Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium

Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte
Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
Princess of Belgium
Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
Tenure 12 November 1964 7 October 2000
Born (1927-10-11)11 October 1927
Royal Palace of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
Died 10 January 2005(2005-01-10) (aged 77)
Fischbach Castle, Fischbach, Luxembourg
Burial Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg
Spouse Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg (m. 1953)
Issue Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Prince Jean
Princess Margaretha
Prince Guillaume
Full name
Joséphine Charlotte Ingeborg Elisabeth Maria Josepha Marguerite Astrid
House Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Leopold III of Belgium
Mother Princess Astrid of Sweden
Religion Catholicism

Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium (Joséphine Charlotte Ingeborg Elisabeth Maria Josepha/Marie-José Margarethe/Marguerite Astrid; 11 October 1927 - 10 January 2005), also Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg was the Grand Duchess consort of Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. She was the first cousin of King Harald V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, and Princess Ragnhild of Norway. She was the first child of Leopold III of Belgium, and sister of the late King Baudouin of Belgium and King Albert II of Belgium, the former king of Belgium, and aunt of the current king.


She was born at the Royal Palace of Brussels as the oldest child and only daughter of King Leopold III of Belgium and his first wife Princess Astrid of Sweden. While expecting her daughter, Astrid had been reading a biography of the Empress Josephine, the consort of Napoleon Bonaparte. She must have found Josephine very appealing, as she decided to name the little Princess, born October 11, 1927, after her. Josephine was also the name of one of the child's great-aunts, the dearest sister of King Albert I. Astrid was a devoted mother to her "little Jo." The young Princess spent her childhood at the Stuyvenberg Palace just outside Brussels with her parents, Prince Léopold and Princess Astrid.[1] Her mother, who was born a Princess of Sweden and a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte's first wife Joséphine, was killed in an automobile accident in 1935 at age 29. Her father was a direct descendant of Stéphanie de Beauharnais, cousin of Joséphine's first husband and adopted daughter of Joséphine's second husband. She was the sister of Belgian monarchs Baudouin and Albert II.[2]


Princess Joséphine Charlotte first attended school at the Royal Palace, where a small class had been organized for her. At the end of 1940, she entered a boarding school and then continued her education with her own private teachers. On 7 June 1944, the day after the Allied Forces landed in Normandy, France, she and her father were sent to Germany and kept there under house-arrest. The Royal Family, which included her brothers Baudouin and Albert and their stepmother, Mary Lilian Baels, Princess of Réthy, was freed on 7 May 1945 and settled in Prégny, Switzerland.[1]

Princess Joséphine Charlotte continued her studies at the "Ecole Supérieure de Jeunes Filles" in Geneva, Switzerland. Afterwards, she took Jean Piaget's lectures on child psychology at the University of Geneva. When she returned to Belgium the princess took up her official duties. At the same time, she also devoted herself to social problems and developed her interest in the arts.[1]


Joséphine Charlotte was joined in marriage on 9 April 1953 in Luxembourg to Prince Jean, who at the time was The Hereditary Grand Duke and heir-apparent to the throne of Luxembourg.[2] Although politically motivated, it was a happy match. During their 52-year marriage, the royal couple had five children:[1]

As a princess in the royal house of Belgium, Joséphine Charlotte brought a wealth of elegance, taste and refinement to her new homeland. She carried out many social, cultural and humanitarian duties. She focused on several initiatives that she would ardently support, particularly matters pertaining to children and families. She was also president of the Luxembourg Youth Section of the Red Cross.[2]

Her favorite hobbies included gardening and horticulture. She also enjoyed hunting, fishing, skiing and other watersports.[1]

The Grand Duchess, who suffered from lung cancer for a long time, died at her home, Fischbach Castle, at the age of 77, in the presence of her family.


Joséphine-Charlotte metro station in Brussels is named after her.

One of her wedding gifts was a diamond tiara, given by the Sociéte Générale. This is now part of the Luxembourg reigning family's jewel collection.[3]

Titles, styles, and honours

Titles and styles


National Honours

Foreign Honours



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Notice biographique de S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte". Government of Luxembourg. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
  2. 1 2 3 "Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg". The Telegraph. 2005-01-11. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
  3. "The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor: Tiara Thursday: The Belgian Scroll Tiara". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  4. Royalement Blog, State visit of Belgium in Luxembourg (1994), Group Photo
  6. Photo of Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte
  10. Wedding of Juan Carlos of Spain and Sophia of Greece
  11. Icelandese Presidency Website , Josephine Charlotte ; stórhertogafrú ; Lúxemborg ; 1986-06-09 ; Stórkross (=Josephine Charlotte, Grand Duchess, Luxembourg, 9 June 1986, Grand Cross)
  16. Jean with Pope John Paul I
  24. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  25. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  26. Gettyimages
  28. "The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor: Tiara Thursday: Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's Tiara". Retrieved 2016-01-16.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium.
Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 11 October 1927 Died: 10 January 2005
Luxembourgish royalty
Preceded by
Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma
as prince consort
Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
Succeeded by
María Teresa Mestre y Batista
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