Speech by His Royal Highness The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, "Charlotte: A Royal at War (Léif Lëtzebuerger)" London premiere 19 September 2008.
Your Royal Highnesses, Secretary of State for Culture, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first congratulate the Grace Productions in association with our "Centre national de l'audiovisuel" for having reconstructed some essentials of our recent past.
The film we have just been watching showed us the story of Luxembourg during World War II seen from a particular angle, recalling the part played by my Grandmother and the government in exile. Grand Duchess Charlotte left her country and her compatriots when Luxembourg was occupied by Nazi Germany. This was in spite of Germany being one of the guarantors of Luxembourg's internationally recognised neutrality. Occupation is always an abomination, but what followed in the years 1940-1944 in Luxembourg annexed by Germany was a reign of terror. My Grandmother was then a young mother of six children and she knew what this annexation meant for her people back home. She wanted to communicate with her compatriots, console and encourage them, and above all instil hope.
It was the United Kingdom which gave her the means to do this through the communications technology of the day, namely the radio. The BBC agreed to let her speak, and thanks to its help and cooperation, many messages of solidarity, compassion and love were sent across the radio waves bridging the distance between London and Luxembourg.
The Luxemburgers will never forget the voice which reached them in those dark days, the voice of their Head of State, speaking softly in their language, yet animated by a fierce resolution. Her speeches united our people back home and strengthened their determination to resist against the Nazis. My countrymen will thus never forget the BBC; they will never forget the help extended to them by Great Britain across the Channel, and of course they will never forget their liberation by the Allied forces.
I wish to thank again the BBC for all it did for my country during World War II. And as a token of our recognition may I hand over to you, Mr. Olexiy Solohubenko a bronze statue representing Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess Charlotte, my Grandmother, the figurehead of a nation giving hope to her people at home through the BBC.