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Royal wedding puts Luxembourg in the spotlight

Luxembourg becomes the world's spotlight at the wedding of
Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Sophie de Lannoy

The wedding of Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Sophie de Lannoy, dubbed as the wedding of the year, puts Luxembourg in the spotlight. The world’s only Grand Duchy, and one of the smallest country’s in the world, rarely enjoys this media frenzy, let alone a gathering of some of the world’s most glamorous personalities, heads of states, dignitaries.

Luxembourg is an independent country smaller than the smallest U.S. state, Rhode Island. It would certainly fit 138 times in its neighboring country, Germany. It didn’t win any medal at the recent London Olympics and in fact, the last it did was during the 1952 games.

But despite this, Luxembourgers enjoy a lifestyle better off than the U.S., or any of the biggest countries for that matter. In fact, the grand duchy enjoys the distinction as one of the most developed countries, with an advanced economy. It’s the second wealthiest countries in terms of per capita income, at a little over $80,000. The country also enjoys a very high human development index, at 0.867, which placed it 25th all over the world.

The country’s economy depends heavily  on steel manufacturing, although it has diversified over a variety of sectors including chemicals and rubbers. Banking and finance are the two key players in keeping the economy afloat. The country is the second largest investment fund hub in the world, after the U.S., and the largest in Eurozone.

Luxembourg's Grand Ducal Family
Until 1867, Luxembourg came under the rule of the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and the French. In 1867, Luxembourg was official recognized as a sovereign grand duchy, with the King of the Netherlands as its sovereign. Upon the death of King William III, the grand duchy passed on to Adolphe of Nassau-Weilburg.

The country’s strategic position caused it to be invaded by the Germans, despite the fact that Luxembourg maintained its neutrality. In became a founding member of the UN and NATO in 1946 and 1949 respectively.

The current Grand Duke, Henri inherited the throne in 2000 after his father, Grand Duke Jean abdicated. He is married to Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla, from Cuba, whom he met while studying in Geneva. Today, his heir apparent, Grand Duke Guillaume, marries Belgian noblewoman Countess Stephanie de Lannoy

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was born on November 11, 1981 at the Grand Duchess Charlotte Maternity Hospital in Luxembourg. He was christened Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie. Guillaume had attended Lycée Robert-Schumann in Luxembourg, Beau Soleil and Institut Le Rosey  in Switzerland, and the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. He  also attended the University of Durham and Brunel University, both in England. In 2009, he finished his bachelor’s degree in letters and political science at the Institut Albert-le-Grand in Angers.

Since becoming his father’s heir apparent, the Grand Duke has been active in numerous duties, including serving as Honorary Chairman of the Board of Economic Development of Luxembourg and representing his father in the celebrations in honor of Prince Christian of Denmark's christening in January 2006, Queen Sonja of Norway's birthday in July 2007 and later on in September 2007, during the 40th birthday celebrations of the heir-apparent to the Dutch throne, the Prince of Orange.

Grand Duke Guillaume has dated Countess Stephanie de Lannoy for two years prior to the announcement of their engagement in April 2012. Countess Stephanie is the daughter of Count Philippe de Lannoy and the late Alix della Faille de Leverghem. She was born on February 18, 1984 and grew up at the family estate, the Chateau d’Anvaing.


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