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Grand Duke and Duchess are currently in Geneva for the duchess' younger brother who was recently admitted into intensive care

By Conchita Margaret Widjojo
January 28, 2020 03:17 PM
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Henri Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Credit: Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

The Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg released a statement on Monday defending his wife following allegations of a “hostile working environment” in the palace.

The open letter, which was addressed to the press, comes after an article released by Lëtzebuerger Land made claims that his wife Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, 63, fostered a hostile working environment due to her handling of the palace’s staff.

The statement was released on the Luxembourg royal family’s official website, which was accompanied by a string of new intimate photos of the couple taken by Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard.

“I am writing to you from my brother-in-law’s bedside in an intensive care unit in Geneva,” Grand Duke Henri, 64, wrote in the letter. “Out of a desire for openness, transparency and modernity, I agreed that the internal analysis proposed by the Prime Minister should go ahead.”

Henri Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Credit: Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

“As we await publication of the report, and indeed throughout this process, articles have appeared in the media making unfair accusations against my wife, the mother of our five children and a devoted grandmother. This is taking its toll on my whole family. Why attack a woman? A woman who speaks up for other women? A woman who is not even being given the right to defend herself?”

The mentioned report is one requested by Luxembourg Prime Minster Xavier Bettel, which will examine the accounts and management of the Court’s staff. It is currently being carried out by Jeannot Waringo, a retired senior civil servant. In the upcoming weeks, the report will be presented to the Prime Minister.

The Grand Duke, who took over the throne in October 2000, then proceeded to list some of the causes he and his wife have advocated for since he started his reign.

Henri Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Credit: Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

“Since I came to the throne, it has been our shared desire to help modernise our constitutional monarchy, and we wish to continue to contribute to this process. The causes my wife has fought for, which I have always supported and which we will continue to fight for, are vitally important. This work includes campaigning against dyslexia, fighting sexual violence, improving the status of imprisoned children in Africa, helping to develop microfinance and promoting education for young girls and women.”

“I am proud of the commitment, intelligence and energy my wife brings to bear in all this work. The devotion she has shown over the past 39 years to serving our country by my side is exemplary and is of essential importance to me,” it said toward the end of the statement, which was dated January 26. “We will continue to serve you; to be there for you and for Luxembourg. Especially at this crucial time when our children are setting out on a family life of their own, we feel bound as parents to ensure that they can make the most of these precious years as our heirs.”

Henri Grand Duke of Luxembourg

According to a previous story by Reporter, a digital magazine based in Luxembourg, around 30 employees (one-third of the staff) have resigned from the Court since 2015.

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Earlier this month, the Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg announced in a press release that Grand Duchess Maria had to suspend her royal duties while she tends to the bedside of her younger brother Luis Mestre after he was admitted into the intensive care unit.

The Grand Duke and Duchess wed in February 1981 and have five children and four grandchildren.