2. It has a significant, but complicated, red-letter date this week
The Duchess will beÂ dashing toÂ the continent toÂ mark the 150th anniversary ofÂ the Treaty ofÂ LondonÂ â one ofÂ the agreements which established Luxembourg asÂ aÂ sovereign state inÂ the 19th century. Technically, however, this collision ofÂ signaturesÂ â which was ratified byÂ Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia and theÂ UK, asÂ well asÂ LuxembourgÂ â should beÂ called the Â«Second Treaty ofÂ LondonÂ», asÂ there had been anÂ earlier Â«Treaty ofÂ LondonÂ» pertaining toÂ Luxembourgâs status inÂ 1839. Add inÂ the fact that Luxembourg had formally emerged from the French Empire atÂ the end ofÂ the Napoleonic Wars inÂ 1815, and itÂ becomes clear that its evolution into anÂ independent entity wasnât clear atÂ all.
The 1867 Treaty ofÂ London was put onÂ the table toÂ resolve the Â«Luxembourg CrisisÂ»Â â aÂ diplomatic dispute between France and Prussia (ieÂ Germany) asÂ toÂ how strong aÂ military bastion this buffer zone between the two powers should beÂ allowed toÂ be. The answer was Â«not very strong, thanksÂ», and led toÂ the demolition ofÂ some ofÂ Luxembourg Cityâs fortifications. Letâs hope Kate has done her homeworkÂ â thereâs bound toÂ beÂ aÂ test.