Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guillaume at FNEL

This evening at 6:30, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was in attendance at the closing ceremony of the centenary celebration for the FNEL (Fédération Nationale des Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses du Luxembourg), or the National Federation of Scouts and Girl Scouts of Luxembourg.

The event began with an academic session and then concluded with a vin d’honneur, during which Guillaume visited with the Scouts (and Girl Scouts, of course!). The FNEL was founded in 1914 and encourages all participants to embody the organizational motto “Zesumme fir eng besser Welt,” or “Together for a better world.” The centenary event was focused around honouring the tradition of volunteering that all Scouts and Girl Scouts represent.

No photos spotted just yet, but they'll be added if they show up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Princess Tessy Visits USS Theodore Roosevelt

Photo: US Navy
Princess Tessy visited the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier in Norfolk, Virginia, today. The Princess currently is in the United States to participate in the 2014 Chiefs of Transformation Conference (COTC) at the Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation (HQ SACT). The Allied Command Transformation is a NATO military command intended to lead military transformation of alliance forces and capabilities. She got to tour several areas of the ship, including observing photos of the crew in action.

A few visuals of her visit can be found at NewsChannel 3.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Princess Tessy Visits NATO

Photo: NATO
Yesterday, Princess Tessy visited Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation (HQ SACT). The Allied Command Transformation is a NATO military command intended to lead military transformation of alliance forces and capabilities. The wife of Prince Louis met with Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros; the Deputy Commander, Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani; and Chief of Staff, British Army Lieutenant General Phil Jones. 

In exactly what capacity Princess Tessy visited the Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation remains unknown. The princess does not usually carry out solo engagements nor has she ever represented Luxembourg internationally in an official capacity. However, she will be part of the Grand Duchy's delegation at the 2014 Chiefs of Transformation Conference (COTC) in Norfolk, Virginia, this week. The conference gives national Chiefs of Transformation and NATO leaders the chance to collaborate and share ideas regarding the future of the Alliance. Princess Tessy entertains an interest in all things military as she participated in a KFOR mission, the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

More pictures on Twitter.

Luxembourg Commemorates Battle of the Bulge

Members of the Grand Ducal Family were out and about today to pay their respects to those who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, which started exactly 70 years ago today. The battle was the last major German offensive launched against the Allied Forces towards the end of World War II. Fought in the Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg on the Western Front, it was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States during the course of the Second World War.

Photo: Marc Schmit / Cour grand ducale
In the morning at 9am, Grand Duke Henri welcomed a delegation of veterans of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge association for a reception at the palais. The former soldiers were accompanied by the Ambassador of the United States of America and the Ambassador of Germany to the Grand Duchy.

About one and a half hours later, the Grand Duke attended a national commemorative ceremony at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg-Hamm. Other guests at the ceremony included the Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, the President of the Chambre des Députés, Mars Di Bartolomeo, other government members, as well as the Luxembourg Army Chief of Staff Romain Mancinelli, U.S. Ambassador Robert Mandell, representatives of U.S. armed forces and both American and German veterans that fought in Luxembourg during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944 and 1945.

Photo: SIP / Luc Deflorenne
The ceremony began with a traditional fly-over of four U.S. combat planes (F-16C Fighting Falcon) and continued with speeches delivered by various dignitaries. Following these, Grand Duke Henri laid a wreath of flowers to pay tribute to the American soldiers that fought for Luxembourg’s freedom and liberation from Nazi-Germany.

The American delegation then also laid a wreath of flowers, followed by a contingent of American veterans laying 70 roses in honour of the soldiers who died in combat for Luxembourg together with students of the Lycée Technique de Bonnevoie. The ceremony closed with a minute of silence, followed by a three-fire gun salute and the playing of the U.S. and Luxembourgish anthems.

Photo: Cheryl Cadamuro / Wort.lu
In the early afternoon, there was another commemorative event, this time around attended by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. The couple was among the guests for a ceremony at the National Liberation Memorial (NLM) in Wiltz also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, Étienne Schneider, and more government ministers as well as American representatives and students from the Nordstad-Lycée as well as, of course, veterans. 

Wiltz, located in the north-west of the Grand Duchy, probably was the Luxembourgish town to suffer most during the Second World War and a major battleground during the Battle of the Bulge. When German soldiers of the Wehrmacht overran the north of the Grand Duchy on December 16, 1944, the American forces were trapped in the encircled town but managed to hold into until the renewed liberation of the area.

More pictures of the day at the cour, the government, Wort, RTL #1, RTL #2, RTL #3 and Tageblatt; videos at Wort and RTL.

Monday, December 15, 2014

More Christmas Visits by the Liechtenstein Ladies

Photo: Paul Trummer / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt / Volksblatt.li
The Princess Marie and the Hereditary Princess Sophie continued their visits to Liechtenstein's hospitals and retirement homes today. The mother- and daughter-in-law duo visited the St. Theodul home for the elderly in Triesenberg today. It's a tradition in the Principality that the female members of the family visit the retirement homes and hospitals througout the country in the weeks before Christmas. The Princess and Hereditary Princess already made similar visits in Vaduz on Friday.

More pictures of the day at Volksblatt.

Hereditary Prince Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of EFTA Court

Photo: Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Hereditary Prince Alois attended an event for the 20th anniversary of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) Court on Monday, in Vaduz. The EFTA states include Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and the association exists to promote free trade and encourage economic integration among the member states. The EFTA Court takes the place of the European Court of Justice, as the EFTA countries are not EU member states. Additionally, EFTA governs the application of policies for the EEA (European Economic Area) Agreement, which merges the economies of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway into a single market.

The seat of the EFTA Court is actually in Luxembourg, where an anniversary conference was previously held in June of this year. This event in Vaduz and featured a keynote address as well as a panel discussion about EEA law. Carl Baudenbacher (shown above, left), a Swiss native who also works as the expert advisor to the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein, is the current president of the EFTA Court and has held the post since 2003.


Prince Gabriel Presents Cheque to SOS Children's Village

Photo: Karin Kirsch
Royal philanthropists start young: Prince Gabriel visited the SOS Children's Village in Mersch this past Saturday together with his parents, Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, and his younger brother, Prince Noah. During the Children's Village's Christmas party, Prince Gabriel presented the children with a cheque over 1,050 euros. The young prince celebrated his First Communion earlier this year and instead of gifts for himself, he asked for donations for the SOS Children's Village in Luxembourg. SOS Children's Villages is an independent, non-governmental international development organisation which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children since 1949.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Court Marshall Talks Grand Ducal Finances

Pierre Bley on the far left (Photo: Charles Caratini / SIP)
Maréchal de la Cour Pierre Bley has given an interview to the print edition of Wort in which he talks about the finances of the cour grand-ducale and states that they have reached the limit when it comes to budget cuts. Bley warns that one shouldn't look at the money the Grand Duke receives too one-sided and explains that the money given by the state does not cover all the expenses of the official duties of the Grand Ducal Family. Thus the Grand Duke pays part of it out of his private pocket. However, Pierre Bley insists that the Grand Ducal fortune is nowhere as big as media reports suggest dismissing them as a fantasy.

Unsurprisingly, the court marshall did not go into any further details of the Grand Duke's private finances and the financial situation of the monarchy in general. In 2014, the cour diminished the operating costs, which make up around 10 percent of its total expenditure, by 10 percent. Monsieur Bley does not see any further potential to cut the costs adding that the staff costs, which will 8.1 million euros next year, make up 86 percent of the Grand Ducal budget. If they would want to save any more money, they would need to lay off some of their employees. The cour grand-ducale currently consists of around 100 staff members, only ten of which are detached and directly paid for by the state while all others have to be paid by the Grand Duke using his budget.

Luxarazzi 101: Grand Duchess Charlotte's Pearl and Diamond Necklace

When Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie stepped out in Japan for her first solo engagement to do what a royal on an economic mission does - promote their country's companies - a while ago, she did so for a company that has long and strong ties with the Grand Ducal Family, Schroeder Joalliers. As we never pass up a chance to delve deeper into the jewellery box - well, probably more like room - of the Grand Ducal Family, let's highlight one of Schroeders pieces of the grand ducal collection.
This pearl necklace including a diamond and pearl pendant was made for Luxembourg's Queen of pearls, Grand Duchess Charlotte. There was hardly a day in her life that the former Grand Duchess did not wear pearls though unfortunately we haven't been able to locate a picture of her wearing this particular necklace. It might be due to the fact that the length of the necklace is a rather difficult one to wear with the fashions Grand Duchess Charlotte preferred.

However, there were numerous occasion (including the two pictured above) during which Grand Duchess Charlotte's daughter-in-law Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte sported the pearl and diamond necklace. Created by Schroeder, the necklace is made out of round south sea pearls. Established by Lambert Schroeder in 1877, the jeweller became a purveyor to the Grand Ducal Court in 1920 and remains so to this day. Schroeder has 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.

Pre-Christmas Traditions

Photo: Elma Korac / Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
While her husband was in Brussels to attend the funeral of Queen Fabiola, Princess Marie and her daughter-in-law Hereditary Princess Sophie visited the Landesspital hospital in Vaduz as well as the retirement home St. Florin, also located in Liechtenstein's capital, yesterday. During their visits they spent time with the patients and residents and presented them with little gifts. This tradition of the ladies of the Princely Family visiting the hospital and retirement homes of the country has existed for many, many years. During the coming days, the Princess and the Hereditary Princess will pay more visits to other such institutions.

More photos of yesterday at Vaterland.