The latest issue of “Who Is?” focuses on Her Royal Highness Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
She was born Countess Stéphanie Marie Claudine Christine de Lannoy to Count Philippe de Lannoy and Countess Alix de Lannoy on 18 February 1984, in Ronse, Belgium. The youngest of eight children, she grew up on her family estate in Anvaing in Hainaut, Belgium with her seven brothers and sisters.
Stéphanie attended the Dutch-language Sancta Maria Primary School and then studied at Collège Sainte-Odile in northern France for two years. She completed her education in 2002 when she graduated from the Institut de la Vierge Fiddle in Brussels. Further, at the age of 18, she studied for a time in Moscow, Russia, where she studied the language, literature, and violin. Classical music has always been a passion of Her Royal Highness. Further, she thoroughly enjoys reading, and according to the Grand Ducal Court, “Learning foreign languages enabled her to discover and explore the classics in their original form.”
For her university education, Stéphanie studied at the Université Catholique de Louvain, where she focused on Germanic philology. She obtained her degree, with high honours, and then studied in Berlin, Germany, where she earned a master’s degree in literature from Humboldt University. According to the Grand Ducal Court, during this time in Berlin, “her specialist subject was the influence of German romanticism on Russian romanticism with a focus on E.T.A. Hoffmann and Pushkin.” Her Royal Highness speaks English, French, Luxembourgish, and German fluently, but she can also speak Russian – to a certain extent.
Stéphanie extended her stay in Berlin for a year with an internship at the Walloon Export Agency, which was under the sponsorship of the Belgian Embassy. She worked for an investment company in Brussels after her return from Germany.
She met Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg around 2004 in Germany after an introduction by mutual friends. However, the pair lost track of one another until they met again a few years later. It was then that they started a relationship. On 26 April 2012, it was announced by the Grand Ducal Court, “Their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, have the great joy to announce the engagement of their son, His Royal Highness Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke, with Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy.” The following day, Stéphanie was introduced to country officials and the public for the first time, alongside Guillaume and her families.
Tragically, Stéphanie’s mother, Countess Alix de Lannoy passed away suddenly of a stroke on 26 August 2012, just two months before her youngest daughter was to marry. As a way to honour the memory of her mother, Stéphanie wore her mother’s engagement ring alongside her own, and the wedding began with a minute of silence, as well.
They were married in a civil ceremony at Luxembourg City Hall on 19 October 2012. The next day, they wed in a religious ceremony at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg City. At this point, she was granted Luxembourg citizenship and given the title of Hereditary Grand Duchess.
Following her engagement announcement, the Hereditary Grand Duchess became one of four board members of the Foundation of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess. She also holds patronages to Les Amis des Musées d’Art et d’Histoire Luxembourg (The Friends of the Museums of Art and History Luxembourg) and Scienteens Lab (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine). The latter of which is the first research laboratory that allows teenagers to gain initial experience with biomedical research. In January of this year, she became Chairman of the Board of the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Museum of Modern Art).
Stéphanie has been awarded the Luxembourg honour of the Grand Cross of Order of Adolphe of Nassau.