Monday, August 3, 2015

More from the Borromeo/Casiraghi Wedding

How life goes... My goal was to find a better picture of Prince Félix at this weekend's wedding of Beatrice Borromeo and Pierre Casiraghi but instead I learned that 1) Princess Thera of Liechtenstein, who you might recall from other weddings, was also present; that 2) Prince Amedeo of Belgium and his wife Elisabetta were among the guests, too; that 3) you can be the chairman of one of Italy's biggest companies (John Elkann) but that you still have to carry your wives luggage; that 4)  Sacha Casiraghi is pretty cute; 5) that Beatrice Borromeo at the evening reception reminded me of a young Queen Paola of Belgium; and so on, and on, and on.

Plus, I also found this:
On the left, quite visibly, Princess Anunciata, daughter of Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha, with a tiny peek of Princess Claire behind her. If you care to look past Eugenie Niarchos, you can also spot Claire in soft pink in the picture on the right. Alas still no photo - if you do not count the hair and the arm on the left picture - of Prince Félix (that I could locate), but I'm fine with a good picture of Anunciata, we get those much less than good pictures of Félix and Claire. Still, if you found better ones of Félix and Claire, you know where to find us! 

Photos: CTK, SGT

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (12): Citrine or Topaz Tiara vs. Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara

Previously on The Luxarazzi Tiara Race: Poor Floral Button Tiara (understandably) never stood any chance whatsoever against the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara only gathering some 22 votes against the 458 its opponent got.
Today's match though, I predict, will be a much closer one. Heading off against each other are the Citrine or Topaz and Pearl Tiara, which has seen a bit of a renaissance within the Grand Ducal Family during the last few years, and the Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara, which we shamefully have no own post about, but a little more information nonetheless in our post about the Grand Ducal Tiara Collection. Tell us...

Voting closes on Wednesday night.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

New Picture of Prince Louis

Photo: Hana Noguchi /
Cour grand-ducale
No actual royal sighting but we'll have to make use of what we get these days... On Monday, Prince Louis turns 29 and (I think) the cour grand-ducale has added a new picture of the third son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa to his biography on the official website. 

I say 'I think' because I don't check the biography section of the website that often but I'm fairly certain I haven't seen it before. In any case, happy birthday to His Royal Highness, may he have a lovely day with his wife, kids and whoever else is invited to the party.

Luxembourgs and a Liechtenstein at the Casiraghi/Borromeo Wedding

Photo: Willi Schneider / REX
Today, Pierre Casiraghi, son of Princess Caroline of Hanover (and Monaco), married his longtime girlfriend, Italian aristocrat Beatrice Borromeo on Isola Bella, one of the Borromean Islands on Lago Maggiore in Italy. Among the guests for the nuptials were Prince Félix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg as well as Princess Maria-Anunciata of Liechtenstein. 

While Claire and Anunciata are rather clearly visible in the picture above (together with Prince Christian of Hanover and his girlfriend Alessandra de Osma), Félix can be spied in this one. I kinda have the suspicion that someone else of the Luxo-Liechtenstein clan was present but I'll need to see better pictures to confirm. So keep your fingers crossed, that there will actually be more.

Luxarazzi 101: Kathedrale St. Florin

For a long time, Schaan, the biggest one of Liechtenstein's municipalities, was the country's religious centre. Today, however, it lies within the Principality's capital, Vaduz: The Cathedral of St. Florin, or Kathedrale St. Florin in German, is the centre of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vaduz, which was established not too long ago. As it is Liechtenstein's most famous church, it is occassionally mentioned here on Luxarazzi. High time to have a closer look...

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
On the site of today's cathedral, a chapel was once located. Also dedicated to Florinus of Remüs - a 9th century saint of the Catholic church -, this chapel was once the final resting place of the lords of the county of Vaduz, the Counts of Werdenberg, the Barons of Brandis as well as the Counts of Sulz and Hohenems. At this time, however, the chapel in Vaduz still belonged to the parish church of St. Peter located in aforementioned Schaan. When the Princely Family of Liechtenstein purchased the areas which later became Liechtenstein, they also gained the right of patronage for the church.

By 1842, a quasi-parish - a definite community of the Christian faithful in a particular church, entrusted to a priest as its proper pastor but not yet erected as a parish because of particular circumstances - was founded in Vaduz. In 1868, the decision was made that an actual parish should be established and a church would be build in the village. Prince Johann II, who was nicknamed "the Good" by his people and wished to gift the chief village of his Principality an own church, paid for three quarters of the costs.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Architect Friedrich von Schmidt, who constructed no less than 125 churches in his life and also worked on Vienna's town hall as well as  Cologne cathedral, was commissioned to come up with plans. They were carried out by Ignaz von Banko starting on August 17, 1869. The topping out ceremony of the three-aisled Neo-Gothic church was celebrated in June of the following year. The church's three altars were consecrated in October 1873.

Next to the church, the Princely Burial Crypt is located. Prior to the Second World War, members of the Princely Family were buried in what today is the Czech Republic. Due to the War, the following Cold War and the family generally making Liechtenstein their primary home, there was a need for a new crypt. And so the Princely Burial Crypt was erected in 1960. It is the final resting place of more than 30 members of the Liechtenstein family including Prince Franz Josef II, Princess Gina and Princess Elsa.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
St. Florin has also been the site of more happy princely occasions, like the weddings of Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie as well as Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie, for example.

Now you might have wondered by now, why we have mostly referred to St. Florin as a church instead of cathedral througout most of this post... Well, it did not become a cathedral until 1997. Prior to December of that year, Vaduz as well as the whole of Liechtenstein were part of the Swiss Diocese of Chur. On December 2, 1997, Pope John Paul II erected the Archdiocese of Vaduz (against the wish of the Prince, the parliament and a petition signed by about a third of all Catholics in Liechtenstein. For some 1,500 odd years, Vaduz had been part of the Diocese of Chur but the Vatican basically needed a new place for Bishop Wolfgang Haas, a Liechtensteiner by birth, to resolve tensions within the Swiss diocese.) In late December, the church was raised to the dignity of a cathedral and has since become known as the Kathedrale St. Florin.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Prince Alois of Liechtenstein & Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria

Two of the most influential historic figures in the Liechtenstein princely family never reigned, but nevertheless became the ancestors of the current ruling line through a unique set of circumstances designed to save the family fortunes.  They were among the first members of the Princely Family to live in the country full-time, and their marriage brought significant attention, glamour, and even a little controversy to the Principality. Today we'll be looking into the lives of Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and Archduchess Elisabeth Amalie of Austria, the parents of Franz Josef II.

Born on June 17, 1869, in Hollenegg, Austria, Prince Alois was the second son and fourth child of Prince Alfred of Liechtenstein (grandson of Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein) and Princess Henriette of Liechtenstein (daughter of Prince Alois II of Liechtenstein).  Alois was born and raised in Vienna, as were many members of the Liechtenstein princely family at that time. He attended the Schottengymnasium, a prestigious Catholic primary and secondary school in Vienna, where Alois was known as quiet, studious, and a bit of a bookworm.

Alois in his military days
Upon completion of his education, Alois joined the Austrian Army as part of the Imperial and Royal Uhlans, a division of the cavalry. He served as a captain and later a lieutenant colonel in Slovenia and Hungary, continuing on during World War I when he earned the respect of his troops.

Elisabeth was born in Reichenau, Lower Austria, on July 7, 1878.  She was the younger of two daughters of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria (brother of Emperor Franz Joseph) and his third wife, Infanta Maria Theresa of Portugal.  Elisabeth's sister, Maria Annunziata, was two years older. Elisabeth also had several half-siblings from her father's second marriage, the most notable being Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose murder sparked the First World War. Elisabeth's mother fulfilled most of the official duties of Empress Elisabeth at court, after the latter avoided Vienna following the death of her son Rudolf in 1889.  As such, Elisabeth grew up at the Imperial Court and was present at many of its functions prior to her marriage.

Elisabeth (r) with Maria Annunziata
Elisabeth, along with her mother and sister, were the only members of the Imperial family present at the July 1900 wedding of her half-brother Franz Ferdinand to Sophie Chotek, a Czech countess. Maria Theresa was one of the few Austrian Imperials to support the morganatic marriage. Ironically, the scandal caused by Franz Ferdinand's marriage would have an unexpectedly positive effect on Elisabeth's choice for a spouse.

It is unknown how Elisabeth and Alois first met, but given Alois' presence in Vienna and Elisabeth's prominence at the Imperial Court, it was likely the two first became acquainted at a court function. Rumors of a Liechtenstein-Austrian engagement began to appear in the press during the middle of 1902, when it was reported that a marriage was being arranged between Elisabeth and Johannes of Liechtenstein, Alois' younger brother.

At around the same time, the press was eager to set Elisabeth up with at least one other Catholic prince. In August 1902, Austrian newspaper Neues Wiener Tagblatt reported that an engagement between the princess and her distant cousin, Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará, was forthcoming.  Pedro was the son of Isabel, the heiress to the defunct Brazilian imperial throne. Pedro later made a morganatic marriage to a Czech countess.  

The engagement between Alois and Elisabeth was announced on November 8, 1902, at Schloss Laxenburg, one of the summer palaces of the Imperial family.  Prince Johann II gave permission for the marriage a few days later as a matter of course.

Alois and Elisabeth at the time of their engagement
There was naturally concern at first that the marriage would be unequal, being that Alois had long held Austrian citizenship. Marriage to one of Elisabeth uncle's subjects would have rendered the union unequal in terms of rank. This would have meant Elisabeth would be forced to give up her Imperial status.  Maria Theresa was prepared to use her good relationship with Emperor Franz Joseph to convince him that as Alois did come from a regnant house, and so the marriage would be equal. For his part, Alois had already planned to smooth the way by relinquishing his Austrian citizenship in favor of Liechtenstein citizenship granted by Johann II.

Emperor Franz Joseph, however, was delighted that his niece wished to marry an actual prince following the scandal of Franz Ferdinand's controversial marriage. Franz Joseph gave his blessing for the union and was even present at Laxenburg when the engagement was announced.

Alois and Elisabeth married in Vienna on April 20, 1903, with the Emperor in attendance.  The couple honeymooned at Schloss Feldburg in Lower Austria, the main home of then ruling Prince Johann II.  Johann was reportedly so excited about his cousin's marriage to a member of the Imperial family that he "sent the bride the most magnificent presents."  Among these gifts were an exquisite diamond tiara in an arabesque shape. The tiara features two solitaires, one in the center of a diamond rosette and the second at the top of the tiara. The current whereabouts of this tiara are unknown.  

The couple's first child, the future Franz Josef II of Liechtenstein, was born at Schloss Frauenthal on August 16, 1906.  Alois and Elisabeth named him Franz Josef, in honor of the Emperor and uncle who helped ensure the marriage was considered equal. The elder Franz Joseph stood godfather for his grand nephew and namesake.

Aloys and Elisabeth with baby Franz Josef
Alois and Elisabeth had seven other children after Franz Josef:

- Maria Theresia (1908-1973)
- Karl Alfred (1910-1985)
- Georg Hartmann (1911-1998)
- Ulrich Dietmar (1913-1978)
- Marie Henriette (1914-2011)
- Alois Heinrich (1917-1967)
- Heinrich Hartneid (1920-1993)

The couple spent most of their married life raising their family at castles in Hungary, Austria and what is now the Czech Republic, including Frauenthal, Velké Losiny, and Stuhlweissenburg. Prior to World War I, Elisabeth was known for her love of automobiles. This was considered unusual at the time due to her gender, the newness of the technology, and the reluctance of much of the rest of the Imperial family to take interest in cars.  So great was her love of automobiles that she converted most of the stables at her home in Hungary to garages, and hired chauffeurs and mechanics to replace stable hands to care for her 31 automobiles.

Following World War I, Alois and Elisabeth provided financial assistance to their Habsburg relatives left destitute by the conflict.  By 1923, the princely family had weathered a significant decrease in their Czechoslovakian holdings. What was more, the succession laws meant that the family faced a long series of inheritance taxes. Ruling Prince Johann II was 82, his brother and direct heir Franz was 69, and the next heir Franz de Paula (Alois' older brother) was 65.  Alois was third in line and 53. The potential for four rapid deaths of heads of the family would have put the princely fortunes under further financial strain.

Elisabeth, Alois, her sister, their children and in-laws
A radical solution was proposed that would eliminate most of these death duties. The status as head of the family and owner of the fortune would bypass Franz, Franz de Paula, and Alois, passing directly to Franz Josef upon Johann's death. While the elder Franz insisted on having his chance to rule, Franz de Paula and Alois also agreed to remove themselves from the line of succession. Alois officially renounced the princely throne on February 26, 1923.

Elisabeth and Alois moved permanently to Vaduz in 1944. Elisabeth's sister Maria Annunziata also joined the family in Vaduz, where she lived until her death in 1961. Following the death of her mother in 1944, Elisabeth inherited the Habsburg Fringe Tiara. The tiara has been worn by at least two princely family brides as well as by Hereditary Princess Sophie for major events.

Alois died following a bout of influenza on March 17, 1955, in Vaduz. The 85-year-old Prince had been sick for about a week. Alois seemed to be recovering from his illness when he unexpectedly took a turn for the worse.  Five years later, Elisabeth died at the age of 82 on March 13, 1960, also in Vaduz. The two were buried beside one another in the Cathedral of St. Florin's in Vaduz.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race (11): Floral Button Tiara vs. Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara

The Luxarazzi Tiara Race is coming to you early this mid-week: Already on Tuesday night, you can decide which one of the following tiaras is your favourite but first, let's have a look back: The Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara it was, your winner of the last match of the Luxarazzi Tiara Race, winning against the mystery tiara Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte wore at the wedding of Queen Margrethe of Denmark.
And cause the Grand Ducal Family apparently loves themselves a good tiara mystery, here's another one for you: The tiara then Hereditary Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wore to a wedding ball in Germany during the 1980's, which we are going to call the Floral Button Tiara (though it might not be a tiara after all as the floral buttons look remarkably similar to the pendants of a necklace the Grand Duchess owns), vs. the Grand Duchess Adélaïde Tiara full of (known) history.

Get your vote in early and tell us, which one is your favourite and why?
Voting closes on Saturday night, Lux time.

Princess Nora at the Special Olympics

Yesterday, Princess Nora paid a visit to the Liechtenstein Special Olympics football (soccer) team after their tied game with the Czech team. Princess Nora in currently in Los Angeles to support the athletes competing in the Special Olympics.

The Liechtenstein Ambassador to the United States, Claudia Fritsche, is updating her Twitter feed with information about the athletes and the Games.

Here's some information about Princess Nora at the Opening Ceremony.

For good measure, here's a photo of Princess Nora greeting LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Photo Fun with Félix, Claire and Amalia

Photo: Dailymotion / Point de Vue
A few weeks ago and again now, French magazine Point de Vue featured stories about Prince Félix and Priness Claire, their daughter Amalia as well as their home, the Château les Crostes in southern France. Turns out there is also a video of the photo session fun the Luxembourgish trio had... Enjoy!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Prince Philipp and His Magenta Socks Give Interview.

Photo: Michael Rausch
So, looking for new news occasionally brings up old news. As these ones aren't too old... Prince Philipp recently gave an interview to Austrian magazine Format. While the interview revolves around the usual topics (LGT, finance, etc.), the younger brother of Prince Hans-Adam did rock some magenta socks while giving his interview. More pictures of the socks and the prince at APA.