Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie
Stéphanie Marie Claudine Christine de Lannoy, daughter of Count Philippe de Lannoy and Countess Alix, née della Faille de Leverghem, is the youngest of 8 children. She was born on 18 February 1984 in Ronse (Belgium) and grew up on the family estate in Angvaing, Belgium.
She was sent to the Sancta Maria primary school in Ronse, then attended Collège Sainte-Odile in the north of France and the Brussels l’Institut de la Vierge Fidèle. After her secondary studies, she lived in Moscow, Russia for a year, to study the language and literature. Then she continued her university studies at the Université Catholique de Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium, where she graduated in Germanic Philology, magna cum laude. She also studied in Berlin for a year, where she wrote her thesis on the influence of German Romanticism on Russian Romanticism. After her studies she started working for an investment firm.
She met Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg in 2007 at a ball given by the de Ligne family, cousins of the Luxembourg royals as well as the de Lannoy family. They gradually got to know each other and after three years of occasional meetings in Belgium, they became a couple. Their engagement was announced on 26 April 2012. During the engagement, Stéphanie occasionally appeared in public, along with her fiancé and his family, so as to gradually get used to life in the public eye. In August 2012, just two months before the wedding, Countess Alix de la Faille de Leverghem passed away unexpectedly. The mother of the bride would never see her daughter get married.
Some controvesy arose when the Grand Ducal Palace asked for Stéphanie to receive the Luxembourg nationality. In earlier cases, this had been a mere detail. Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium automatically became Luxembourgish when she married then Hereditary Grand Duke Jean in 1953, and for Maria Teresa it only required a bill to pass in Parliament. But since then, the laws have changed, and in order to be receive Luxembourg nationality, one has to have been living in the country for some years. Countess Stéphanie, however, never lived in the country before the engagement was announced, so some politicians thought it was unfair that she should be given the Luxembourg nationality so easily. The bill was passed, however, and as soon as Stéphanie said “I do” (or rather “Jo” in perfect Luxembourgish) at the civil wedding ceremony, she became Luxembourgish. She also announced that she would give up her Belgian nationality.
The civil wedding took place on 19 October 2012, the religious ceremony at the Luxembourg Cathedral on 20 October 2012. After the marriage, she was styled HRH Princess Stéphanie of Luxembourg, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Hereditary Princess of Nassau, Princess of Bourbon-Parma, Countess de Lannoy.
The Hereditary Grand Duchess speaks French, English, Dutch, German and Russian. She is learning Luxembourgish as well. She is interested in music – she plays the violin – and foreign languages. She also likes sports such as swimming or skiing.
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy, official engagement portrait. © Cour grand-ducale / Christian Aschman / all rights reserved.