Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy was born in Renaix, Belgium, on 18 February 1984. She is the eighth and youngest child of the Count de Lannoy and the late Countess de Lannoy, born Alix della Faille de Leverghem. She grew up on the family estate in Anvaing in Hainaut, Belgium, with her seven brothers and sisters.
Stéphanie began her education at Sancta Maria Primary School in Renaix. She went on to study at the Collège Sainte-Odile in France for two years, and she graduated in 2002 at the Institut de la Vierge Fidèle in Brussels. She also obtained a degree with high honours in Germanic philology at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She completed a degree in literature where she specialised in the influence of German romanticism on Russian romanticism with a focus on E.T.A. Hoffmann and Pushkin at Humboldt University in Berlin. Stéphanie’s choice of focusing on Russian literature was not surprising as she had a real interest in discovering more about Russian culture since she spent a year in Moscow when she was 18, studying the Russian language and literature.
After her studies in Berlin, Stéphanie completed an internship at the Agence Wallonne à l’Exportation (Walloon Export Agency). After returning from Germany, she worked for an investment company in Brussels.
Along with classical literature, which she was able to discover in their original form thanks to her will to learn foreign languages, Stéphanie’s biggest passion is classical music. She learned to read music when she was a child, and she also knows how to play the piano and the violin. This passion is still part of her work now as Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg as she is heavily involved in the promotion of classical music as well as Luxembourgish arts.
Stéphanie’s mother tongue is French, but she also speaks German, English, and Luxembourgish which she learned upon her wedding to Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume.
In 2004, while on holiday with friends, Stéphanie met Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, but they didn’t keep in touch. They only met again in Germany in 2009, and that is where they started dating. Asked if she believed in Prince Charming in an interview before their 2012 wedding, Stéphanie said: “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.”
Sadly, a few months before her wedding to Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Stéphanie’s mother passed away. Stéphanie – who said Grand Duchess Maria Teresa had been a great help during this challenging time – wanted the wedding ceremony to honour her mother. She decided to wear both her engagement ring and her mother’s engagement ring for the service, which began with a minute of silence. In addition, the image of Our Lady of Luxembourg was covered in a veil.
Upon her marriage, Stéphanie was granted the title of Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg as well as Luxembourgish citizenship, renouncing her Belgian citizenship in the process. There was a possibility for her to hold dual citizenship, but she decided not to as she considered the Luxembourg citizenship as a gift: “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.”
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie married on 20 October 2012 in Luxembourg City. Only recently, the Court announced that the couple would move to London later this year to pursue their studies.