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Comment 08 OCTOBER 2012

'I've found my Prince Charming': Luxembourg's bride on how she fell in love with her fiancé

Luxembourg's royal couple have granted a revealing joint interview to the country's media.

The insight highlighted how in love Countess Stephanie de Lannoy and Prince Guillaume are ahead of their October 19 and 20 nuptials.

Asked if she believed in the fairytale of Prince Charming, Stephanie said: "Not only do I believe in it – I also think I found it.

 

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"I remember the day I met Guillaume I told a friend I had found an exceptional man with whom I shared many things in common.

"I really didn't think such a man could exist. So of course I believe in Prince Charming."

During the interview, Guillaume defended the Grand Ducal house's decision to grant Belgian-born Stephanie Luxembourg citizenship.

"We should not forget that from the day of marriage, Stephanie will take the title of Heriditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg so it's very important to me that she is a national from the start," he said.

Despite the joy and anticipation that surrounds the wedding of Europe's last single heir to his society girlfriend, the day will be tinged with sadness.

The bride's mother Countess Alix de Lannoy suffered a stroke and passed away just two months before her daughter was due to walk down the aisle. 

 

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In memory of the countess, the ceremony will begin with a minute's silence. Stephanie will also wear her mother's engagement ring alongside her own.

The blonde aristocrat revealed the comfort she has found in her future in-laws, particularly Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.

"I consider myself very lucky," the 28-year-old said. "After the death of my mother, the Grand Duchess has been very present in my life, and has helped me to have a sort of second mother here in Luxembourg."

And of course, starting her own family with Guillaume is also very present on Stephanie's mind.

As one of eight children herself, she said that number might be too much but wanted to maintain the "spirit of a large family" when the time was right.


Full transcript of the interview with Countess Stephanie de Lannoy and Prince Guillaume

Countess, do you believe in Prince Charming?

Stephanie: "Not only do I believe in it, I also think I found it. I remember the day I met Guillaume I told a friend – who by the way is going to be maid of honour at our wedding – I had found an exceptional man with whom I shared many things in common.

"I really did not think such a man could exist. So of course I believe in Prince Charming."

 

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Describe how you first met?

Stephanie: "We met about eight years ago in Germany while on holiday with mutual friends. We lost touch for several years, then, by chance, we met again in Germany three years ago. That was when our love story began."

Will there be a bachelor party?

Guillaume: "There is a surprise for me, but I don’t know the details." 

Stephanie: "I know the details, but I can't say anything!"

Are you going to go on a honeymoon?

Stephanie: "Yes, but unlike the previous question, Guillaume is the one who knows the details. For me it will be a surprise, but I'm very excited about where we're going."

Guillaume: (Laughing) "All I can say is that it will be after the wedding."

 

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There has been a lot of talk about the cost of your wedding, is that something that concerns you?

Guillaume: "I understand that this issue arouses some debate. But we forget that this is a royal wedding that will attract important personalities from around the world. Ulitmately, this is all beneficial for Luxembourg's image."

The fact that Stephanie has been granted Luxembourg nationality so quickly has caused some controversy. Do you understand why people might have reservations?

Guillaume: "Certainly. Many foreigners have to wait a long time until they obtain citizenship. It is a complicated process, but it hasn't been easy for Stephanie either. In the past few months, she has had to take many intensive language and cultural courses. Only now can she speak quite fluently and with ease."

"We should also remember that from the day of marriage, Stephanie will take the title of Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, so it's very important to me that she is a national from the start." 

Stephanie
: "I understand that there is some debate about this issue. But it saddens me that there are people who feel I have received preferential treatment. I think my case is special and, as such, required special measures. For me, being granted Luxembourg nationality has been like a gift ,but it is related to the role I'll play in my marriage."

 

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Are you going to hold dual nationality?

Stephanie: "No. First I would like to stress that I am excited and deeply honored to have obtained Luxembourg citizenship. It is a gift that I humbly accept. As the Hereditary Grand Duchess I am proud to share my husband's nationality. Belgium will always be the country of my childhood and where my roots are, but I don't think keeping Belgian citizenship is consistent with the job that awaits me from now on."

How do you envision your lives as a married couple after the wedding?

Stephanie: "I plan to lead a normal family life – shopping, cooking, etc. As for work, I will focus one hundred percent on being a good representative for the Luxembourg State."

Guillaume: "Right now I am immersed in my work with economic missions abroad, which is a job I love. From now on, Stephanie will accompany me on those trips. The first state visit is expected to be in late November when we visit China. Stephanie also wants to devote time to social issues."

What social issues concern you?

Stephanie: "One thing I would like to address is the issue of loneliness. Many people, not only the elderly, suffer."

 

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Are you planning to start a family in the near future?

Stephanie: "Good question! It depends on what you consider to be the near future. If in two or three years, then yes. For the moment, however, is not a priority, although we're not ruling it out.

"I come from a large family of eight. If you think four or five children is a lot, just imagine imagine eight! It was my parents' choice, and being the youngest daughter, I couldn't be more happy with their decision. While eight children are perhaps too many, I'd like to maintain the spirit of a large family."

Guillaume: "It's a blessing to have so many siblings. We're still unsure how many children we want. Only time will tell."

It's interesting that you're wearing two rings...

Stephanie: "I wear Guillaume's engagement ring and also my late mother's ring, which I'll still have on the day of the wedding. There are going to be various homages to my mother during the ceremony. We begin with a minute's silence and the image of Our Lady of Luxembourg will be covered in a veil.

Why was October 20 chosen as the date for the wedding?

Guillaume: "October 20 is a special date. We wanted an autumn wedding. A ceremony during that season is something very special."

Stephanie: "It is a time of year that I love. In the autumn I'm always in a good mood."

Guillaume: "And our anniversary is also in autumn."

Have you decided where you will live after the wedding?

Guillaume: "We want to maintain our independence, here in Luxembourg. But at the moment we don’t want to reveal too much about that topic."

How would you describe your relationship with the Grand Duchess?

Stephanie: "Very good. I consider myself very lucky. Since my mother died, the Grand Duchess has been very present in my life, and she has been a sort of second mother here in Luxembourg."

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