Thursday, April 17, 2014

Luxembourg's New National Day

Luxembourg's government has made significant changes to the country's national day celebrations. A few months ago, prime minister Xavier Bettel announced that changes were to be made to make the the national day more "civil" (though I believe he used the wrong word as civil would probably mean more non-military when he actually meant non-religious a.k.a. secular). 

In order to achieve that, a new ceremony at the Grand Théâtre will be hosted in the morning instead of the traditional Te Deum. The ceremony will include speeches by the Prime Minister and the President of the Chamber of Deputies as well as the award of decoration to outstanding citizens. This new ceremony will be followed by the traditional military parade. The Te Deum has been postponed to the evening hours according to Bettel's statement. As the gala dinner for foreign dignitaries usually takes place in the actual evening hours, I guess that the late afternoon is meant. No word yet on which events will be attended by the Grand Ducal Family.

Source: Wort, Tageblatt

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Friday Flashback (on a Wednesday): Birthday Boys at Cabasson

Photo: Corbis
Today, the Grand Ducal Family isn't celebrating one but two birthdays. While Grand Duke Henri turns 59 years old, his youngest son Prince Sébastien is celebrating his 22nd birthday. The picture above shows the two birthday boys during a family holiday at Cabasson in southern France.

About Liechtenstein-Czech Relations...

Photo: 1 FL TV
The day before yesterday, the Liechtenstein-Czech historical commission in collaboration with the Historical Society for the Principality of Liechtenstein presented two new books. Among the guests for the book presentation in Vaduz was Hereditary Prince Alois.

The first book entitled "Liechtensteinisch-tschechische Beziehungen in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Synthesebericht der Liechtensteinisch-Tschechischen Historikerkommission" (Liechtenstein-Czech relation in history and presence, synthesis report of the Liechtenstein-Czech historical commission) was written by eight historians as a final report about the relation of Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic after three years of work. As you may recall, the Prince of Liechtenstein as well as 37 other Liechtenstein citizens lost their Czechoslovakian properties on the basis of the Beneš decrees after the end of the Second World War as they were deemed German because of speaking German. Only in 2009, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein formed official diplomatic relations and a year later a historical commission was installed by the two countries.

The second book called "Die Liechtenstein und die Kunst" (The Liechtensteins and the art) includes 18 lectures given by historians at a symposium in Brno about the passion for art of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein and their contribution to art in the former Bohemia.

A video of the book presentation is available at 1 FL TV (starting at 5:32).

Source: Historischer Verein

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein

Hereditary Prince Alois is probably the most (publicly) busy member of the Princely Family and so I thought it was time to shed some light on Liechtenstein's regent who is simply called 'Louis' by family and friends. Named for his paternal great-grandfather Prince Alois (1869-1955), he was born on June 11th, 1968, at around 5:30am in Zürich, Switzerland, as oldest son of Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie. Ten days later, he was christened on the name Alois Philipp Maria at the parish church of Vaduz by the Archbishop of Chur, Johannes Vonderach. Prince Alois' godfather is his uncle Prince Philipp.

Source: SR
Together with his parents, the then hereditary princely couple, his three younger siblings, Prince Max, Prince Constantin and Princess Tatjana, as well as his grandparents, Prince Franz Josef II and Princess Gina, he grew up at Schloss Vaduz above Liechtenstein's capital by the same name. Prince Alois and his siblings were the first members of the Princely Family to receive their school education entirely within the Principality. Just like his father had done, Prince Alois went to the local primary school Ebenholz. Between 1979 and 1987, he attended the Liechtensteinisches Gymnasium in Vaduz where he was class mates with Liechtenstein's former prime minister Klaus Tschütscher. In 1987, he passed his Matura - the Liechtenstein version of the A-Levels exams - with a literary-historical focus.

Having finished school a year earlier than usual in Liechtenstein as he was put into school a year earlier, Prince Alois, at the time still second in line to the throne after his own father, decided to take a gap year and, due to personal interest, he entered the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst to receive an officer's training like his uncle Prince Wenzel had done a few years earlier. To make such a move possible, a special agreement had to be signed between Prince Franz Josef II and Queen Elizabeth II as Liechtenstein's army was already disbanded in 1868 for financial reasons, after having probably been the first army in the world's history to come back from a war with more men than they had left with during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

Photo: SR
After receiving his commission as second lieutenant, he served for six months in the Coldstream Guards in Hong Kong and London before enrolling as a law student at the University of Salzburg in October 1988. According to his own account, Prince Alois had the choice between studying in the German-speaking part of Switzerland or in Austria as both countries have similar legal systems to the one in Liechtenstein though he felt that Switzerland was just too close to home.

In November 1989, Prince Alois became the Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein upon the death of his paternal grandfather, Prince Franz Josef II. On national day 1990, he took an oath on the constitution alongside his father, the new Fürst Hans-Adam II. 

Probably around Christmas 1992, Hereditary Prince Alois got engaged to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, daughter of Duke Max and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria and great-great-granddaughter of the last Bavarian King, Ludwig III. The couple had firstly met seven years earlier at the birthday party of a mutual friend and their engagement was officially announced on January 12th, 1993. 

Photo: EinTracht
In the following spring, the Hereditary Prince graduated with a master's degree from Salzburg university. His dissertation dealt with the topic of a nation's right to self-determination. Hereditary Prince Alois then did a couple of internships and was likely also busy planning his own wedding which took place on July 3rd in Vaduz.

In September 1993, the newly weds moved to London where Hereditary Prince Alois worked in an accountant firm. In May 1995, Hereditary Princess Sophie gave birth to the couple's first child, Prince Joseph-Wenzel (who has simply been known as Prince Wenzel even by the newspapers for basically his entire life). He was followed by Princess Marie-Caroline in 1996, Prince Georg in 1999 and Prince Nikolaus, who was born in 2000.

About three years after moving to the British capital, in July 1996 to be exact, the young family moved back to Liechtenstein where they continue to live at Schloss Vaduz. At around the same time, Hereditary Prince Alois started to work in the different branches of the family's own companies (such as the LGT Group) in order to get to know them better. Allegedly, the original plan was to move abroad once again though on national day 2003 Prince Hans-Adam II announced his intention to hand over large parts of his powers to his oldest son. 

Photo: EinTracht
A year later on national day and after quitting his day job, Hereditary Prince Alois was appointed regent according to Liechtenstein's constitution which states that "the Prince Regnant may entrust the next Heir apparent of his House who has attained majority with the exercise of the sovereign powers held by him as his representative [...] in preparation for the Succession."

And so, since 2004, Hereditary Prince Alois has been exercising the role of the head of state of Liechtenstein and has thus been the one to represent the Principality at official functions both at home and abroad. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Durchlaucht! (Plus, Another Interview)

Photo: Paul Trummer / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt /
As we mentioned earlier, Princess Marie is celebrating her 74th birthday today and as it is tradition in the Principality a reception was hosted at Schloss Vaduz to celebrate the occasion. Among the guests for the reception which was also attended by Prince Hans-Adam II and Hereditary Prince Alois were the prime minister and the other members of Liechtenstein's government, the vice president of parliament, the archbishop and the mayor of Vaduz.

Galleries of visuals can be found at Vaterland and Volksblatt. 1 FL TV has a video.

P.S. If you are into finance and banking, you might want to check out an interview Princess Marie's second son Prince Max gave to Neue Presse on Saturday.

Friday Flashback (on a Monday): Beatification of John Paul II

Princess Marie, who is celebrating her birthday today, talking to Grand Duke Henri at the beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II on May 1st, 2011. Other Luxarazzi regulars at the Vatican that day were their respective spouses, Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa and Prince Hans-Adam II, as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Louis, Prince Nikolaus, Princess Margaretha, Princess Maria-Anunciata and Princess Marie-Astrid.

P.S. Have you joined The Royal Resource yet?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Last Goodbye

Photo: ZVG
As you might have caught, Liechtenstein private banker Jürgen Frick was murdered earlier this week by a fund manager and today he was laid to rest in Balzers, one of the eleven municipalities of the Principality. Among the mourners at the funeral taking place earlier today was Hereditary Prince Alois as well as Liechtenstein's government. Already yesterday, Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie attended a memorial mass for the deceased. The suspected murderer is believed to have committed suicide in the Rhine river shortly after the crime though, as his body hasn't been found yet, the Principality's political institutions as well as the Princely Family have been put under tight security.

Source: SF, Volksblatt

Friday, April 11, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Turquoise Tiara and Necklaces

Photos: Tom Wagner, RTL, Getty Images
So, you know that newest Point de Vue I told you about yesterday? It also included some interesting new information about one of the tiaras of the Grand Ducal Collection that we generally don't know much about. While it still does not cover it's entire history simply because it isn't even known to those who are in the know - a.k.a. the members of the Grand Ducal Family and their employees - it does shed some new light on a tiara, its accompanying necklace and an extra necklace that have caused much speculation.

Photos: PPE
In 2007, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa surprised royal jewel watchers when she wore a previously unseen turquoise and diamond necklace for the return dinner of an outgoing state visit to Belgium. A year later, that surprise grew even bigger when she was spotted with a turquoise and diamond parure. (What's a parure? May I redirect you to The Court Jeweller?!) Since then, she has sent royal jewel lovers in overdrive: Was this a previously unseen heirloom tiara? Where did it come from, the Belgian or the Luxembourgish side of the family? Or was it a new acquisition, maybe on the occasion of the Grand Ducal Couple's wedding anniversary in 2006? A while later, in 2010 to be exact, Princess Tessy wore the turquoise and diamond tiara for national day showing us that it wasn't just a one time thing.

According to Point de Vue, the story behind turquoise jewellery goes as following: In 2006, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa handed over a turquoise and diamond tiara and a necklace in the same design as well as another turquoise and diamond necklace to Muriel Prieur, curator of the Grand Ducal collections, as the Grand Duchess wished for them to be brought in a wearable state once again and also for earrings to be made to accompany the pieces. 

Photo: PdV
[Quick note: Unfortunately, it isn't specified where Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa found them though with royals pretty much everything is possible. Have you heard the story about Queen Silvia, the cupboard and the cut steel tiara? I mean, I guess those palaces and castles have an awful lot of cupboards to hide stuff in, though you'd think that the original owner would have noticed that something went missing... #RichPeopleProblems]

Anyway, Muriel Prieur has determined that the tiara and the accompanying necklace date back to the 1830's though not much more is known about it apart from that. The article does not mention anything about the bigger necklace and when it was likely made though upon closer inspection, I have to say that certain elements do remind me of the Empire Tiara which has been in the family since 1829. While there are no indications of the turquoises being worn by other Grand Duchesses prior to the current one, Grand Duchess Charlotte apparently already owned the pieces, so they definitely do not seem to be a new acquisitions but rather Nassau family heirlooms.

Cover Royals

The newest edition of French magazine Point de Vue features two royals on its cover, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa. Titled "A Week With the Sovereign Couple", the magazine includes a lengthy interview with the Grand Duchess about her engagements, causes dear to her heart, the Luxembourgish art scene, leaving a home (Cuba) and finding a new one (Luxembourg), her relationship with the Hereditary Grand Duchess who she describes as "bright, balanced and easy-going", her delightment that her children still make sure to spend parts of their holidays with their mum and dad, and much more.

The about 20-page coverage about Luxembourg also includes an article about Muriel Prieur, curator of the Grand Ducal Family's jewellery, silver treasury and other collections, and her work, cook Léa Linster, as well as the Château de Berg and how it gets ready to host important guests.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Party at the Palais

Photo: Fotomanufaktur Grünwald / Stiftung Fürst Liechtenstein
"APT Hosts an Evening Fit For Royalty", reports Global Travel Media and where there is an evening fit for royalty, a prince shouldn't be too far away. That prince came in the form of His Serene Highness Prince Constantin of Liechtenstein who personally welcomed a number of travel agents at the Princely Family's Stadtpalais in Vienna for a soiree hosted by APT. While I'm fairly uncertain, I guess the event took place earlier tonight as the above website already claims that it is April 11th while it is still April 10th in Austria.

Source: Global Travel Media