Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
|Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Duchess of Nassau|
The Grand Duchess in 1942
|Grand Duchess of Luxembourg|
|Reign||14 January 1919 – 12 November 1964|
23 January 1896|
Berg Castle, Luxembourg
|Died||9 July 1985
Fischbach Castle, Fischbach, Luxembourg
|Spouse||Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma|
|Issue||Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Elisabeth, Duchess of Hohenberg
Marie Adelaide, Countess Henckel von Donnesmarck
Marie Gabrielle, Countess of Holstein-Ledredborg
Alix, Princess of Ligne
|House||House of Nassau-Weilburg (by birth)
House of Bourbon-Parma (by marriage)
|Father||William IV, Grand Duke of Luxembourg|
|Mother||Infanta Marie Anne of Portugal|
Charlotte (Charlotte Adelgonde Élise/Elisabeth Marie Wilhelmine; 23 January 1896 – 9 July 1985) reigned as Grand Duchess of Luxembourg from 1919 to 1964.
Early life and tenure as Grand Duchess
When her older sister, Marie-Adélaide, who had succeeded their father, was forced to abdicate on 14 January 1919, Charlotte became the one who had to deal with the revolutionary tendencies in the country. Unlike her sister, she chose not to interfere in its politics.
In a referendum about the new constitution on 28 September 1919, 77.8% of the Luxembourgish people voted for the continuation of a Grand Ducal monarchy with Charlotte as head of state. In this constitution, the power of the monarch was severely restricted.
Marriage and children
On 6 November 1919 in Luxembourg, she married Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma, a first cousin on her mother's side. (Both Charlotte and Felix were grandchildren of King Miguel of Portugal through his daughters Maria Anna and Maria Antonia, respectively). With the marriage, their lineal descent was raised in style from Grand Ducal Highness to Royal Highness. The union produced six children:
|Name||Date of birth||Date of death||Spouses|
|Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg||5 January 1921||Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium (1927–2005)|
|Elizabeth, Duchess of Hohenberg||22 December 1922||22 November 2011(aged 88)||Franz, Duke of Hohenberg (1927–1977)|
|Marie Adelaide, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck||21 May 1924||28 February 2007(aged 82)||Karl Josef Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (1928–2008)|
|Marie Gabriele, Countess of Holstein-Ledreborg||2 August 1925||Knud Johan, Count of Holstein-Ledreborg (1919–2001)|
|Charles, Prince of Luxembourg||7 August 1927||26 July 1977(aged 49)||Joan Douglas Dillon (b. 1935)|
|Alix, Princess of Ligne||24 August 1929||Antoine, 13th Prince of Ligne (1925–2005)|
Already in 1935, Charlotte had sold her German properties, the former residential palaces of the Dukes of Nassau, Biebrich Palace and Weilburg Castle, to the State of Prussia. During the Second World War the grand ducal family left Luxembourg shortly before the arrival of Nazi troops. Luxembourg's neutrality was violated on 9 May 1940, while the Grand Duchess and her family were in residence at Colmar-Berg. That day she called an extraordinary meeting of her leading ministers, and they all decided to place themselves under the protection of France, described by the Grand Duchess as a difficult but necessary decision. Initially the family took up residence at the Château de Montastruc in south-western France, but the rapid advance of the German forces into France followed by French capitulation the next month caused the French government to refuse any guarantee of security to the exiled Luxembourg government. Permission was received to cross Spain provided they did not stop en route, and the Grand Duchess with her ministers moved on to Portugal.
The Germans proposed to restore the Grand Duchess to her functions, but Charlotte refused, mindful of her sister's experiences of remaining in Luxembourg under German occupation during the First World War. By 29 August 1940 Grand Duchess Charlotte was in London where she began to make supportive broadcasts to her homeland using the BBC. Later she travelled to the United States and to Canada. Her children continued their schooling in Montreal while she had several meetings with President Roosevelt who encouraged her itinerant campaigning across the country in support of his own opposition to isolationism which was a powerful political current until the Pearl Harbor attacks. In the meantime Luxembourg, along with the adjacent French Moselle department, found itself integrated into an expanded Germany under the name Heim ins Reich, which left Luxembourgers required to speak German and liable for conscription into the German army.
In 1943 Grand Duchess Charlotte and the Luxembourg government established themselves in London: her broadcasts became a more regular feature of the BBC schedules, establishing her as a focus for the resistance movements in Luxembourg. The Grand Ducal family went to North America in exile, settling in Montreal. The Grand Duchess visited Washington DC and made a good will tour of the US to keep the profile of Luxembourg high in the eyes of the Allies.
Charlotte's younger sister Antonia and brother-in-law Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria, were exiled from Germany in 1939. In 1944, living now in Hungary, Crown Princess Antonia was captured when the Germans invaded Hungary and found herself deported to the concentration camp at Dachau, being later transferred to Flossenbürg where she survived torture but only with her health badly impaired. Meanwhile, from 1942 Grand Duchess Charlotte's eldest son, Jean, served as a volunteer in the Irish Guards.
In the years after the war, Charlotte showed a lot of public activity which contributed to raising Luxembourg's profile on the international stage, by hosting visits from foreign heads of state and other dignitaries, such as Eleanor Roosevelt (1950), Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1951), René Coty (1957), King Baudouin of Belgium (1959), King Bhumibol of Thailand (1961), and King Olav V of Norway (1964). Likewise, she visited Pius XII (1950), Charles de Gaulle (1961), and John F. Kennedy (1963).
Abdication and later life
On 12 November 1964, she abdicated in favour of her son Jean, who then reigned until his abdication in 2000.
A statue of the Grand Duchess is in Place Clarefontaine in the city of Luxembourg.
The day of her death also marked the extinction of the direct male lineage of the entire family of Nassau, a dynasty that played a defining role in the European history for more than eight hundred years.
Titles, styles, and honours
Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg
|Reference style||Her Royal Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Royal Highness|
- 23 January 1896 – 25 February 1912: Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Charlotte of Luxembourg
- 25 February 1912 – 14 January 1919: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
- 14 January 1919 – 12 November 1964: Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
- 12 November 1964 – 9 July 1985: Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg
- National honours
- Luxembourg: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
- Luxembourg: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau
- Luxembourg: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Oak Crown
- Luxembourg: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
- Luxembourg: Recipient of the Luxembourg War Cross
- Foreign honours
- Austria-Hungary: Dame of the Order of the Starry Cross
- Austria: Grand Cross of the Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria
- Belgium: Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
- Denmark: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Elephant
- Holy See: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX
- Holy See: Cross of Honour of the "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice"
- Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
- Norway: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav
- Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle
- Portugal: 366th Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Christ
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Aviz
- Spain : Knight Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Order of Charles III
- Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Order of the Seraphim
- Thailand: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri
- Holy See: The Golden Rose
- Click on image to enlarge
The old Berg Castle (demolished 1906), Mersch, central Luxembourg, ducal residence where Charlotte was born
Bronze statue of Grand-Duchess Charlotte in Clairefontaine square, Luxembourg city
Notes and references
- "Grand Duchess Charlotte's US Good-Will-Tours". Luxemburger Wort. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- Kreins, Jean-Marie. Histoire du Luxembourg. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2010. 5th edition. p. 105
- "Commemoration to mark return of Luxembourg monarch". Luxemburger Wort. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- It was customary for a reigning Grand Duke, his heir apparent, and their spouses to use the style of Royal Highness
- "Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxemburg". alexanderpalace.org.
- "The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor: Wedding Wednesday: November Brides". orderofsplendor.blogspot.co.uk.
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Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
Cadet branch of the House of NassauBorn: 23 January 1896 Died: 6 July 1985
|Grand Duchess of Luxembourg