739 views this week
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Grand Duke (head of state) of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Grand Duke (head of state) of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
A.K.A. Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume
Countries Luxembourg
Occupations Duke
Gender male
Birth 16 April 1955 (Betzdorf Castle, Betzdorf)
Star sign Aries
Mother: Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
Father: JeanGrand Duke of Luxembourg
Siblings: Prince Jean of LuxembourgPrince Guillaume of LuxembourgPrincess Margaretha of LiechtensteinArchduchess Marie Astrid of Austria
Spouse: Maria TeresaGrand Duchess of Luxembourg
Children: GuillaumeHereditary Grand Duke of LuxembourgPrince Félix of LuxembourgPrince Louis of LuxembourgPrincess Alexandra of LuxembourgPrince Sébastien of Luxembourg
Education University of Geneva, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The details

Henri (Luxembourgish: Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume, pronounced [ˈɑ̃ːʀi]; 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 Philippe, the current king of Belgium.


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

Henri was born at Betzdorf Castle in eastern Luxembourg on 16 April 1955, the second child and first son of Jean, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, and grandchild of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma. The prince's godparents were the Prince of Liège (his maternal uncle) and Princess Marie Gabriele, countess of Holstein-Ledreborg (his paternal aunt).

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).

On 12 November 1964, when Henri was nine, his grandmother's abdication and his father's subsequent accession as grand duke made him heir apparent. As the grand duke's eldest son, he automatically took the title of hereditary grand duke.


Henri 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 Cuban-born 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:

  • The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie), born 11 November 1981, married Belgian Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy on 19 and 20 October 2012 in Luxembourg.
  • Prince Félix Léopold Marie Guillaume of Luxembourg, born 3 June 1984, married German Claire Margareta Lademacher on 17 September 2013 (the civil wedding which took place in Königstein im Taunus, Germany) and 21 September 2013 (the religious wedding which took place in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, France). The couple have two children:
    • Princess Amalia Gabriela Maria Teresa of Nassau, born 15 June 2014
    • Prince Liam Henri Hartmut of Nassau, born 28 November 2016
  • Prince Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume of Luxembourg, born 3 August 1986, married Luxembourgian Tessy Antony on 29 September 2006 in Gilsdorf, Luxembourg. The couple divorced in 2017. They have two sons:
    • Prince Gabriel Michael Louis Ronny of Nassau, born 12 March 2006
    • Prince Noah Etienne Guillaume Gabriel Matthias Xavier of Nassau, born 21 September 2007
  • Princess Alexandra Joséphine Teresa Charlotte Marie Wilhelmine of Luxembourg, born 16 February 1991
  • Prince Sébastien Henri Marie Guillaume of Luxembourg, born 16 April 1992

Constitutional position

The Grand Duke with his wife and heir apparent
The grand duke with his son Felix in New York during 2013 UN session

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.

Euthanasia and constitutional reform controversies

On 2 December 2008 it was announced that Grand Duke Henri had stated he would refuse to give his "assent" to a new law on euthanasia that had been passed earlier in the year by the Chamber of Deputies. Under the constitution then, the grand duke "sanctions and promulgates the laws" meaning the need for the grand duke's sanction or "approval" was required in order for laws 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 Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker that a constitutional amendment would be brought forward amending the constitution.

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.

Article 34 of the constitution was subsequently amended to remove the term "assent". Leaving the relevant provision to read "The Grand Duke promulgates the laws..." As a result, his signature is still needed but is clear that his signature is automatic and that he/she has no freedom of decision. The head of state no longer has to "sanction" laws for them to take effect; he merely promulgates them.

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 RAF 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 International Olympic Committee, a member of The Mentor Foundation (established by the World Health Organisation) and a director of the Charles Darwin Trust for 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 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.


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, honours and awards

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 - 28 July 1987: His Royal Highness Prince Henri, The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma
  • 28 July 1987 - 7 October 2000: His Royal Highness Prince Henri, The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau
  • 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, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein

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".


National honours and awards

  • Co-Grand Master of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
  • Grand Master of the military and civil Order of Adolphe of Nassau
  • Grand Master of the Order of the Oak Crown
  • Grand Master of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • Grand Collier of the Fondation du Mérite européen

Foreign honours and awards

  •  Austria: Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
  •  Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold (1994)
  •  Brazil: Grand Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross (3 December 2007)
  •  Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant
  •  Estonia: Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (5 May 2003)
  •  Finland: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (November 2008)
  •  Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer (July 2001)
  •  Italy: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (14 March 2003)
  •  Latvia: Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Three Stars (5 December 2006)
  •  Mali: Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali (9 November 2005)
  •  Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion (24 April 2006)
  •  Norway: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of St. Olav (1996)
  •  Poland: Knight of the Order of the White Eagle (2014)
  •  Portugal: Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry (6 May 2005)
  •  Portugal: Grand Collar of the Military Order of Saint James of the Sword (7 September 2010)
  •  Portugal: Grand Collar of the Order of Liberty (23 May 2017)
  •  Romania: Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania (2004)
  •  Slovakia: Grand Cross (or 1st Class) of the Order of the White Double Cross (2002)
  •  SMOM: Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  •  Spain: Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (13 April 2007)
  •  Spain: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Charles III (11 May 2001)
  •  Sweden: Knight of the Order of the Seraphim (12 September 1983)
  •  Sweden: Recipient of the 50th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf
  •  Turkey: Member of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey (19 November 2013)
  •  United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
  •   Vatican: Knight with the Collar of the Order of Pope Pius IX

Dynastic honours

  •  House of Savoy: Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation


Patrilineal descent

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
comments so far.
arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up arrow-down instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube stumbleupon comments comments pandora gplay iheart tunein pandora gplay iheart tunein itunes