to the then Prince of Orange.

Coming in seventh place is Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg who had her first solo engagement very recently on October 10, 2014, two years minus eleven days after her civil wedding on October 19, 2012. (Or one year and 355 days if you want to count from the religious wedding a day later.)

Following the Hereditary Grand Duchess in the ranking is Queen Letizia of Spain. The then Princess of Asturias made her first appearance sans her husband, mother-in-law or any other family member accompanying her on October 9, 2006, about two and a half years after her wedding, which took place on May 22, 2004. For her first solo engagement Queen Letizia visited the Pozuela de Alarcon School.

The presumed next on the list is Queen Mathilde of the Belgians. I say presumed because we think that the former Duchess of Brabant's first solo engagement occured in May 2002 as part of the Belgian delegation to a United Nations conference on children, at least according to the information we could locate online. This would be around three years after her wedding which took place on December 4, 1999. [Edited to add: Queen Mathilde's first engagemnt was in fact much earlier, a social visit on February 29th, 2000 to be exact. Many thanks to Jelka of Modekoningin Mathilde for the information!]

Of the woman marrying the rulers, heirs or heir's heirs of Europe within the last one and a half decades, it took Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway the longest time to do her first solo engagement. She married the Crown Prince on August 25, 2001, and did her first solo engagement in January 2005 when visiting Malawi on a charity trip about three and a half years after tieing the knot.

A quick note to end this post: I probably do not need to tell you that we do not take responsibility for the correctness of all the dates mentioned above. Of course we used the utmost care to locate all the correct dates for the first solo engagements of the ladies mentioned above, however, it is entirely possible that one them slipped through our hands. All the information was gathered from painstaking research all over the internet. A very special and huge thank you in this regard goes to Lea, who did the great majority of research going into this post!

LGT Continues to Support Liechtenstein Athletes

Photo: PD / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
It was announced today that the LGT Group will continue to be the main sponsor of the Liechtenstein Skiing Association LSV as well as their current biggest star, Tina Weirather, for the coming next two years. New contracts with Weirather and the LSV president Andreas Wenzel, who is both a two-time Olympic medalist and world champion as well as Weirather's uncle, were already signed last month. In a statement issued today Prince Max was quoted as saying, "Ski sport has always played a major role in our sponsoring strategies. As one of Liechtenstein's biggest companies it is our aim to support sportive further development of our country and skiing offers perfect possibilites to do this."

Pictures and what else Prince Max said can be found both at Vaterland and Volksblatt.

Guillaume and Stéphanie at Syrdall Heem in Oberanven

Today, at 2:30 PM, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Oberanven to attend the 25th anniversary of Syrdall Heem. They were accompanied by Mars di Bartolomeo, the Chairman of the Chambre des Députés.

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie viewed a film that focused on the history of Syrdall Heem, as well as an artistic presentation. To round off the visit, the couple attended a cocktail reception where they helped cut the birthday cake and chatted with the other guests in attendance.

No photos yet, but they’ll be added if any are made available.

Luxembourg-Liechtenstein Relations

Photo: Brigitt Risch / IKR
As unfortunately the Princely Family does not do state visits, the closest thing we will likely get to official fosterings of the state relations between the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg are visits by politicians of one country to the other and audiences of said politicians with the royals. Such thing occured today when Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, visited his Liechtenstein counterpart Aurelia Frick. During his visit to the Principality, Jean Asselborn was also received by Hereditary Prince Alois at Schloss Vaduz.

Volksblatt has a gallery of visuals of the Luxembourgish visit to Liechtenstein and 1 FL TV a video.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Strengthening Liechtenstein-Czech Relations

Photo: Eddy Riesch / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
For the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century relations between Liechtenstein and Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic were literally non-existent as diplomatic relations were only established in 2009. However, the two countries have been making up the lost time with frequent meetings and exchanges during the past half a decade. Today, a high ranking Czech economic delegation visited the Principality once again to intensify relations between the two countries. Naturally, the delegation also met with Hereditary Prince Alois for an exchange of views.

Both Volksblatt and Vaterland have visuals of the day.

Prince Félix, His Trousers and Luxembourgish Wine

Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Today, Prince Félix and his yellow trousers met with representatives of the Organisation Professionelle des Vignerons Indépendants (OPVI) of the Luxembourg Moselle region. The second son of Grand Duke Henri and manager of a wine estate himself was accompanied on his visit to the Domaine Schumacher-Lethal et fils in Wormeldange by the Minister of Agriculture, Fernand Etgen. During his visit Prince Félix was given the honorary title of ambassador of wines and crémants by the independent winemaker association.

Wort in English has more pictures of the visit, as does Wort in German.

Dining with the Best

Photo: Serge Waldbillig / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Last night, Prince Félix was in Luxembourg's only casino in Mondorf-les-Bains not to play some poker but instead attend the Dîner de Gala Euro-Toques 2014. Also among the guests for the presumably delicious gala dinner of the the union of certified Euro-Toques star-restaurants were the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Mars di Bartolomeo, and the Minister of Culture, Maggy Nagel. In March of this year, Daniel Rameau, president of Euro-Toques Luxembourg, visited Prince Félix and Princess Claire at their Château les Crostes in southern France.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Promoting Liechtenstein Wine in Asia

Prince Hans-Adam's daughter-in-law Princess Marie and princely estate manager Simon Klocher were in Hong Kong last week to promote the princely wines in Asia. They continued to be there until at least Saturday when there was a wine tasting with the princess at the Schmidt Vinothek.

The princely family owns two vineyards. Their 40 hectare Austrian vineyard has been owned by the family for more than 600 years and produces Gruner Veltliner, Zweigelt, Merlot, Riesling and Traminer. Their Liechtenstein vineyard produces only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Even though their tiny 4 hectare Liechtenstein vineyard only produces 10,000 bottles a year it may be one of the most expensive vineyards in the world. Property within the principality averages 8,200 Euro (10,463 USD) per square METER! That means that the 4 hectare vineyard is worth a staggering 82,800,000 Euro (105,654,488 USD). The princely estate manager who also traveled with Princess Marie confirmed that it was not possible to increase the size of their Liechtenstein based vineyard, despite demand for their wine, because of the "ridiculously high" property costs.

More of Louis and Tessy's Muddy Adventures

Photo: Claude Piscitelli / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Yesterday, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy took part in the StrongmanRun, a long distance obstale race. So how exactly did the King Prince and Queen Princess of Mud stack up against the rest of the field? Yours truly found out: Louis Nassau came in place 1232 in a time of 03:15:06 in the men's division consisting of 1,809 runners, while Tessy de Nassau was 157th of 423 women in a time of 03:15:07, a second behind her hubby. Even though I have no idea how that stacks up in the grand scheme of the world's StrongmanRunners, all kudos to them for participating in (and finishing) the race! Both their efforts raised money for Veterans Aid.