On our Thursday slots we always profile the life of one of our illustrious Royal characters. Today we will take a look at the beautiful and very popular Grand Duchess of Reichenthal. Born Her Imperial Highness, Princess Azantha of Perlistan, younger sister of the pretender to the Perlistani Imperial Throne, she grew up in humble exile. Later she studied in Europa and met the heir to the throne of Reichenthal while reading History of Art at the University of Wallachia. Her she fell in love and so a lifelong relationship began. She eventually gained no more than two separate degrees, one in Anthropology and the other in Economics. Her Royal status was to the liking of her future husband's family, adding prestige to the Royal match, but her native faith was an almost insurmountable obstacle. She loved Crown Prince Lothair of Reichenthal so much that she decided to convert in order to marry also forgoing her right to the style "Imperial Highness". This set the tone for Azantha's life of duty and commitment, and made her extremely popular in her newly adopted country right from the start.
Seen in the photo above, taken in 2013 at the Year End Ball, Azantha wears a turquoise blue dress, her favourite colour as it reminds her of the colour of the ocean that she loves and misses since her days as a Perlistani Princess. Reichenthal, being entirely landlocked does not afford her much of this very personal affection.
The Grand Duchess enjoys dressing up in accordance with her Royal duties and posed for these photos especially for our blog feature.
Grand Duchess Azantha wears her brand new tiara in this portrait. It was a gift especially made for her at her husband's order to honour her lifelong support of him which lead to his investiture into the Order of the Diamond Star. Azantha has been an unfailing support and encouragement to her husband throughout his life. Even in their youth she saw him through many tumultuous times which included mild alcoholism ending in his involvement in a severe car accident. She shared these times by his side in the face of extreme media coverage but also made a point of attending church and public prayer for the well being of Reichenthal. One of the toughest times she stood by her then fiancé was during the aftermath of Lothair's father's assassination in 1997. If nothing else, her popularity has always been very high in her adopted country and since the mediatized restoration of Reichenthal as an electorate state in Syldavia has now given her a worldwide fan base.
The former Princess of Perlistan has a very close relationship with her sister even though they literally live worlds apart. Azantha converted from her native faith, alienating her family religiously but it seems that a modern outlook on the matter has left their personal relationships strong. Azantha is often placed in the role of acting as a bridge in matters of faith and has spoken at many political conventions on this topic.
In 1998 the loving Grand Ducal couple was married after a very long engagement. In 1999 the birth of a daughter secured the succession. The Grand Duchess' role in support of her husband is quoted as being her greatest passion and the role of mother takes first place within this spousal relationship.
Outside of being a wife and mother Azantha is very committed to her Royal duties of state followed by her charity work which includes the arts, orphans and animal welfare. She is patron of no less than 60 charities of which 15 are from her native country Perlistan.
The Grand Duchess is no stranger to finding herself alone (and entirely safe) amongst her people in the streets of Reichenthal. She is quoted as "loving mingling like a normal person". Grand Duchess Azantha is known to break with protocol. She insists on doing her own shopping – often to the frustration of security personnel who need to have their wits about them if she suddenly decides to jump on her Vespa and pop out to the local Supermarket around the corner from the palace. “She is a regular sight over here …” says Supermarket Manager Carl Vuccini. “And she doesn’t like us bowing or curtsying – she goes her own way and talks up a storm with the patrons and store personnel”. The Papparazzi who respect their Grand Duchess' privacy in public do catch a few shots of her on the odd occasion during her shopping sprees.
Here we see the Grand Duchess happily smiling to the papparazzi while out on her scooter for a coffee date with a friend.
It seems that Reichentalians enjoy their Royal family’s informal way of interaction. It is clear that the Royal couple loves fun. Palace personnel state that the Grand Duke and Duchess sometimes race one another down the palace driveway – on motorbikes! The Grand Ducal couple own a small collection of two wheelers and the pink vespa is recognised throughout Reichenthal.
A recent survey showed that a staggering 95% of Reichentalians view their monarchy as contemporarily relevant and able to keep up with the times, whilst only 5% (mostly consisting of older more conservative-minded citizens) feel that the Grand Duke and his wife are doing an injustice to the antique Reichentalian Code that has been the Constitution of Reichental throughout its existence as a kingdom. Now as a Grand Duchy under the protectorate and rule of Syldavia the older generation feels some of the prestige has waned but the young up-and-coming youth feels that the past is making way for a new day entirely. Grand Duchess Azantha is right there riding the crest of this new surge and we wish her all the best.