Saturday, October 25, 2014

Principalities Gotta Stick Together

Photo: IKR
Monaco's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Badia, was on an official visit to Liechtenstein yesterday and the day before yesterday. Apart from a meeting with his Liechtenstein counterpart, Aurelia Frick, to talk the European integration of both countries, he was also received by Hereditary Prince Alois for an audience. More at Volksblatt.

Grand Duke Attends Lectures (and Says Farewell)

Post Luxembourg
On Thursday, the Grand Duke attended a lecture to mark the 100th anniversary of the Lycee Technique Prive Emilie Metz. (Pictures here.) When the school opened on November 4, 1914 it was the first time that young students could receive an education that went beyond general academics. The school incorporated general education with technical training required for specific careers. The school has maintained an excellent reputation and continues to evolve. Last year the Post Luxembourg issued a stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the school.

On Friday, the Grand Duke attended another lecture. This lecture marked the 20th anniversary of the Syndicat Intercommunal de Dépollution des Eaux Résiduaires du Nord. Pictures of it can be found at Lëtzebuerger Journal as well.

Also on Thursday, Grand Duke Henri bid farewell to the outgoing ambassadors of Cuba and Cape Verde during audiences at the palais.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Birthday boy Prince Nikolaus, who turned 67 today, celebrated his big day today with a celebration for his family's ancestral home country, Austria. Austrians celebrate their country's declaration of permanent neutrality after World War II and its regained status as an independent and sovereign nation - so basically its birthday as well - on October 26, 1955, on exactly that day every year. Two days in advance the Austrian ambassador to Liechtenstein, Maria Rotheiser-Scotti, and the Austrian honorary consul in Liechtenstein, Rita Kieber-Beck, hosted a reception in Vaduz to celebrate the Liechtenstein-Austrian friendship.

Galleries of visuals of the event are located at Volksblatt and Vaterland.

RTL to Air Documentary about Grand Duke Jean

Photo: RTL
RTL will air a two hour long biographical documentary about the life and work of Grand Duke Jean on November 2. The documentary will include a visit to Luxembourg's former head of state's home, the Château de Fischbach, as well as interviews by Grand Duke Henri and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. It will be shown to mark the 50th anniversary of Grand Duke Jean coming to the throne in 1964 upon his mother's abdication.

The documentary by Jacques van Luik and Misch Bervand aims to show the more personal side of the former Grand Duke, who most Luxembourgers only know from television or the newspaper. While research was a little difficult in the beginning as Grand Duke Jean has always been a notoriously low-key and discrete person and the same goes for the people around him, walls broke down when he personally invited the film crew to his home. In addition to hundreds of hours of research in the RTL archives, the filmmakers were also given access to the private archives of the Grand Ducal Family.

In addition, a book by Stéphane Bern about Grand Duke Jean will be published in November as well.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to both the documentary - check out the preview on RTL's website - as well as the book. This seems to be the year of documentaries and I'm loving it! The documentary about Grand Duke Jean will be shown on November 2; the first part at 6:30pm and the second at 8:15pm.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grand Ducal Family Hosts Dinner

Photo: Marc Schmitt / Cour grand-ducale
On Tuesday night the Grand Ducal Family in the persons of Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, Prince Félix and Prince Louis hosted a dinner for the members of the Chambre de Députés. Formal dinners for the members of parliament at Château de Berg are a regular occurence in Luxembourg. They take place to give the members of the Grand Ducal Family and their country's highest politicians a chance to catch up and for an exchange of views.

It's interesting to note that the Grand Duchess is sitting in a wheel chair for the dinner. It seems that the recovery time after her knee surgery will take another few weeks. She already seemed better a few weeks ago when she was pictured with crutches.

The website of the cour has more visuals of the night.

Grand Duke Receives Portuguese Prime Minister

Photo: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
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!

Another photo of the Prime Minister and the Grand Duke shaking hands can be found at the website of the Cour. More pictures can be found at Wort.


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 *

Photo: Oberanven / Commune de Niederanven
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.

The cour grand-ducale has pictures of the event.

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.