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Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

(former) ruler of Luxembourg, father of current ruler
The basics
AKA Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano
Date of birth Berg Castle
Mother: Charlotte Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
Sister(s): Princess Marie Adelaide of Luxembourg Princess Marie Gabriele of Luxembourg Alix Dowager Princess of Ligne Princess Elisabeth Duchess of Hohenberg
Father: Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma
Spouse: Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
Children: Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria Henri Grand Duke of Luxembourg Prince Jean of Luxembourg Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg
Education Laval University, Ampleforth College
Authority VIAF id
The details

Jean (given names: Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano; born 5 January 1921) reigned as Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1964 until his abdication in 2000. He is the father of the current ruler, Grand Duke Henri, and the son of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

Early life

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. 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 1938, he was styled 'Hereditary Grand Duke', recognising his status as heir apparent.

Second World War

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.

He joined the British Army as a volunteer in the Irish Guards in November 1942. After receiving officer training at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, Jean was commissioned as a Lieutenant in July 1943, 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. On 10 September 1944, he took part in the liberation of Luxembourg before moving on to Arnhem and the invasion of Germany. After the war, from 1984 until his abdication, he served as Colonel of the Regiment of the Irish Guards, often riding in uniform behind Queen Elizabeth II during the Sovereign's Birthday Parade.


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

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

Grand Duke Jean abdicated on 7 October 2000, and was succeeded on the throne by his son Henri. Grand Duke Jean now lives at Fischbach Castle. On 27 December 2016, Grand Duke Jean was hospitalized a few days ago due to bronchitis and was discharged from hospital on 4 January 2017, a day before he celebrated his 96th birthday.

The Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam) bears his name.

Marriage and family

He was married in Luxembourg on 9 April 1953 to Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, daughter of Léopold III, King of the Belgians. They had three sons and two daughters: Princess Marie-Astrid (born 1954), Grand Duke Henri (born 1955), who ascended to the grand ducal throne in 2000, Prince Jean (born 1957), Princess Margaretha (born 1957), and Prince Guillaume (1 May 1963).

Titles, styles, and honours

Titles and styles

  • 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 – 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

Jean renounced the titles of the House of Bourbon-Parma for himself and his family in 1986 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.

Luxembourgish honours and awards

  • Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau (Grand Master 1964–2000)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau (Grand Master 1964–2000)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Oak Crown (Grand Master 1964–2000)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Grand Master 1964–2000)
  • Luxembourg War Cross (with bar)

Foreign honours and awards

  •  Austria: Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1975)
  •  Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
  •  Belgium: Croix de guerre (with bar)
  •  Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant (22/11/1976)
  •  France: Croix de guerre 1939–1945
  •  Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • House of Habsburg: 1,293rd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  •  Holy See: Knight of the Order of the Golden Spur
  •  Iceland: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Falcon
  •  Italy: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (26/10/1973)
  •  Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
  •  Netherlands: Commemorative War Cross
  •  Netherlands: Recipient of the Wedding Medal of Princess Beatrix, Princess of Orange and Claus Van Amsberg
  •  Norway: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav
  •  Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
  •  Portugal: 379th Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword
  •  Portugal: Grand Collar of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique
  • House of Savoy: Supreme Knight of the Order of the Annunziata (1978)
  • House of Savoy: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1978)
  • House of Savoy: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy (1978)
  •  Spain: 1,184th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (16/06/1983)
  •  Spain: Collar of the Order of Charles III (08/07/1980)
  •  United Kingdom: Stranger Knight of the Order of the Garter (948th member; 1972)
  •  United Kingdom: 1939-1945 Star
  •  United Kingdom: France and Germany Star
  •  United Kingdom: Defence Medal
  •  United Kingdom: War Medal 1939–1945
  •  United States: Silver Star
  •  Sweden: Knight of the Order of the Seraphim
  •  Sweden: HM King Carl XVI Gustaf 50th Anniversary Medal (30/04/1996)
  •  Kingdom of Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
  •  Iran: Commemorative Medal of the 2500th Anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire (14/10/1971)


Patrilineal descent

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