Monday, January 16, 2017

Royal engagement: HRH Princess Marie Gabrielle of Nassau & Antonius Willms

Copyright Valentin Dupont.   This photo shows Princess Marie-Gabrielle and Antonius Willms arriving for the wedding of her cousin, Princess Alix de Ligne,
HRH Princess Marie-Gabrielle Cecile Charlotte Sophie of Nassau is engaged to marry Mr. Antonius Willms.  The marriage will take place at the Finca Llanos de Belvis in Istan, Malaga, Spain, which is the home of Alejandro Gamazo y Hohenlohe and his wife, Marie Caroline Willms, the sister of the bridegroom to be.

Princess Marie-Gabrielle is the eldest child of HRH Prince Jean of Luxembourg and his first wife, Helene Vestur, a French lawyer, who is a member of the  Conseil d'État.  The 31-year-old princess was born at Paris on September 8, 1986 without a title.  She was born three weeks before her father renounced his right of succession.  The announcement was made on September 26, 1986. Jean's reason for his renouncement: he intended "to live abroad and follow an international business career."

Marie-Gabrielle's birth was not announced by the court, and, in fact,  the first public reports of her birth came in 1988, after the birth of her little brother, Constantin, who was born on July 22, 1988.   The revelation came in Prince Jean's  interview with Point de Vue (September 16, 1988). The magazine's cover photo showed the Prince Jean, Helen and baby Constantin.  Readers were introduced to the couple's first child, Marie-Gabrielle.

Jean and Helene were married on May 28, 1987 in Paris.  Neither Grand Duke Jean nor Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg.   Helene did not meet her husband's parents until some time after the wedding.
Marie Gabrielle and her brother, Carl Johann in Washington, D,C., for the wedding of her first cousin, Archduke Imre of Austria.  copyright Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

Marie-Gabrielle and her younger brothers, Constantin,  Wenceslas and Carl-Johann, were registered with the surname Nassau.  It was not until September 21, 1995 that Grand Duke Jean decreed that Prince Jean's children would have the title Countess and Count of Nassau.  Prince Jean's older brother, Grand Duke Henri, issued a decree on November 24, 2004 that gave the title Prince and Princess of Nassau to Jean's children with the rank of Royal Highness.     Princess Marie-Gabrielle and her younger brothers do not have dynastic rights, however.

Prince Jean and Miss Vestur were interviewed by Point to Vue shortly before their wedding.  Both were asked what were their favorite names.  Helene answered: Jean, Constantin, Francois,  Xavier, Henri, Marie-Gabrielle and Anastasia.

Prince Jean and Helene Vestur were divorced in 2004.  He married a second time to Diane de Guerre.

Marie-Gabrielle received a BA in Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths College in London, and a MAAB (Master's in Art Business) from Sotheby's Institute.   The princess is now based in the Munich area, where she works in architecture planning and interior design.

Antonius Benedikt Willms was born on December 22, 1988 in Atlanta, Georgia, one of four children of Hayo Willms and his wife, Countess Maria Theresia von Goëss.  He studied in Luxembourg and at the University of St. Andrews, where he received a MA in Economics and Modern History.

The Spanish estate ,where the wedding will take place, has its own royal connection.  Marie Caroline's husband, Alejandro (Sandro) is a descendant of Prince Maximilian Egon of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1897-1968)   In 1921, he married  Maria Piedad de Iturbe, the Marquesa de Belvis de las Navas (1892-). They had five children: Maria Francisca, Alfonso, Cristian, Elisabeth, Max Emanuel and Beatriz.  

Maria Francisca (1922-2007) married Claudio Gamazo y Arnus, Marqués de Soto de Aller.  Her eldest child, Alejandra Maria de la Piedad , 4th Marquesa de Belvis Las Navas,  is not married, but has a son, Alejandro (Sandro) Gamazo Hohenlohe by a German national, Christian Bremme.  Sandro is married to Marie-Caroline Willms.   They have two young daughters.

Princess Marie-Gabrielle and Antonius Willms are fifth cousins, and share a common ancestor in Princess Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luisa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1798-1870), eldest child of King Francesco I of the Two Sicilies and his first wife, Archduchess Clementine of Austria (1777-1801).    Maria Carolina was married twice. Her first marriage to Prince Charles d'Artois, Duke of Berry  (1779-1820).  The Duke of Berry and his wife were leaving the opera house in Paris when he was stabbed by a saddle maker, Louis Pierre Rouvel.  Princess Marie Gabrielle descends from their daughter, Louise Marie Therese (1819-1864), who married Duke Carlos III of Parma.

The Duchess of Berry painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Antonius is a descendant of Maria Carolina's second marriage to Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli, 8th Duke della Grazia through the youngest child  of Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli, 9th Duke della Grazia (1840-1911) and his wife, Donna Lucrezia Ruffo (1831-1941)

The date of the wedding has not been announced.


Lionel M. said...

Hi Marlene,

As the duc de Berry was killed before his father became king (as Charles X), he was never "de France". He was Charles-Ferdinand d'Artois, duc de Berry.

1971 said...

From conclusions at nobiliana it seems Marie Caroline Willms married Alejandro Gamazo Hohenlohe, 1st cousin of Alejandro Abelló y Gamazo