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Royal wedding gives Luxembourg a turn in spotlight
Prince will marry Belgian countess
Question of the Day
It’s an independent country tinier than Rhode Island and it would fit inside Germany, its neighbor to the east, 138 times with room to spare.
It won no medals at the 2012 London Olympics — in fact it hasn’t won a medal at the Summer Games since 1952.
But this week is Luxembourg’s turn to shine. Prince Guillaume, the heir to the throne — the grand duke-to-be — will marry Belgian Countess Stephanie de Lannoy.
It will be a two-day affair, including fireworks, concerts, a gala dinner at the grand ducal palace, and two marriages between the betrothed — a civil wedding Friday afternoon and a religious ceremony Saturday morning.
A glittering array of European royalty has been invited.
The guest list for the religious ceremony includes kings, queens, princes and princesses from European countries, including, among others, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Denmark, the Netherlands, Romania and Britain, which is sending Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child, and his wife, Sophie.
Non-European royalty will be attending, as well, from Morocco, Japan and Jordan and elsewhere.
With all those royals coming to Luxembourg, can international attention be far behind?
Besides, she just plain likes the royal family, she said, because they give a good impression of the country.
That’s a sentiment common in Luxembourg. To all appearances, the bride and groom are a lovely couple.
He is 30, with dark hair and an immaculate beard. She is 28, blonde and smiling. In public appearances, including at the London Olympics, they have appeared besotted with each other.
According to biographies distributed by the royal court, each has an array of interests befitting those who are to the manner born.
Guillaume speaks four languages, has studied international politics, is a lieutenant colonel in the Luxembourg army (a force of 900 soldiers), and has been engaged in humanitarian work in other countries, including Nepal.
The duchess-to-be has studied the influence of German romanticism on Russian romanticism, plays piano and violin, swims, skis, and says she reads three books at a time.
In the language department, she already speaks French and German — two of Luxembourg’s three official languages — and, perhaps more important, is studying the third, which is called Luxembourgish. She plans to renounce her Belgian citizenship in order to become, eventually, Luxembourg’s grand duchess.
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