Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Henri at the wedding of his son in 2012
|Grand Duke of Luxembourg|
|Reign||7 October 2000 – present|
|Regency||3 March 1998 – 7 October 2000|
16 April 1955|
Betzdorf Castle, Luxembourg,Luxembourg
|Spouse||María Teresa Mestre y Batista|
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume|
|Father||Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg|
|Mother||Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium|
|Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg|
HRH The Dowager Princess of Ligne
Henri (Luxembourgish: Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume; 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 the current King of the Belgians, Philippe.
Childhood and education
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 the 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 aged 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 former 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) September 2013. The couple has one daughter:
- Princess Amalia Gabriela Maria Teresa of Nassau, born 15 June 2014
- Prince Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume of Luxembourg, born 3 August 1986, who married Tessy Antony on 29 September 2006 in Gilsdorf, Luxembourg. The couple 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
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 and constitutional reform controversies
On 2 December 2008 it was announced that Grand Duke Henri had stated he would refuse to ratify a new law on euthanasia that had been approved earlier in the year by the Chamber of Deputies. The signature of the Grand Duke was required under the Constitution in order for the law 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 the Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, that a constitutional amendment would be brought forward whereby the signature of the monarch would no longer be necessary for laws to be enacted. This would remove one of the legislative roles of the Grand Duke, namely the approving of new legislation. 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. A constitutional amendment, which changed the formulation of the role of the Grand Duke or Duchess in such a way as to make it clear that his signature is automatic and that he/she has no freedom of decision was nevertheless eventually passed. The head of state no longer has to sanction laws for them to take effect; he merely promulgates them.
Role and interests
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.
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.
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, 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 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.
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 and honours
- 16 April 1955 – 12 November 1964: His Royal Highness Prince Henri of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau, Prince of 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, Duke of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein
Honours from Luxembourg
- 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
- 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 Order of Saint James of the Sword (7 September 2010)
- 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)
- 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: HM King Carl XVI Gustaf 50th Anniversary Medal (30 April 1996)
- Turkey: Member of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey (19 November 2013)
- United Kingdom: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
- Vatican: Knight with the Collar, Order of Pope Pius IX
- : Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Former Sovereign families
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.
- "Grand Duke Henri (b. 1955)", The official portal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
- "Luxembourg to reduce duke's power", BBC News, 3 December 2008.
- Revue 10 December 2008, Editions Revue S.A., Luxembourg
- "L'actualité des royautés, "Henri et Maria Teresa en Autriche"" (in French). Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Royalement Blog: Visite d'Etat belge au Luxembourg". Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Photo with Order of Leopold illustrating an article of "Noblesse et Royautes" website
- DECRETO DE 3 DE DEZEMBRO DE 2007 - website JusBrasil
- Estonian State decorations, 05/05/2003
- "Noblesse et Royautés" website, article with photos of gala dinner
- www.gouvernement.lu, State visit of President Tarja Halonen in Luxembourg in november 2008 (article in French with photos showing the decorations)
- www.gouvernement.lu/, State visit of President Stephanopoulos in Luxembourg, July 2001
- "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Italian President Napolitano in Luxembourg, february 2009
- Latvian Presidency, Recipients list (.doc)
- Agency photo taken during the state visit (French) of Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré in Luxembourg in November 2005.
- "State Visit from Luxembourg to The Netherlands: April 24-26, 2006 - Page 3 - The Royal Forums". Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "Noblesse et Royautes" website, State visit of Queen Beatrix in Luxembourg, 21-23 march 2012
- President's decision M.P. z 2014 r. poz. 728
- Romanian Presidency website, Recipients of the order (Excel sheet)
- 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).
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- Spanish Royal Family website, State visit of Juan Carlos & Sofia in Luxembourg, April 2007, Photo of the Sovereign couples
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- "Noblesse et Royautes" website, Victoria of Sweden's wedding, June 2010
- "50Th Anniversary Of King Carl Gustav Of Sweden In Stockholm, Sweden On April 30, 1996. Pictures - Getty Images". Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg at the Çankaya Presidential Palace". Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Hata Sayfası". Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "Noblesse et Royautes" website, William and Catherine's wedding, photos of royal guests
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Henri, Grand Duke of LuxembourgBorn: 16 April 1955
|Grand Duke of Luxembourg