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Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

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Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Henri at the wedding of his son in 2012
Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Reign 7 October 2000 – present
Predecessor Jean
Heir apparent Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Prime Ministers
Regency 3 March 1998 – 7 October 2000
Born (1955-04-16) 16 April 1955
Betzdorf, Luxembourg
Spouse María Teresa Mestre y Batista
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume
Prince Felix
Prince Louis
Princess Alexandra
Prince Sébastien
Full name
Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume
House House of Nassau-Weilburg
Father Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Mother Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
Religion Roman Catholicism

Henri (given names: Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume; born 16 April 1955) is the current Grand Duke of Luxembourg, reigning since 7 October 2000. He is the eldest son of Grand Duke Jean and Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium, and a first cousin of the current King of the Belgians, Philippe.


  • Childhood and education 1
  • Marriage and family 2
  • Constitutional position 3
    • Euthanasia controversy and constitutional reform 3.1
  • Role and interests 4
  • Media and publicity 5
  • Health 6
  • Titles, styles and honours 7
    • Titles and styles 7.1
    • Honours from Luxembourg 7.2
    • Foreign honours 7.3
  • Ancestors 8
    • Patrilineal descent 8.1
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Childhood and education

Henri (far left) with his parents and siblings in 1963

Grand Duke Henri has four siblings: Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria (born 1954), Prince Jean of Luxembourg (born 1957), Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein (born 1957) and Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg (born 1963).

Henri became Grand Duke of Luxembourg on 7 October 2000. He was educated in Luxembourg and in France, where he obtained his baccalaureate in 1974. He then studied political science at University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, graduating in 1980. The Grand Duke also undertook military officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England.

Marriage and family

While studying in Geneva, Henri met the former María Teresa Mestre y Batista, who was also a political science student. They married in Luxembourg on 4 February/14 February 1981 with the previous consent of the Grand Duke, dated 7 November 1980.

The couple have five children:

Constitutional position

The Grand Duke with his wife and heir apparent

Prince Henri became heir apparent to the Luxembourg throne on the abdication of his paternal grandmother, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, on 12 November 1964. From 1980 to 1998, he was a member of the Council of State.

On 4 March 1998, Prince Henri was appointed as Lieutenant Representative by his father, Grand Duke Jean, meaning that he assumed most of his father's constitutional powers. On 7 October 2000, immediately following the abdication of his father, Henri acceded as Grand Duke of Luxembourg and took the constitutional oath before the Chamber of Deputies later that day.

Henri's full name, style and title is: His Royal Highness Henri, by the Grace of God, 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.

With the exception of Grand Duke of Luxembourg, all the titles refer to places in modern Germany, particularly in the House of Nassau's ancestral region of Nassau.

However, on ascending the throne, Grand Duke Henri relinquished the styling "by the Grace of God", and in the laws, decrees, and official documents his name and title is: "Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau".

Euthanasia controversy and constitutional reform

On 2 December 2008 it was announced that Grand Duke Henri had stated he would refuse to ratify a new law on euthanasia that had been approved earlier in the year by the Chamber of Deputies. The signature of the Grand Duke was required under the Constitution in order for the law to take effect. In the absence of clarity on the long-term implications for the constitutional position of the Grand Duke posed by such a refusal, it was announced by the Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, that a constitutional amendment would be brought forward whereby the signature of the monarch would no longer be necessary for laws to be enacted. This would remove one of the legislative roles of the Grand Duke, namely the approving of new legislation. The Luxembourg royal house had tried to block a decision by parliament only once before, when Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide refused to sign an education bill in 1912. The ultimate solution was that the Grand Duke would be declared unable to perform his duty temporarily; this was similar to the 'escape route' provided to his uncle King Baudouin of Belgium when he refused to sign an abortion law in 1991, and thus the law could take effect without the signature of the Grand Duke, but also without the need to enact far-reaching changes in the constitution. A constitutional amendment, which changed the formulation of the role of the Grand Duke or Duchess in such a way as to make it clear that his signature is automatic and that he/she has no freedom of decision was nevertheless eventually passed. The head of state no longer has to sanction laws for them to take effect; he merely promulgates them.[1]

Role and interests

The Grand Duke with Vladimir Putin in May 2007

As the head of a constitutional monarchy, Grand Duke Henri's duties are primarily representative. However, he retains the constitutional power to appoint the Prime Minister and Government, to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, to promulgate laws and to accredit ambassadors.

Grand Duke Henri is Commander-in-Chief of the Luxembourg Army, in which he holds the rank of General. He is also an Honorary Major in the British Parachute Regiment.

One of the Grand Duke's main functions is to represent Luxembourg in the field of foreign affairs. In May 2001, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa undertook their first foreign state visit to Spain, at the invitation of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

Grand Duke Henri is a member of the Galápagos Islands.

The Grand Duke lives with his family at Berg Castle in Luxembourg. He also has a holiday home at Cabasson, near Bormes-les-Mimosas in the south of France.

Media and publicity

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess at the wedding of the Crown Princess of Sweden in 2010

Since the accession of Henri to the Grand Ducal Throne in 2000, the Court's approach to media and publicity has varied markedly. In 2002, Grand Duke Henri expressly identified himself with a press conference called by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa with a view to discussing with journalists the shortcomings of her personal relations with her mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte.

In contrast, when the grand ducal couple's first grandchild was born in 2006, the Court Circular pointedly omitted to mention the event, probably as the father Prince Louis was not married at the time. However, the pregnancy was announced in 2005, so the country was informed that the prince and his girlfriend were going to be parents. The press also had access to the child's baptism.

The Grand Ducal Family's approach to media and publicity issues has itself given rise to media comment regarding the quality of communications advice which has been sought and followed. As well as the public airing of the difficulties between the Grand Duchess and her mother-in-law, several other events have resulted in adverse publicity, most notably: in 2004, the opening of Parliament by the Grand Duke in person, the first time in over 100 years the Monarch had done so; in 2005, the Grand Duke announced he intended to vote in favour of the European Constitution in the impending referendum, only to be reminded by senior politicians that he had no such right; the proposed sale of large tracts of the Gruenewald in the summer of 2006 shortly followed by the proposed sale (cancelled shortly afterwards) at Sotheby's of recently deceased Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte's effects.[2]


On 3 February 2011, Henri was admitted to the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg on falling ill. Shortly after, the Grand Ducal Court issued a statement saying that he was to undergo an angioplasty. The day after, the Communications Chief announced that the surgery had been a success. "The state of His Royal Highness' health is not disturbing," the statement read, before stating the Grand Duke may leave the hospital within the next few days. Although the reason has not formally been disclosed, it is reported that the Grand Duke felt ill after waking that day, and the Court Physician noticed circulation problems. It was then that he was rushed to hospital, to the cardiac unit, and was discharged the following day.

Titles, styles and honours

Titles and styles

  • 16 April 1955 – 12 November 1964: His Royal Highness Prince Henri of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma
  • 12 November 1964 – 7 October 2000: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
  • 7 October 2000 – present: His Royal Highness The Grand Duke of Luxembourg

The Grand Duke's style and title in full: His Royal Highness Henri by the Grace of God, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein

Honours from Luxembourg

Foreign honours

International sovereign organisations

Former Sovereign families


Patrilineal descent

See also


  1. ^ "Luxembourg to reduce duke's power", BBC News, 3 December 2008.
  2. ^ Revue 10 December 2008, Editions Revue S.A., Luxembourg
  3. ^
  4. ^ Royalement Blog, State visit of Belgium in Luxembourg (1994), Princes Photos, Group Photo
  5. ^ Photo with Order of Leopold illustrating an article of "Noblesse et Royautes" website
  6. ^ DECRETO DE 3 DE DEZEMBRO DE 2007 - website JusBrasil
  7. ^
  8. ^ The royal forums, Grand-Dukes' state visit to Denmark, October 2003: Photo
  9. ^ Estonian State decorations, 05/05/2003
  10. ^ "Noblesse et Royautés" website, article with photos of gala dinner
  11. ^, State visit of President Tarja Halonen in Luxembourg in november 2008 (article in French with photos showing the decorations)
  12. ^, State visit of President Stephanopoulos in Luxembourg, July 2001
  13. ^ "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Italin President Napolitano in Luxembourg, february 2009
  14. ^ Latvian Presidency, Recipients list (.doc)
  15. ^ Agency photo taken during the state visit (French) of Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré in Luxembourg in November 2005.
  16. ^ The royal forums, State visit of Luxembourg to Netherlands, 2006, Photo
  17. ^ "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Queen Beatrix in Luxembourg, 21-23 march 2012
  18. ^ "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Grand-Dukes in Norway, 30 May - 1 June 2011
  19. ^ Romanian Presidency website, Recipients of the order (Excel sheet)
  20. ^ Slovak republic website, State honours (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table) : 1st Class received by Grand-Duke in 2002, i.e. during the state visit (French) of President Rudolf Schuster in Luxembourg (november 2002).
  21. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  22. ^ a b Spanish Royal Family website, State visit of Juan Carlos & Sofia in Luxembourg, April 2007, Photo of the Sovereign couples
  23. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  24. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  25. ^ "Noblesse et Royautes" website, Victoria of Sweden's wedding, June 2010
  26. ^ Gettyimages
  27. ^
  28. ^ Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (Photo)
  29. ^ "Noblesse et Royautes" website, William and Catherine's wedding, photos of royal guests

External links

  • Official website
  • The Mentor Foundation
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Born: 16 April 1955
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Heir apparent:
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