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Luxembourg’s Prime Minister: ”no role planned for the Grand Duchess”

The work of Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg is in the spotlight after the country’s Prime Minister said that no specific role was planned for her as he set about modernising the monarchy. Xavier Bettel’s comments came as he spoke for the first time since the publication of an investigation into grievances at the Grand Ducal Court.

The Waringo Report was published last week. Xavier Bettel presented the findings to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday before making his own statement on it to the press. The investigation, carried out by the Prime Minister’s special representative Jeannot Waringo, was set up to examine how the Grand Ducal Court functions. One of its main focuses was the treatment of staff and it concluded that ”a culture of fear’ has been prevalent among them in recent times.

Xavier Bettel said the report provided a good starting point for ”strengthening the monarchy” and added that a plan had been drawn up outlining the responsibilities at the court before saying ”there is no room for the Grand Duchess”. He added that there needed to be clearer separation between personal projects overseen by Maria Teresa, such as her ”Stand, Speak, Rise Up” initiative and official work and said that in the future her own website would be merged with the official internet presence of the Grand Ducal Court.

The Prime Minister of Luxembourg also addressed questions over personnel after the Waringo Report found that the Grand Duchess wielded major influence in staff recruitment, treatment and retention. People working in the royal household are paid for with tax money and Xavier Bettel said he regretted that in recent years, he hadn’t been kept informed of all the personnel changes going on. The report found a high turnover of staff with 51 people either resigning or being fired between 2014 and 2019.

Grand Duke Henri has agreed to implementing many of the recommendations in the report, Luxembourg’s leading politician revealed, although he added that ”we have to fine-tune various things”. Xavier Bettel made no comment on reports that Luxembourg’s judicial police have launched a preliminary investigation into allegations of physical actions against employees at the court.

Grand Duke Henri became ruler of Luxembourg in 2000. He married Maria Teresa in February 1981 and they have five children. Their eldest son, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and his wife, Stephanie, are expecting their first baby in May. Ahead of the publication of the report, Henri issued an emotive statement praising his wife and asking that his children be allowed to enjoy building their own families without additional pressures.

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About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.