Prince Charles of Luxembourg will one day rule one of the wealthiest countries in Europe and the place chosen for his baptism, on September 19th 2020, has some intriguing links to his royal history and family tree.
For Clervaux, in northern Luxembourg, where Charles’ first big, public milestone took place, has strong ties with the Lannoy family which his mother, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie, was born into.
A branch lived in the famous castle at Clervaux for centuries. The castle’s 12th century lay out was modernised in 1634 by Claude de Lannoy, a distant relative of the current Hereditary Grand Duchess. He founded the Luxembourg branch of the Lannoy family and his descendants continued to live at the castle until the middle of the 19th century. Slowly, the building fell into disrepair and during World War Two, it was destroyed during the Battle of the Bulge. Following the war, the castle was completely rebuilt. It is now used as a regional administrative centre and an arts space. Charles’ parents have visited exhibitions there on several occasions.
They abbey where Charles was christened is a relatively new addition to the area. It was built in the early 20th century by a chapter of Benedictine monks who had left France in 1901 as laws stopping them from teaching and separating church and state were fully implemented. They came from the Abbey of St. Maur and, after a period of reflection, they decided to form a new monastery at Clervaux. The abbey and its adjacent buildings were designed by Johann Franz Klomp while the monastery was dedicated to St. Maurice. The monks began to take up residence in 1910 and in 1928, the name of St. Maur was added again to the establishment.
The abbey sits almost in the shadow of the castle where one branch of the Lannoy family held sway for so long, ultimately serving those who ruled the country. Now, a young and distant relative takes a starring role there in the first public event of a life that will see him, one day, reign over Luxembourg.