|Photo: Luc Deflorenne / SIP|
The Grand Ducal Family consists of the extended family of the reigning Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The current head of state of the world's only remaining Grand Duchy is Grand Duke Henri, who is also the head of the House of Nassau-Weilburg.
Grand Duke Adolphe, Grand Duke Guillaume IV and Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde
The current Grand Duke is the sixth ruler of the House of Nassau-Weilburg, who inherited the claim to the Luxembourgish throne in 1890 when William III. King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg died without leaving a male heir. The dispossessed Duke of Nassau Adolphe became the new Grand Duke. When Grand Duke Adolphe died in 1905 he was succeeded by his oldest son Grand Duke Guillaume IV.
Together with his wife Infanta Maria Ana of Portugal, Grand Duke Guillaume IV had six daughters. As there were no male dynastic heirs in 1906, the Grand Duke named his oldest daughter Marie-Adélaïde as heir to the grand ducal throne. She would eventually succeed her father and ruled Luxembourg for seven years. After the First World War, due to being highly unpopular as she was unjustly considered pro-German, Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde was forced to abdicate in favour of her sister Charlotte.
Grand Duchess Charlotte
At the beginning of her reign Grand Duchess Charlotte was faced with a referendum about a new constitution in which the Luxembourgers could vote between (1) keeping Charlotte as Grand Duchess, (2) retaining the monarchy but replacing Charlotte with another member of the family, (3) retaining the monarchy but replacing the dynasty or (4) getting rid of the monarchy and declare Luxembourg a republic. With a majority of 77,8% the referendum was decided in favour of a continuation of the monarchy under Grand Duchess Charlotte.
Through the marriage of Grand Duchess Charlotte to Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma, she elevated the status of her descendants from grand ducal highness to royal highness; all her male line descendants are styled as royal highnesses due to their Bourbon-Parma heritage, with the exception of the Grand Duke, Hereditary Grand Duke and their respective spouses. The reigning Grand Duke (or Grand Duchess) and the heir apparant were naturally styled as royal highness, even before Charlotte's marriage. For example, Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde was elevated to royal highness the same day she was named Hereditary Grand Duchess. Exiled during the Second World War, the Grand Duchess became a strong symbol for national unity, resistance and freedom.
Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Félix had six children: Prince Jean, Princess Elisabeth (married Duchess of Hohenberg), Princess Marie-Adélaïde (married Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck), Princess Marie-Gabrielle (married Countess Holstein til Ledreborg), Prince Charles and Princess Alix (married Princess of Ligne).
Grand Duke Jean
The oldest son Prince Jean was born on January 5th, 1920 at the Château de Berg. After receiving his educational training at schools in Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, he was named Hereditary Grand Duke upon reaching maturity.
In 1940, after the family had fled Luxembourg which was occupied by Nazi-Germany, he started to study Law and Political Science at the Universitè Laval in Quebec City, Canada, before joining the British Army in 1942. As captain of the Irish Guards in landed in the Normandy in June 1944 and took part in the Battle of Caen, the Liberation of Brussels and finally on September 10th, 1944 the Liberation of Luxembourg. Upon returning to the Grand Duchy both the Hereditary Grand Duke and his father Prince Félix were carried around on the shoulders of their citizens.
In 1953 Hereditary Grand Duke Jean married Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold III of the Belgians and sister to Kings Baudoin and Albert II. Although it was an arranged marriage, it was on all accounts a happy one and the couple were blessed with five children.
Princess Marie-Astrid (*1954) ⚭ Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria (*1954)
- Archduchess Marie-Christine (*1983) ⚭ Count Rodolphe of Limburg-Stirum (*1978)
- Count Léopold (*2011)
- Archduke Imre (*1985) ⚭ Archduchess Kathleen (*1985, née Walker)
- Archduke Christoph (*1988) ⚭ Archduchess Adélaïde (*1989, née Drapé-Frisch)
- Archduke Alexander (*1990)
- Archduchess Gabriella (*1994)
Grand Duke Henri (*1955) ⚭ Grand Duchess Maria Teresa (*1956, née Mestre)
Prince Jean of Luxembourg (*1957) ⧞ Hélène Vestur, former Countess of Nassau (*1958) / ⚭ Countess Diane de Nassau (née De Guerre
- Princess Marie-Gabrielle (*1986)
- Prince Constantin (*1988)
- Prince Wenceslas (*1990)
- Prince Carl-Johan (*1992)
Princess Margaretha (*1957) ⚭ Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein (*1947)
- Prince Léopold (1984-1984)
- Princess Maria-Anunciata (*1985)
- Princess Marie-Astrid (*1987)
- Prince Josef-Emanuel (*1989)
Prince Guillaume (*1963) ⚭ Princess Sibilla (*1968, née Weiller)
- Prince Paul-Louis (*1998)
- Prince Léopold (*2000)
- Princess Charlotte (*2000)
- Prince Jean (*2004)
Princess Marie-Astrid married Archduke Carl-Christian of Austria, son of Archduke Carl-Ludwig and Princess Yolande of Ligne, in 1982. The Archduke is the grandson of the last Austrian emperor Karl and his wife Zita, who was the sister of Grand Duchess Charlotte's husband Prince Félix. The members of the family have the titles traditionally associated with the Imperial Family of Austria including those of Archduke and Archduchess of Austria together with the style of Imperial and Royal Highness.
Prince Jean's daughter Marie-Gabrielle was born a year before her parents married. Shortly before his wedding the prince renounced his rights to the throne for himself and his descendants. In 1995 both his wife and children were given the titles of Count and Countess of Nassau, Prince Jean would later divorce his first wife. In 2004 his children were elevated to Prince and Princess of Nassau with the style as Royal Highness. In 2009 Prince Jean married Diane de Guerre in a civil ceremony, Madame de Guerre does not have a Luxembourgish title.
Princess Margaretha is the twin sister of Prince Jean and married Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein in 1982. Prince Nikolaus is the brother of the current Prince of Liechtenstein Hans-Adam II and his country's former ambassador to Belgium and current non-resident ambassador to the Holy See. Their first son Léopold died a few hours after his birth. The family bear the titles Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein, Count and Countess Reitberg together with the style of Serene Highness, as provided in the House Laws of Liechtenstein. Princess Margaretha continues to enjoy the style of a Royal Highness.
In 1994, Prince Guillaume married Sibilla Weiller, daughter of the Italian princess Donna Olimpia Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi and thus great-granddaughter of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. While Sibilla is a Princess of Luxembourg, their children carry the title of Prince and Princess of Nassau with the style of Royal Highness. The three sons of Prince Guillaume are in line of the succession to the throne.
Hereditary Grand Duke Jean succeeded his mother on the Luxembourgish throne upon her abdictation in 1964 and reigned until 2000. After Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte died after losing a battle with lung cancer in 2005, the former Grand Duke now lives quietly at the Château de Fischbach. At the age of 92, he still occasionally carries out official engagements.
Grand Duke Jean's deceased brother Prince Charles married the American born divorcee Joan Douglas Dillon in 1967 while she was pregnant with their first child. Princess Charlotte was born a few months after her parents wedding, her younger brother Prince Robert a year later. Prince Charles was also the step-father to Princess Joan's daughter from her previous marriage. Prince Charles died in 1977 because of heart failure. His widow later remarried the late Philippe de Noailles, the Duc de Mouchy (Prince-Duc de Poix). During her marriage to Prince Charles and her widowhood, Joan enjoyed the style of Royal Highness and the title Princess of Luxembourg. She currently uses combination of her maiden name and marital title: Joan Dillon, Duchess de Mouchy.
Their daughter Princess Charlotte married Marc Cunningham with whom she has three children. Prince Robert married American Julie Ongaro in 1994, the couple have three children Charlotte, Alexandre and Frederik. Both his wife and his children bear the title of Princes and Princesses of Nassau while Prince Robert himself is a Prince of Luxembourg. Since 2008 when his mother Joan de Mouchy stepped down, Prince Robert is the president of famous Domaine Clarence Dillon, a company that owns a couple of Bordeaux wine estates and was named after Clarence Dillon, an American financier and maternal great-grandfather of the prince.
Grand Duke Henri
Grand Duke Henri was born as Prince Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume on April 16th, 1956 at the Château de Betzdorf. He attended school in Luxembourg and France, before receiving his military training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. He studied political science at the University of Geneva in Switzerland where he graduated in 1980.
During his university years he met Cuban-born Maria-Teresa Mestre who also studied political science in Geneva. The Mestre family had fled Cuba during the revolution and moved to New York City, later to Santander in Spain and finally to Geneva. Maria Teresa is the daughter of José Antonio Mestre y Alvarez and María Teresa Batista y Falla de Mestre, she descends from the bourgeoisie and Spanish nobility.
The couple married on February 14th, 1981 and has five children and two grandchildren.
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume (*1981) ⚭ Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie (*1984, née Countess de Lannoy)
Prince Félix (*1984) o Claire Lademacher (*1985)
Prince Louis (*1986) ⚭ Princess Tessy (*1985, née Antony)
- Prince Gabriel (*2006)
- Prince Noah (*2007)
Princess Alexandra (*1991)
Prince Sébastien (*1992)
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume received his education at the local primary school in Lorentzweiler, the Lycée Robert Schuman in Luxembourg City and the boarding school Collège Alpin International Beau-Soleil in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. After graduating he attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst like his father and uncle Prince Jean did before him and his cousins Prince Josef, Archduke Alexander and Prince Wenceslas did after him.
Subsequently, he attended the University of Durham and Brunel University in the United Kingdom before studying philosophy and anthropology at l'Institut Philanthropos in Fribourg, Switzerland. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from the French Institut Albert-le-grand in Angers. The degree was awarded by Université d'Angers due to a matriculation agreement. He speaks Luxembourgish, French, German, English and Spanish fluently.
He became Hereditary Prince of Luxembourg upon his father's ascenion to the throne in 2000, a year later he was officially named Hereditary Grand Duke. He is also a Prince of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau and Prince of Bourbon-Parma. Since 2009 he has been working as a full time Hereditary Grand Duke.
On October 19th and 20th, he married Belgian Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy. Educated in Belgium, France and Germany, she speaks five languages. After her wedding, she became Princess Stéphanie, the Hereditary Grand Duchess.
Prince Félix is the second son of the grand ducal couple. Like his brother he attended primary school in Lorentzweiler and later went on to visit the École Privée Notre Dame Sainte-Sophie and International School of Luxembourg and the same boarding school as Guillaume. After finishing school he started military training in Sandhurst but did not complete it due to a serious knee injury.
After studying in different countries and working for a public relations firm in Switzerland, Félix is now studying in Rome for a bachelor's degree in bioetics. He is fluently in Luxembourgish, French, German and English but also knows Spanish and Italian. He is currently second in line to the throne.
Prince Félix announced his engagement to German heiress Claire Lademacher on December 13th, 2012.
Prince Louis was educated at the local primary school, the International School and the same boarding school in Switzerland as his brothers Guillaume and Félix.
In 2006 is was announced that Louis and his girlfriend Luxembourger Tessy Antony were expecting a child, their son Gabriel was born in March 2006 in Geneva. Later the same year, the two married at a parish church in Gilsdorf, upon marrying Tessy simply received the surname "de Nassau" without any title or style. A year later the two welcomed their second son Noah, who was born in Luxembourg.
Before the wedding, Louis gave up his place in the line of succession. On National Day 2009 it was announced that from then on, Tessy would be titled Princess of Luxembourg with the style of a royal highness and that their sons would receive the titles of Princes of Nassau with the style of royal highnesses.
After living and attending university in Florida for two years, the family now lives in the British capital London where both Louis and Tessy are attending university.
Princess Alexandra is the fourth child and only girl in the family. She attended the primary school in Angelsberg as well as the French-speaking Lycée Vauban. Fluent in Luxembourgish, French, German and English, Alexandra now studies Sociology, Philosophy and History at a university in the United States of America.
After a change of the succession laws starting with the descendants of Grand Duke Henri, she is now third in line to the throne behind Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Prince Félix.
Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the family and is currently fourth in line to the throne. He was educated at the primary school in Angelsberg, Summer Fields School, Ampleforth College and the International School of Luxembourg. He is now studying marketing and communication at a university in the United States of America.
Before becoming Grand Duke Henri was a member of the council of state from 1980 until 1998 and lieutenant representative of his father from 1998 until October 7th, 2000, the day he became the head of state of the Grand Duchy.
The Grand Duke's full style and title is "His Royal Highness Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein" Though when becoming Grand Duke he relinquished the style "by the Grace of God" and is officially known as "His Royal Highness Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau". Likewise, his wife is known as Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
For more information about topics related to the Grand Ducal Family, their members or Luxembourg in general, have a look at our Luxarazzi 101 series.