From left to right: Prince Guillaume, Princess Margaretha, Grand Duke Jean, Grand Duke Henri, Princess Marie-Astrid and Prince Jean. / © SIP/Nicolas Bouvy
In the last instalment of our series on Luxembourg's Royals, RTL Today shines a light on the lives of Grand Duke Henri's siblings.
The Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg is known for having a wide branching family tree, giving us at RTL Today plenty to write about. Grand Duchess Charlotte, who reigned between 1919 and 1964, had six children, Grand Duke Jean and his wife Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte have five children, just like Luxembourg's current Grand Ducal couple Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.
After tracing Luxembourg's dynastic line down from Grand Duchess Charlotte to the latest generation of royal offspring, we will now take a look at the lives of Grand Duke Henri's siblings for the last article in our series on Luxembourg's Royals.
From left to right: Prince Jean, Princess Margarethe, Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Grand Duke Jean, Princess Marie-Astrid and Prince Guillaume. / © Postcard, E. A. Schaack
Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Luxembourg's ruling monarchs between 1964 and 2000, had five children together: Princess Marie-Astrid (1954), Prince Henri (1955), twins Prince Jean and Princess Margaretha, both born in 1957, and Prince Guillaume (1963).
Princess Marie-Astrid, the Grand Duchess that never was
As you might have gathered from their birth dates, Princess Marie-Astrid is the eldest sibling, one year older than our current Grand Duke Henri. By today's law, this would make her the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, but at the time of her birth, the Grand Ducal line of succession was still governed by primogeniture laws that stipulated that the throne must pass to the eldest male heir.
Grand Duke Henri abolished this law by Grand Ducal decree in 2011 in favour of absolute primogeniture, which allows future titles to pass to first-born children, no matter their gender.
Princess Marie-Astrid on board the Moselle ship that has been named after her. / © JC Ernst
Princess Marie-Astrid Liliane Charlotte Léopoldine Wilhelmine Ingeborg Antoinette Élisabeth Anne Alberte of Luxembourg was born on 17 February 1954 at Betzdorf Castle, the eldest child of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Princess of Belgium. She was named after her maternal grandmother Princess Astrid of Belgium, who passed away in a tragic car crash in 1935 at the age of only 29.
Princess Marie-Astrid became a registered nurse in 1974 and later specialized in tropical medicine. Since 1970, Princess Marie-Astrid has been the president of Luxembourg's Red Cross Youth.
In the late 1970s, she was linked to Prince Charles and rumours of an imminent engagement announcement started spreading like wildfire. The rumours turned out to be just that: As a devout Catholic, Princess Marie-Astrid would not have been able to marry into the British royal family under the Act of Settlement of 1701, which states that the British crown can only pass to Protestants.
In 1982, Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg married Archduke Carl Christian of Austria, making her Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Princess Imperial of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, Princess of Luxembourg, Princess of Nassau and Princess of Bourbon-Parma. The couple went on to have five children. While Princess Marie-Astrid attends family events and the occasional royal function, she largely lives away from the spotlight.
Prince Jean of Luxembourg, who gave up his rights of succession for love
Prince Jean Félix Marie Guillaume of Luxembourg was born 15 May 1957 at Betzdorf Castle as the second son of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. He has a twin sister, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg.
Prince Jean attended Bell School of Languages in Cambridge and trained at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, from which he graduated in 1978. He continued his studies at the University of Geneva and also attended Webster University in Geneva. He graduated with a Master's degree in Business Administration from INSEAD business school in France in 1985. He currently works with the GDS-Suez Group and serves as executive vice president of the Suez Foundation.
Pince Jean on the top right corner next to his daughter Princess Marie-Gabrielle. Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa in the front row. / © Grand Ducal Court / Cyril Moreau / Bestimage
In 1987, Prince Jean married Hélène Vestur in Paris. His bride was not a member of he nobility. Prince Jean had given up his rights of succession as well as those of his future children in 1986, soon after the birth of the couple's first daughter. The couple went on to have three more children, but eventually divorced in 2004.
Prince Jean's daughter and three sons initially didn't have any titles, but they were raised to Count/Countess of Nassau in 1995 and were eventually granted the titles of Princes and Princess of Nassau in 2004.
In 2009, Prince Jean remarried. His second wife, Diane de Guerre, now holds the title of Countess de Nassau. While Prince Jean usually doesn't take part in official engagements, he is often in attendance at private family functions.
Princess Margaretha - from Luxembourg to Liechtenstein
Princess Margaretha Antonia Marie Félicité of Luxembourg was born at Betzdorf Castle on 15 May 1957. She is Prince Jean's twin sister and Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte's second daughter.
She attended secondary school at the European School in Luxembourg before going on to study in Belgium, the UK and in the US.
Princess Margaretha with her father Grand Duke Jean. / © Grand Ducal Court, Vic Fischbach, 2014
The early 1980s saw royal wedding fever erupt in Luxembourg. Grand Duke Henri married Grand Duchess Maria Teresa in February 1981, Princess Marie-Astrid married Archduke Carl Christian of Austria in February 1982, and only about a month later, her younger sister Princess Margarethe tied the knot as well.
Princess Margarethe married Prince Nicolas of Liechtenstein on 10 March 1982. Through birth and by marriage, Princess Margarethe is currently the only one in the Luxembourg dynasty to be a member of two reigning royal houses. She is both the sister of Grand Duke Henri and the sister-in-law of Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein.
© Grand Ducal Court, 2010
The couple have three living children: Princess Maria-Annunciata (1985), Princess Marie-Astrid (1987) and Prince Joseph-Emmanuel (1989). Princess Margarethe and Prince Nicolas' first born son Prince Leopold unfortunately died shortly after his birth in 1984.
Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg
The youngest child of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Prince Guillaume Marie Louis Christian of Luxembourg, was born on 1 May 1963 in Betzdorf Castle in Luxembourg.
Following his secondary education in Luxembourg and Switzerland, Prince Guillaume attended Oxford University in England and Georgetown University in the US, from which he graduated in 1987.
© Sultan Edijingo
He is currently a director at Arcelor-Mittal and the Banque Générale du Luxembourg and has been the president of Lux-Development, a company that supports small and medium enterprises in Luxembourg with a focus on development cooperation, since 1982.
In 1994, Prince Guillaume married Sibilla Weiller, a granddaughter of Infanta Beatriz of Spain and a second cousin to King Felipe VI. The couple have four children together: Prince Paul Louis of Nassau (1998), Prince Léopold of Nassau (2000) and Princess Charlotte of Nassau (2000), and Prince Jean of Nassau (2004).
© Grand Ducal Court
The couple were involved in a tragic car crash in France in 2000, after which Prince Guillaume was in a coma for a while. Due to the seriousness of the crash and the Prince's condition, his father Grand Duke Jean's abdication, which had been scheduled for 28 September 2000, had to be postponed for a couple of weeks.
Prince Guillaume and his family live in Luxembourg and attend royal functions as often as their timetable permits.
Sarah Cames is a twentysomething freelance journalist with a keen interest in anything to do with politics, history and pop culture.