This weekend, as many headlines declared, “Europe’s last bachelor heir” was wed–Luxembourg’s own Guillame! Luxembourg’s royal head of state is the Grand Duke, and Guillame is next in line. His wedding to Countess Stephane de Lannoy of Belgium was celebrated across the country, culminating in a fireork display and free rock concert in the city center Saturday night.
Festivities began on Friday, when the couple was wed in a civil ceremony in the city hall, which was followed by a banquet in the City Palace Friday evening. We didn’t know about the banquet until we joined a crowd in front of the palace, curious to know what was going on, and found van-loads of royals arriving at the banquet! Royalty from Sweden, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, England, and Belgium (of course) were all present, wearing crowns and everything. I waved at them–and they waved back!
Saturday morning, we had plans to joint he people of Luxembourg in a public viewing of the church ceremony on a jumbotron in the city center. I’ll spare you the details, but I woke up too sick to attend and ended up watching on the couch with my host sister, Sophie, serving as translator and caretaker. (She made me a gallery’s worth of drawings–and my own paper crown!) The wedding itself seemed really nice–even with the translations, I didn’t understand a whole lot, but the flowers (and the bride) were beautiful. There was a bit of a melancholy over the ceremony because Stephanie’s mother died only two months ago, but the bride wore her (mother’s) engagement ring on her other hand, which was a nice tribute, and there was a moment of silence in honor of her. Nothing, though, beat the way Guillame was looking at her during the ceremony–it was a beautiful ceremony.
Afterwards, the couple was driven over to the Palace where they had their first official kiss (not in the church) on the balcony in front of a full crowd of people (plus the television crews). The couple stuck around for the fireworks that evening (which I was lucky enough to be able to see through my window) and then set off for their honeymoon, the location of which is supposedly a surprise even for Stephanie.
Sunday I woke up feeling much better and decided to go to the giant flea market near
the city center. Unrelated to the wedding, Sunday was “Manteltag,” the only Sunday when stores are actually open. They do this towards the end of October each year because November first is All Saint’s Day and people like to get new clothes for the occasion. It also marks the end of flea market season (aside from the Christmas markets, which are different), so I headed out to see what was going on.
While I was there, I discovered that the church was still decorated from the wedding–and now open to the public! I walked around and saw everything up close, which was really neat, especially since I had previously visited (one of the very first places I went in Luxembourg), so it was interesting to see the differences. Back at the market, I ran into my host mom, who had a booth there with her sister, and I manned her spot so that she could go take a peek at the cathedral.
That night, another host family had invited us over for dinner, but first Tina and I had to take advantage of the lack of rain and make a leaf pile. After that, it was off to a delicious (and large) meal of pumpkin soup, pizza, pumpkin quiche, lasagna, chocolate & pumpkin cake, and cookies! The Niederkorns are such gracious hosts–and I even got to practice my German!
Bonus! Here’s the song composed specifically for the royal couple: