She looks every inch the Princess as she reclines in a beautiful, floor-skimming gown, yet Princess Tessy of Luxembourg says she will not retain her royal title after her divorce from Prince Louis was finalised last week.
"There are those who have made sure it is taken away," says the humanitarian, who in 2017 was named Woman of the Decade by the Women Economic Forum for her work in women’s empowerment, security and peace. As part of the settlement, she will retain her title until September, to give her time to get her affairs in order. After then, she will be known as Tessy Antony-de Nassau – de Nassau being the royal family’s surname. "But that is fine. A title doesn't make you who you are. A woman has her own merits and it’s not who you marry or what name you carry, it is what you have achieved in your own right."
After Tessy's fairytale marriage broke down in 2016, she and the Prince were granted a decree nisi in February 2017. The multilingual 33-year-old, who now lives in London with the former couple's children, Prince Gabriel of Nassau, 13, and Prince Noah of Nassau, 11, says her main focus is moving forward with her life with her sons. "My kids love London," she says as she chats to HELLO! during our exclusive photoshoot and interview. "We all love the museums and parks, and it is very safe here."
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Our photoshoot is taking place at private members’ club The Conduit, where Tessy hosts many of her meetings for her philanthropic endeavours. In addition to her work as a businesswoman, public speaker, activist and United Nations Association patron, in January she set up global bespoke consultancy Finding Butterflies, which counts Montessori and Vodafone among its clients.
A co-founder of Professors Without Borders, a social enterprise that aims to improve access to higher education around the world, Tessy hopes to raise £12,000 for its summer schools programme in June by completing the Vätternrundan, a 188-mile bicycle ride in Sweden, in just 48 hours.
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When she loses her royal title, she hopes it will not have a negative impact on her philanthropic work. "It gave me a platform – people are more charmed to listen. It is nice, but having a title was never my identity. And as far as I am concerned, every woman is royal at heart – a heroine."
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