Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg OIH is the head of state of Luxembourg.

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Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg OIH (given names: Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume; born 16 April 1955) is the head of state of Luxembourg. He is the eldest son of Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. His maternal grandparents were King Leopold III of Belgium and Astrid of Sweden. He is a nephew of the current King of the Belgians, Albert II.

Childhood and education

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 sciences at University of Geneva, 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 sciences 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 has five children:

  • Prince Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (born 11 November 1981), married to Stéphanie de Lannoy
  • Prince Felix (born 3 June 1984)
  • Prince Louis (born 3 August 1986), married to Tessy Antony
    • Prince Gabriel Michael Louis Ronny of Nassau (born 12 March 2006), son of Prince Louis and Princess Tessy
    • Prince Noah Guillaume of Nassau (born 21 September 2007), son of Prince Louis and Princess Tessy
  • Princess Alexandra (born 16 February 1991)
  • Prince Sébastien (born 16 April 1992)

Constitutional position

Ducal Standard

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.

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

On 2 December 2008 it was announced that Grand Duke Henri had stated he would refuse to sign into law the act on euthanasia that had been voted on earlier in the year by the Chamber of Deputies. A second and final vote has yet to take place, at which point signature of the Grand Duke would be necessary to approve and enact the law. Whilst the long-term implications for the constitutional position of the Grand Duke are unclear, it was announced by Minister of State Jean-Claude Juncker that a Constitutional Amendment would be proposed, whereby the signature of the Monarch would no longer be necessary for a law to take effect. This would remove one of the legislative roles of the Grand Duke, namely approving new legislation. The Luxembourg royal house has tried to block a decision by parliament only once before, when the Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide refused to sign an education bill in 1912.

Role and interests

Luxembourgish Grand Ducal Family

HRH The Grand Duchess

  • HRH The Hereditary Grand Duke

    HRH The Hereditary Grand Duchess
  • HRH Prince Félix
  • HRH Prince Louis

    HRH Princess Tessy
    • HRH Prince Gabriel
    • HRH Prince Noah
  • HRH Princess Alexandra
  • HRH Prince Sébastien

HRH Grand Duke Jean

  • HI&RH Archduchess Marie-Astrid
  • HRH Prince Jean

    • HRH Princess Marie-Gabrielle
    • HRH Prince Constantin
    • HRH Prince Wenceslas
    • HRH Prince Carl-Johan
  • HRH Princess Margaretha
  • HRH Prince Guillaume

    HRH Princess Sibilla
    • HRH Prince Paul Louis
    • HRH Prince Léopold
    • HRH Princess Charlotte
    • HRH Prince Jean

HRH Princess Marie Gabriele

HRH The Dowager Princess of Ligne

  • HRH Princess Charlotte
  • HRH Prince Robert

    HRH Princess Julie
    • HRH Princess Charlotte
    • HRH Prince Alexandre
    • HRH Prince Frederik
  • v
  • t
  • e

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 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 Galapagos 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

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, the former Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium.

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 on 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.[1]


On February 3, 2011, Henri was admitted to the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg after becoming 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 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

The Grand Duke Henri, his wife Maria Teresa and his son Guillaume, hereditary Grand Duke

See also List of honours of the Luxembourgish Grand-Ducal Family by country

Titles and styles

  • 16 April 1955 – 12 November 1964: His Royal Highness Prince Henri of Luxembourg, Nassau and 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, Prince of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma, 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

Luxembourg honours

  • 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

Foreign honours

  • Commonwealth realms: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order[2]
  • Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold [3] [4]
  • Brazil: Grand Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross (2007)[5]
  • Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant[6]
  • Estonia : Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana[7]
  • Finland : Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose of Finland[8][9]
  • Greece : Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer[10]
  • Italy : Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic[11]
  • Latvia: Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of Three Stars[12]
  • Mali: Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali (11/2005)[13]
  • Netherlands : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion[14] [15]
  • Norway : Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of St. Olav[16]
  • Portugal Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry
  • Portugal Grand Collar of the Order of Saint James of the Sword
  • Romania : Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania[17]
  • Slovakia : Grand Cross (or 1st Class) of the Order of the White Double Cross (2002)[18]
  • Spain : Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece[19]
  • Spain : Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Charles III [19]
  • Sweden : Knight with Collar of the Order of the Seraphim[20]

International sovereign organisations

  •  : Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Former Sovereign families

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


Patrilineal descent

Patrilineal descent

Henri's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.

Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations - which means that if Grand Duke Henri were to choose an historically accurate house name it would be Robert, as all his male-line ancestors have been of that house.

Henri is a member of the House of Bourbon-Parma, a sub-branch of the House of Bourbon-Spain, itself originally a branch of the House of Bourbon, and thus of the Capetian dynasty and of the Robertians.

Henri's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son. It follows the Dukes of Parma as well as the Kings of Spain, France, and Navarre. The line can be traced back more than 1,200 years from Robert of Hesbaye to the present day, through Kings of France & Navarre, Spain and Two-Sicilies, Dukes of Parma and Grand-Dukes of Luxembourg, Princes of Orléans and Emperors of Brazil. It is one of the oldest in Europe.

  1. Robert II of Worms and Rheingau (Robert of Hesbaye), 770 - 807
  2. Robert III of Worms and Rheingau, 808 - 834
  3. Robert IV the Strong, 820 - 866
  4. Robert I of France, 866 - 923
  5. Hugh the Great, 895 - 956
  6. Hugh Capet, 941 - 996
  7. Robert II of France, 972 - 1031
  8. Henry I of France, 1008–1060
  9. Philip I of France, 1053–1108
  10. Louis VI of France, 1081–1137
  11. Louis VII of France, 1120–1180
  12. Philip II of France, 1165–1223
  13. Louis VIII of France, 1187–1226
  14. Louis IX of France, 1215–1270
  15. Robert, Count of Clermont, 1256–1317
  16. Louis I, Duke of Bourbon, 1279–1342
  17. James I, Count of La Marche, 1319–1362
  18. John I, Count of La Marche, 1344–1393
  19. Louis, Count of Vendôme, 1376–1446
  20. Jean VIII, Count of Vendôme, 1428–1478
  21. François, Count of Vendôme, 1470–1495
  22. Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, 1489–1537
  23. Antoine of Navarre, 1518–1562
  24. Henry IV of France, 1553–1610
  25. Louis XIII of France, 1601–1643
  26. Louis XIV of France, 1638–1715
  27. Louis, Dauphin of France (1661-1711), 1661–1711
  28. Philip V of Spain, 1683–1746
  29. Philip, Duke of Parma, 1720–1765
  30. Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, 1751–1802
  31. Louis of Etruria, 1773–1803
  32. Charles II, Duke of Parma, 1799–1883
  33. Charles III, Duke of Parma, 1823–1854
  34. Robert I, Duke of Parma, 1848–1907
  35. Felix of Bourbon-Parma, 1893–1970
  36. Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, 1921 -
  37. Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, 1955 -


  1. Revue 10 December 2008, Editions Revue S.A., Luxembourg
  2. "Noblesse et Royautes" website, William and Catherine's wedding, photos of royal guests
  3. Royalement Blog, State visit of Belgium in Luxembourg (1994), Princes Photos, Group Photo
  4. Photo with Order of Leopold illustrating an article of "Noblesse et Royautes" website
  5. DECRETO DE 3 DE DEZEMBRO DE 2007 - website JusBrasil
  6. The royal forums, Grand-Dukes' state visit to Denmark, October 2003 : Photo
  7. Estonian State decorations, 05/05/2003
  8. "Noblesse et Royautés" wesite, article with photos of gala dinner
  9. www.gouvernement.lu, State visit of President Tarja Halonen in Luxembourg in november 2008 (article in French with photos showing the decorations)
  10. www.gouvernement.lu/, State visit of President Stephanopoulos in Luxembourg, July 2001
  11. "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Italin President Napolitano in Luxembourg, february 2009
  12. Latvian Presidency, Recipients list (.doc)
  13. Agency photo taken during the state visit (French) of Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré in Luxembourg in November 2005.
  14. The royal forums, State visit of Luxembourg to Netherlands, 2006, Photo
  15. "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Queen Beatrix in Luxembourg, 21-23 march 2012
  16. "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Grand-Dukes in Norway, 30 May - 1 June 2011
  17. Romanian Presidency website, Recipients of the order (Excel sheet)
  18. 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).
  19. Spanish Royal Family website, State visit of Juan Carlos & Sofia in Luxembourg, April 2007 , Photo of the Sovereign couples
  20. "Noblesse et Royautes" website, Victoria of Sweden's wedding, June 2010