Accession to the throne of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg

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On October 7th, 2000, Luxembourg got a new Grand Duke. Grand Duke Jean was succeeded by his oldest son Henri. Grand Duke Jean was born at Berg Castle on January 5th, 1921, as the oldest son of HRH Prince Félix of Luxembourg Prince of Bourbon of Parma and Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg. On April 9th, 1953, Grand Duke Jean married Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. The couple has five children: Marie-Astrid (1954), Henri (1955), Jean and Margaretha (1957) and Guillaume (1963) who are all married and all together have 20 children. Grand Duke Jean was appointed Lieutenant-Répresentant on May 4th, 1961, and on November 12th, 1964, he officially succeeded his mother and was sworn in after the abdication of his mother.

After a 35-year-long reign Grand Duke Jean announced on December 24th, 1999, that he wanted to abdicate in favour of his oldest son Henri, who was already appointed Lieutenant-Répresentant on March 4th, 1998, in a ceremony at the Grand Ducal Palace. A few months after the announcement it was made public that Henri was going to ascend the throne on September 28th. Plans were made for a big celebration, but on September 10th, Prince Guillaume, the youngest son of Grand Duke Jean became seriously wounded in a car crash. On September 19th, nine days before the day the Grand Duke was going to abdicate, the court announced that the throne ceremony would be postponed to October 7th and that most festivities would be held in spring.

The new Grand Duke Henri was born on Betzdorf Castle on April 16th, 1955. He married Cuban Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista, whom he had met during his study, in February 1981. The couple has five children: Guillaume (1981), Felix (1984), Louis (1986), Alexandra (1991) and Sébastien (1992). The oldest son Guillaume will become the new Hereditary Grand Duke. At the moment he attends secondary school in Switzerland and prepares for his final exams. The plan is that he afterwards starts a study at a university in Switzerland.

The programme

10:30am Abdication ceremony of HRH Grand Duke Jean at the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg City.

11:00am Swearing-in ceremony of HRH Grand Duke Henri at the Chambre des Députés.

11:30am The new Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa walked to the Grand Ducal Palace and met the people.

11:45am Reception at the Grand Ducal Palace.

12:00am Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa appeared on the balcony of the Grand-Ducal Palace.

17:45pm The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, their children and guests signed the Livre d’Or of the city of Luxembourg in the town hall.

18:00pm Meeting with the people in the streets of the centre of Luxembourg City.

20:00pm Military aubade in front of the Grand-Ducal Palace.

The guests

For the ceremonies Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, her husband Prince Claus, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium were invited next to dignitaries from Luxembourg. Unfortunately Prince Claus couldn’t attend because of his health. Of course also other family members were present. I saw Princess Marie-Astrid and her husband Arch Duke Carl Christian of Austria, Prince Jean and his wife Hélène, and Princess Margaretha with her husband Prince Nikolaus von und zu Liechtenstein.

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