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Grand Duke Paris Match interview was unauthorised

Grand Duke Paris Match interview was unauthorised

by Yannick LAMBERT 2 min. 17.02.2021 From our online archive
Royal couple talked about state matters without telling government, court marshal says
Grand Duke Henri and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Photo: Guy Jallay
Grand Duke Henri and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Photo: Guy Jallay

Grand Duke Henri and his wife launched criticism at a shake-up of their court without the government's stamp of approval, a senior official said, just as Prime Minister Xavier Bettel took stock of progress of the reforms after a mismanagement scandal last year.

Henri had complained that the formal role of his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, was being "erased" in an interview with Paris Match from  3 February - a comment government-appointed Court Marshal Yuriko Backes said had not been agreed with her or with Bettel.

While the monarch is allowed to express himself freely about personal matters, the government must approve any state issues, including the reorganisation of the court after a report last year found a "climate of fear" among staff and a lack of financial transparency.

Backes, a former diplomat who was apointed at the court to oversee the reforms on behalf of the government, told national broadcaster RTL there was no longer a "climate of fear” at the court.

There had been no further staff departures since she took on her role and she had filled nine of 15 job openings, Backes said. Yet adopting the recommendations from the so-called Waringo report remained a "learning process" for the royal couple, she added.

Bettel on Tuesday talked to lawmakers in a closed-door session about progress made in reforming the court after the Waringo report. According to parliament's website, Bettel had said that good progress had been made, but that there is still work to be done.

Lawmakers have been working for years on changes to the constitution change that would further reduce the powers the monarch in theory has  to an entirely ceremonial one, a process that has been accelerated after the Waringo report came out.

Backes did not want to comment on the Grand Ducal family's Christmas holidays in Biarritz in the south of France, which caused uproar as the country was suffering under the pandemic at the same time and the monarch signed new Covid-19 restrictions into law from there.

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