Luxembourg

Last modified: 4 July 2020

The country

The state is known as Grand Duché de Luxembourg in its national language. This means the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The country is being reigned by the Nassau (Bourbon de Parme) dynasty.

Luxembourg was founded in the 2nd half of the 10th century and since there were many reigning houses. The House of Ardennes died out in 1336 and Luxemburg came to the House of Limburg. The county of Luxembourg became a duchy and was sold to Philip the Good Duke of Burgundy in 1443. In 1477 it came to the Habsburg Empire. In 1795 it became a department of France and in 1815 it was promoted to a grand duchy as a part of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1830 it lost half the grand duchy to the new Kingdom of Belgium. King Willem II gave the grand duchy constitutions in 1841 and 1848. King Willem III made his brother Prince Hendrik stadtholder of Luxembourg in 1850, which he stayed until his death in 1879. After the liquidation of the German Alliance in 1867 Luxembourg became an independent state.

Until 1890 Luxembourg was in Dutch hands. As the Salian law was in force in Luxembourg, after the death of King Willem III the throne of Luxemburg was given to Adolph Duke of Nassau, from the Walramian branch of the House of Nassau. In 1866 the Prussian King Wilhelm I had driven him away from the duchy of Nassau, and he had been stadtholder of Luxembourg since 1879. His son Guillaume IV, who died in 1912, only had six daughters so in 1907 the Salian Law was abolished and his eldest daughter Marie Adelaïde became the new Grand Duchess. In World War I she was (wrongly) accused of pro-German sympathies. She was forced to give up her throne in 1919 and died in 1924. After Luxembourg almost had become a republic, it was clear that her sister Charlotte was willing to become the new Grand Duchess and soon married Prince Felix of Bourbon of Parma.

Sovereign

The current sovereign is Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume Grand Duke of Luxembourg. He was born at Betzdorf Castle, Luxembourg, on 16 April 1955.

He is the son of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (1921- ) and his wife Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium (1927-2005).

Enthronement

Henri became the lieutenant-représentant of Luxembourg (regent) on 4 March 1998. Henri succeeded his father after his abdication on 7 October 2000.

The inauguration took place at the Chambre des Députés at Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, on 7 November 2000.

Other details

The Grand Duke is a Roman Catholic.

Marriage and descendants

Grand Duke Henri is married to Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista (born 1956) since 1981.

Their children:

  • Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume (born 1981)
  • Prince Félix (born 1984) is married to Claire Lademacher (born 1985) since 2013. They have one daughter, Princess Amalia de Nassau (born 2014), and one son, Prince Liam de Nassau (born 2016).
  • Prince Louis (born 1986) married Tessy Antony (born 1985) in 2006. The couple has two sons, Prince Gabriel de Nassau (born 2006) and Prince Noah de Nassau (born 2007). Louis and Tessy divorced in 2019.
  • Princess Alexandra (born 1991)
  • Prince Sébastien (born 1992)

Heir to the throne

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie was born at Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, on 11 November 1981.

Guillaume was officially appointed Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg on 18 December 2000.

He is married to Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy (born 1984) since 2012.

Their son:

  • Charles (born 2020)

Postal address

Palais Grand-Ducal
17, rue du Marché-aux-Herbes
1728 Luxembourg
Luxembourg

Succession

The throne is hereditary in the Nassau family and was until 2011 passed through in straight male line according to the right of the first-born male. If there were no male heirs in straight line anymore, the throne was given to the male descendants of another branche. If there were no male heir anymore in all branches, the throne went according to the right of the first born to the female descendance of the reigning dynasty. Afterwards the succession continued in male line. In September 2010 Grand Duke Henri changed the family law of the House of Nassau-Luxembourg, as became known on 20 June 2011. Princesses now have the same rights of succession as their brothers. The first-born child now will succeed to the throne, no matter whether it is a male or a female. Princes(ses) are not allowed to marry without permission of the sovereign, as otherwise they will loose their rights to the throne, and their titles.

Titles

Until July 28th, 1987, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg was titled Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon of Parme, Count palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Viscount of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein. After this date the Grand Duke abandoned the title Prince of Bourbon of Parme. Since 1987 the dynasty’s name is just Nassau. On 3 February 2006 the dynasty’s name was changed into “de Nassau”. The eldest son is Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, crown prince of Nassau. The other members are Prince(ss) of Luxembourg and Nassau. Since 27 November 2004 the wife of Prince Robert of Luxembourg as well as their descendants, and the descendants of Prince Jean of Luxembourg were given the style and title of “Royal Highness, Prince(ss) de Nassau”. The wife and children of Prince Louis of Luxembourg carried the name de Nassau, without styles or titles, since 2006. On 22 June 2009 Prince Louis’ wife Tessy received the title of “Princess of Luxembourg” with the style of “Royal Highness”. The children as of that date are “Prince de Nassau” and “Royal Highness”.

Royal residences

Since 1890 the Grandducal Palace in Luxembourg-City is the official residence of the Grand Duke, and is used for official engagements. Previously it was used as townhall and as residence of the governor of Luxembourg. The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess reside at Berg Castle in Colmar-Berg. The Hereditary Grand Ducal couple lives nearby. This castle was bought by King Willem II of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxemburg, in 1845. In 1891 it was bought by Grand Duke Adolph I. The castle became property of the Luxemburg state in 1934. Since the castle was made available to the grandducal family. It is, according to the constitution, the residence of the reigning Grand Duke. Fischbach Castle was bought by King Willem II in 1850, and also this castle was bought by Grand Duke Adolph I in 1891. It is still private property of the family. The present Grand Duke Henri lived here with his family from 1987 to 2002. After becoming a Grand Duke he moved to Berg Castle. Fischbach Castle is since 2002 the residence of Grand Duke Jean.

The Grand Dukes of Luxembourg

Willem I (1772-1843)1815-1840
Willem II (1792-1849)1840-1849
Willem III (1817-1890)1849-1890
Adolph I (1817-1905)1890-1905
Guillaume IV (1852-1912)1905-1912
Maria Anna (1861-1942) (regent)1908-1912
Marie Adélaïde (1894-1924)1912-1919
Charlotte (1896-1985)1919-1964
Jean (1921-2019)1964-2000
Henri (1955- )2000-

Links