"Infotainment? What the hell are you talking about?"

Grand Ducal Memories

This weekend I was sorting and organising my old newspaper and magazine archives back in Luxembourg. I came across lots of old Luxembourgish magazines from all sorts of decades, filled with fascinating photographic evidence of our royal family. The kind of pictures that you identify with the essence of your nation: Rulers in uniforms and regalia, duchesses and princesses in fashionable gowns and tiaras and opera gloves! How can you not love those pictures!

As Luxembourg is still a very young country (created in 1815 on the Congress of Vienna, The King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining personal union between the two countries until 1890. At the death of William III, the Dutch throne passed to his daughter Wilhelmina, while Luxembourg (at that time restricted to male heirs by the Nassau Family Pact) passed to Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg.), we gained our feeling of a complete and individual nation rather in the early years of the 20th century, as our rulers became closer to their subjects.
The 2 World Wars, especially WWII during which we kept getting invaded by the Germans, drew the people closer together and turned our exiled Grand-Duchess Charlotte into a real 'mother of the nation', a symbol to national unity. She gave hope to her people during the Nazi occupation, by addressing herself to us over BBC waves.

So finally I decided to share with you pictures of times of pomp and royalty!

When her older sister Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde, who had succeeded their father, was forced to abdicate 1919, Charlotte became the one who had to deal with the revolutionary tendencies in the country. Unlike her sister, she chose not to meddle with its politics. In a referendum about the new constitution 1919, 77.8% of the Luxembourgish people voted for the continuation of a Grand Ducal monarchy with Charlotte as head of state. In this constitution, the power of the monarch was severely restricted. During the German occupation in WWII, Charlotte, exiled in London, became an important symbol of national unity.

The newspaper above dates from the 15th April 1945, the day Grand Duchess Charlotte finally returned from her political exile. It was a very sentimental day for every Luxembourger surviving the war. Up on the moment of the announcement of her return, people everywhere in the country tried to make their way into the capital, using anything that still had wheels. Tens of thousands of people showed up at the Palace to get a glimpse of the mother of the nation, as she finally appeared on the ceremonial balcony.

GD Charlotte stepping down onto her native land at the airport

The military escort making its way to the palace

GD Charlotte, 1919 on the day of her wedding to Prince Felix of Bourbon, Prince of Parma. The GD is wearing the Empire Diamond Tiara (supposedly a wedding dowry from her grandfather`s first wife Grand Duchess Elisaveta Mikhailovna of Russia, which included some Romanov jewels)

An old luxembourgish TV magazine from 1978, on the 25th wedding anniversary of Grand Duke Jean and GD Josephine-Charlotte

GD Charlotte and Prince Felix with their grand-children

GD Charlotte with President Kennedy

Gala dinner at the White House 1963 with Prince Jean, Jackie Kennedy, GD Charlotte and JFK

On November 12, 1964, GD Charlotte abdicated in favour of her son, Prince Jean, who had then been regent for three years. Charlotte died on July 9, 1985, from cancer.

The abdication ceremony

Jean I, Grand Duke of Luxembourg at his intronisation in 1964.

GD Jean actually has a lovely long name. His full title is: "Jean Benoit Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano, by the Grace of God, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Prince of Parma, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenellenbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein." Many of the titles are held without regard to their strict rules of salic inheritance.

The traditional waving at the crowd

State reception of the GD couple in the UK, with Queen Elisabeth and Prince Philipp
GD Josephine-Charlotte is wearing the Empire Diamond Tiara

The GD couple in Chicago (thank you Erik for noticing the Sears Tower in the backgground!)

This last one is an excerpt of the TV magazine from the wedding day of Prince Henri (actual ruler) to Maria-Theresa on Valentines day 1981
Henri's full title is: "His Royal Highness Henri, by the Grace of God, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon of Parma, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein".
However, on ascending the throne, Grand Duke Henri relinquished the styling "by the Grace of God", and in the laws, decrees, and official documents his title is: "Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau".

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2 Responses to “Grand Ducal Memories”

  1. # Blogger euarte


  2. # Blogger Cedric Benetti

    my pleasure!

    There will be more posts like this comming up soon!  

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    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
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