Grand Duke of Luxembourg comes to wife's defense over 'hostile working environment' claims at palace

The Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg defended his wife on Monday following allegations that she created a “hostile working environment” in the palace.

Henri released a statement addressed to the press on the Luxembourg royal family’s website, which came after an article published by Lëtzebuerger Land claimed that Grand Duchess Matia Teresa, 63, mistreated palace staff, according to People magazine. The letter was accompanied by new images of the couple as they walked hand-in-hand and took in the local sights.

“I am writing to you from my brother-in-law’s bedside in an intensive care unit in Geneva,” Grand Duke Henri, 64, wrote in the letter, according to People. “Out of a desire for openness, transparency and modernity, I agreed that the internal analysis proposed by the Prime Minister should go ahead."

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“As we await publication of the report, and indeed throughout this process, articles have appeared in the media making unfair accusations against my wife, the mother of our five children and a devoted grandmother,” the statement continued. “This is taking its toll on my whole family. Why attack a woman? A woman who speaks up for other women? A woman who is not even being given the right to defend herself?”

The report Henri references is one requested by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, which will offer a look into the accounts and management of the court’s staff, according to People. Further, the report is said to be handled by Jeannot Waringo, who is a retired civil servant.

The Grand Duke also played up his and his wife’s resume of causes they have advocated for since he took the helm in October 2000.

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“Since I came to the throne, it has been our shared desire to help modernize our constitutional monarchy, and we wish to continue to contribute to this process,” he said. “The causes my wife has fought for, which I have always supported and which we will continue to fight for, are vitally important. This work includes campaigning against dyslexia, fighting sexual violence, improving the status of imprisoned children in Africa, helping to develop microfinance and promoting education for young girls and women.”

Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and his wife Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, leave after a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of World War One, at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France, November 11, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and his wife Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, leave after a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of World War One, at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France, November 11, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

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He concluded: “I am proud of the commitment, intelligence and energy my wife brings to bear in all this work. The devotion she has shown over the past 39 years to serving our country by my side is exemplary and is of essential importance to me."

“We will continue to serve you; to be there for you and for Luxembourg," the statement from Sunday read. "Especially at this crucial time when our children are setting out on a family life of their own, we feel bound as parents to ensure that they can make the most of these precious years as our heirs.”

The Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg said in a press release on Jan. 13 that Duchess Maria had to suspend her royal duties while she cared for her younger brother Luis Mestre after he was admitted into the hospital.

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Meanwhile, an earlier story by the digital outlet Reporter said some 30 employees -- about one-third of its staff --have resigned from the Court since 2015, according to People.