Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

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GD Jean 1967.jpg
Jean in 1967
Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Reign12 November 1964 – 7 October 2000
Born (1921-01-05) 5 January 1921 (age 98)
Berg Castle, Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg
Full name
French: Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano
English: John Benedict William Robert Anthony Lewis Maria Adolphus Mark of Aviano
German: Johann Benedikt Wilhelm Rupprecht Anton Ludwig Maria Adolf Marcus von Aviano
HouseNassau-Weilburg (official)
Bourbon-Parma (agnatic)
FatherPrince Felix of Bourbon-Parma
MotherCharlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
SignatureJean's signature

Jean (given names: Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano; born 5 January 1921)[1] reigned as Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1964 until his abdication in 2000.

Jean was the eldest son of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix. Jean's primary education was in Luxemboug initially before attending Ampleforth College in England. In 1938, he was officially named Hereditary Grand Duke as heir to the throne of Luxembourg. While Luxembourg was occupied by Germans during the Second World War, the grand ducal family was abroad in exile. Jean studied at the Université Laval in Quebec City. Jean later volunteered to join the British army's Irish Guards in 1942, and after graduating from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, received his commission in 1943. He participated in the Normandy landings, the Battle for Caen and joined the Allied forces in the liberation of Luxembourg. From 1984 until 2000, he was made colonel of the Irish Guards.

On 9 April 1953, Jean married Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium with whom he had five children. On 12 November 1964, Grand Duchess Charlotte abdicated and Jean succeeded her as Grand Duke of Luxembourg. He then reigned for 36 years before he himself abdicated on 7 October 2000 and was succeeded by his son, Grand Duke Henri.

Early life[edit]

Jean was born on 5 January 1921, at Berg Castle, in central Luxembourg, the son of Grand Duchess Charlotte and of Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma. Among his godparents was Pope Benedict XV, who gave him his second name.[citation needed] He attended primary school in Luxembourg, where he continued the initial stage of secondary education. He completed secondary school at Ampleforth College, a Roman Catholic boarding school in the United Kingdom. Upon reaching maturity, on 5 January 1939 he was styled 'Hereditary Grand Duke', recognising his status as heir apparent.

Second World War[edit]

On 10 May 1940, Germany invaded Luxembourg, beginning a four-year occupation. Having been warned of an imminent invasion, the Grand Ducal Family escaped the previous night. At first, they sought refuge in Paris, before fleeing France only weeks later. The Grand Ducal Family sought refuge in the United States, renting an estate in Brookville, New York. Jean studied Law and Political Science at Université Laval, Quebec City.[2]

He joined the British Army as a volunteer in the Irish Guards in November 1942.[2] After receiving officer training at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst,[2] Jean was commissioned as a lieutenant on 30 July 1943,[3] before being promoted to captain in 1944. He landed in Normandy on 11 June 1944, and took part in the Battle for Caen and the liberation of Brussels.[2] On 10 September 1944, he took part in the liberation of Luxembourg before moving on to Arnhem and the invasion of Germany.[2] He relinquished his commission in the British Army on 26 June 1947.[4] After the war, from 1984 until his abdication, he served as Colonel of the Regiment of the Irish Guards,[2] often riding in uniform behind Queen Elizabeth II during the Trooping the Colour.


Grand Duke Jean taking the oath.

He was named Lieutenant-Representative of the Grand Duchess on 28 April 1961.[2]

He became Grand Duke when his mother, the Grand Duchess Charlotte, abdicated on 12 November 1964.[5] The same day, he was made a General of the Luxembourg Army.[2]

Grand Duke Jean abdicated on 7 October 2000, and was succeeded on the throne by his son Henri.[2]


Jean at the wedding of his grandson
Prince Louis of Luxembourg, 29 September 2006

Grand Duke Jean now lives at Fischbach Castle.[6] On 27 December 2016, Grand Duke Jean was hospitalized due to bronchitis and was discharged from hospital on 4 January 2017, a day before he celebrated his 96th birthday.[7] The Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam) bears his name. At age of 98, he is the oldest and the longest-living current or former monarch in the world.[citation needed]

Marriage and family[edit]

He was married in Luxembourg on 9 April 1953 to Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium,[2] daughter of Leopold III, King of the Belgians. They had five children, twenty-two grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren:

Titles, styles, and honours[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 5 January 1921 – 12 November 1964: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Hereditary Prince of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma
  • 12 November 1964 – 28 July 1987: His Royal Highness The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma
  • 28 July 1987 – 7 October 2000: His Royal Highness The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau
  • 7 October 2000 – present: His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau

His full title is "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." Many of the titles are held without regard to the strict rules of salic inheritance.

Change of dynastic titles[edit]

Jean renounced the titles of the House of Bourbon-Parma for himself and his family in 1986[8] when his eldest son, then-Hereditary Grand Duke Henri married Maria-Theresa Mestre. The reason for this was that the Duke of Parma, Carlos Hugo, ruled the marriage unequal in 1981, as well as the marriage of Prince Jean to Hélène Suzanna Vestur in 1987, for which he had renounced his rights to Luxembourg in 1986. It is not known if the marriage of Prince Guillaume was seen by Carlos Hugo as equal.

The Arrêté Grand-Ducal (Grand Ducal decree) of 21 September 1995 established that the title of Prince/Princesse de Luxembourg is reserved for the children of the sovereign and the heir to the throne. It also stated that the descendants in male lineage of the sovereign should be styled as Royal Highnesses and titled Prince/Princess of Nassau and that the descendants of unapproved marriages should be styled as Count/Countess of Nassau.[9]

Luxembourgish honours and awards[edit]

Foreign honours and awards[edit]

Garter-encircled arms of Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
  • He also received the Gold Olympic Order in 1998 and the Silver Wolf Award for his contributions to worldwide scouting.


Patrilineal descent[edit]


  1. ^ Profile of Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Le Grand-Duc Jean - Cour Grand-Ducale de Luxembourg - Famille grand-ducale". Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  3. ^ "No. 36191". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 1 October 1943. p. 4352.
  4. ^ "No. 38206". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 13 February 1948. p. 1030.
  5. ^ "HRH Grand Duke Jean". Service information et presse du gouvernement luxembourgeois. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Grand Ducal Decree, 28 July 1986
  9. ^ Grand Ducal decree of 21 September 1995 concerning the surname and the titles of the Members of the Grand Ducal Family
  10. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 428. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  11. ^ Royalement Blog, State visit of Belgium in Luxembourg (1994), Group Photo
  12. ^ Archived 7 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Jean with Pope John Paul I
  14. ^ Jean with Pope Paul VI
  15. ^ Icelandese Presidency Website Archived 3 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Jean ; stórhertogi ; Lúxemborg ; 1986-06-09 ; Stórkross með keðju (=Jean, Grand Duke, Luxembourg, 9 June 1986, Grand Cross with Collar)
  16. ^ "S.A.R. Jean Granduca di Lussemburgo - Decorato di Gran Cordone" (in Italian). Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  17. ^éphine_Charlotte_state_visit_NL_queen_Juliana_1967.jpg
  18. ^
  19. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  20. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  21. ^ Gettyimages
  22. ^ Badraie Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Badraie Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Born: 5 January 1921
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by
Basil Eugster
Colonel of the Irish Guards
Succeeded by
The Duke of Abercorn