Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg’s Christmas Eve speech heavily focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting challenges the world has faced.
He spoke about how the virus, which he said was underestimated, has caused us to stay isolated from our families and “turned the world upside down.” The Grand Duke spoke of how the Luxembourgish government quickly acted, as they had done over 70 years ago during World War Two.
He said: “Respect for the decided measures has become an important moment of solidarity for all of us, which has shown us that we can stand together when the time comes.
“Yes, our freedoms have been partially curtailed. This in a way that many of us have never experienced before. However, these measures are necessary to protect our fellow human beings and ourselves, and they are limited in time.“
His Royal Highness praised doctors, scientists and first responders while stressing the need for patience. He then expressed his sympathy with all those who lost loved ones to COVID-19 and mentioned his late brother-in-law who died from the disease earlier this year. He said it was important to remember those who are vulnerable and lonely during this time of year who cannot see their loved ones due to the pandemic and said his thoughts are also with those who are still dealing with side effects from the coronavirus.
“The year 2020 will surely be remembered for a long time to come. For me personally, it has been a very symbolic year: it has been 20 years since I became your Grand Duke. These are 20 years in which I am happy and proud to be able to serve the country and its citizens, with the support of the Grand Duchess. I want to thank you all for the kind congratulations and for your trust,” he said, touching on his 20th anniversary since he ascended the throne.
Of course, the Grand Duke’s speech had a brighter note when he mentioned his newest grandchild, Prince Charles – who will one day be the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
“A great joy for our family was, of course, the birth of Prince Charles. Prince Guillaume and Princess Stéphanie have been proud parents since May 10th. I wish little Charles, his parents and all of us that we can soon look to the future with confidence.
“Let us reflect on these days and become aware of what really matters: family, friends, and being there for one another.
Yes, we do worry when we look around us. We ask ourselves how it should proceed. It is important that we do not give up on believing in ourselves and thus shape our future positively,” he remarked.
Grand Duke Henri then repeated what his grandmother, Grand Duchess Charlotte, told the Luxembourgish people in 1942: “Let’s not let our heads hang in these difficult times!“