Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Birthday: April 16, 1955
Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume
Born Country: Luxembourg
Born in: Betzdorf Castle, Betzdorf, Luxembourg
Famous as: Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Emperors & Kings
Spouse/Ex-: María Teresa Mestre y Batista (m. 1981)
father: Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
mother: Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
siblings: Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria, Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg, Prince Jean of Luxembourg, Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein
children: Guillaume - Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Prince Félix of Luxembourg, Prince Louis of Luxembourg, Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg, Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg
education: University of Geneva, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, The Graduate Institute, Geneva (IHEID)
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg is the reigning duke of Luxembourg. He is the eldest son of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. He took over as the duke after his father’s abdication in October 2000. He had been part of many controversies in the past. After he refused to pass a new law on euthanasia, amendments were made to the constitution of Luxembourg, to reduce his powers. He still retains some constitutional powers. He serves the Luxembourg Army and also presides over foreign relations. He is married to Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and has five children. He has been the recipient of many national and international honors.
Childhood & Early Life
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg was born Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume, on April 16, 1955, at the Betzdorf Castle of Luxembourg. Henri is the second child and the eldest son of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. Henri is also a first cousin of King Philippe of Belgium.
His father, Grand Duke Jean, was the eldest son of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg and Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma. Henri’s mother was the only daughter of King Leopold III of Belgium and his first wife, Princess Astrid of Sweden.
Henri’s maternal aunt, Prince of Liège, and his paternal aunt, Princess Marie Gabriele, were his godparents.
Henri grew up with his four siblings: Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria (born in 1954), Prince Jean of Luxembourg (born in 1957), Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein (born in 1957) and Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg (born in 1963).
On November 12, 1964, when he was just 9 years old, his grandmother abdicated, and his father took over as the grand duke. Henri thus became the heir apparent.
Henri studied in Luxembourg and in France. In 1974, he earned his baccalaureate, following which he was trained as a military officer on the Standard Military Course (SMC) 7, at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England.
Following this, he studied political science at the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International Studies. He graduated in 1980.
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Henri served as a member of the Council of State from 1980 to 1998. He was made a lieutenant representative by his father on March 4, 1998. This meant he had taken over most of his father's constitutional powers.
On October 7, 2000, just after his father abdicated after ruling the duchy for 36 years, Henri took over as the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The same day, he took his constitutional oath before the Chamber of Deputies. With this, he became the sixth grand duke since the installation of the modern monarchy in 1890.
On December 2, 2008, it was reported that Grand Duke Henri had declared he would not give his assent to a law on euthanasia that had been passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier that year.
Back then, the grand duke’s approval was mandatory for any law to be effective. However, the constitutional position of the grand duke was affected due to this refusal. Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced that they would make an amendment to the constitution.
Thus, an amendment was made to Article 34 of the constitution, in order to remove the term "assent.” The resultant article read "The Grand Duke promulgates the laws..."
Since then, though the duke’s signature is required to pass any law, he has no liberty to decide for or against any law. The head of state thus does not "sanction" laws any more. Instead, he promulgates them.
Grand Duke Henri is the head of a constitutional monarchy. Thus, he primarily functions as a representative head. However, apart from promulgating laws, he still has the constitutional power to appoint the prime minister and the government of the country, to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, and to accredit ambassadors.
Henri is also the commander-in-chief of the Luxembourg Army and serves as a general. He also serves as an honorary major of the British RAF Regiment.
He is also required to represent Luxembourg in matters related to foreign affairs. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa went on their first foreign state visit in May 2001, when they were invited to Spain by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.
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Henri is also a member of the International Olympic Committee and The Mentor Foundation (founded by the World Health Organization). He also serves as a director of the Charles Darwin Trust for the Galápagos Islands.
During his reign, on January 31, 2020, an official government report, named the Waringo Report, was released. It focused on the internal operations of the monarchy and was compiled by Jeannot Waringo, the ex-financial director of Luxembourg.
Waringo stated that there was an atmosphere of fear inside the palace and that the most significant decisions regarding the staff were made by the Grand Duchess.
The report also stated that the staff had no functional clarity and that the same staff served both personal as well as official functions. Waringo could not find out if Henri and his wife used the State funds to fund their own activities. However, the report suggested a general reform of the monarchy.
While Henri was studying in Geneva, he met Cuban-born political science student Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista. The couple fell in love and married in a civil ceremony in Luxembourg on February 4, 1981. They also had a religious wedding ceremony on February 14, 1981, with the previous consent of Henri’s father.
They have five children: four sons, Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg; Prince Félix of Luxembourg; Prince Louis of Luxembourg; and Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg, and a daughter, Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg.
Grand Duke Henri and his family live at the Berg Castle in Luxembourg. Additionally, Henri has a holiday home in Cabasson, close to Bormes-les-Mimosas in southern France.
On February 3, 2011, Henri fell ill and was admitted to the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg. Soon, a statement declared that he would be undergoing an angioplasty. The following day, it was announced that the procedure had been successful.
Henri is an environmentalist, an avid sportsman, and a “family man.”
Some of the national honors that have been bestowed on Henri are title of the Co-Grand Master of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, the Grand Master of the Military and Civil Order of Adolphe of Nassau, the Grand Master of the Order of the Oak Crown, the Grand Master of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and the Grand Collier of the Fondation du Mérite Européen.
He has also earned many foreign honors. He has been awarded the Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria, the Knight of the Order of the Elephant of Denmark, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer of Greece (July 2001), the Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (March 2003), Spain’s Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (April 2007), the Member of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey (November 2013), and the U.K.’s Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.
After becoming the grand duke, Henri relinquished the styling "by the Grace of God." He uses the title "Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau" instead.