Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Jean dies aged 98

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg who took part in the D-Day landings and oversaw his country’s transformation into an international finance hub dies aged 98

  • Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Jean passed away surrounded by his family aged 98
  • He was monarch from  1964 until he abdicated in 2000 in favour of his son Henri
  • Jean served in the British Army in WWII and participated in the D-Day landings

Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Jean, who oversaw the transformation of his country into a financial powerhouse during his 36 year reign as monarch, has died aged 98.

The war hero, who was a soldier in the British army during the Second World War, and participated at the D-Day landings, abdicated in 2000.

His son Henri, who succeeded his father in the largely ceremonial role said: ‘It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of my beloved father, His Royal Highness the Grand Duke Jean, who has passed away in peace, surrounded by the affection of his family.’ 

Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Jean (left) who reigned over his country for 36 years before abdicating in 2000, has died aged 98, his son Henri (right) announced today. Pair are pictured together at the 125 year celebration of the Luxembourg-Nassau dynasty in 2016

Grand Duke Jean (second right) was a war hero who fought for Britain in the D-day landings. Pictured: He attends the Queen Elizabeth ll attends the anniversary of the D-Day celebrations with Queen Elizabeth (centre),  President Ronald Reagan (right) King Olav of Norway, King Baudouin of Belgium, President Mitterrand in 1984

He had been admitted to hospital earlier this month for a pulmonary infection.  

‘His disappearance is a great loss for the Grand Duchy and for Europe’, tweeted European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, a former prime minister of the country of about 600,000 people wedged between Belgium, France and Germany.

Jean’s last public appearance dates back to the end of March, during a forum organised by his daughter-in-law Grand Duchess Maria Teresa to fight against sexual violence in war zones. 

Born on January 5, 1921, Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d’Aviano was the son of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg and Prince Felix de Bourbon of Parma.

 Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and his wife Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium, pose for a photograph in January 1955

Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg rides with Queen Elizabeth II in an open carriage through the gates of Buckingham Palace, at the start of a four-day visit to London in 1972

Luxembourgers have remained very attached to Jean, who was a soldier in the British army during the Second World War, and participated at the D-Day landings. Pictured with his son, serving Grand Duke Henri in 2011

Jean married Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium, sister of the former Belgian kings Baudouin and Albert II, in 1953. She died in January 2005 (pictured together in 2000)

He became the Grand Duke after his mother abdicated in 1964 – setting a precedent for his him to do the same three decades later. 

While in power, Jean oversaw the transformation of the Grand Duchy into an international financial centre. 

His early life was overshadowed by World War Two – his family had to flee invading Nazi troop and seek refuge in France, Portugal, the United States and Canada.

On his returned to Europe in 1942 he came to the UK to train at Sandhurst, where both Prince William and Prince Harry did their military training.

He briefly served as a guard at Buckingham Palace before joining Allied forces in Normandy in 1944, taking part in the battle of Caen.

Jean’s early life was overshadowed by World War Two – his family had to flee invading Nazi troop and seek refuge in the United States and Canada. On his return to Europe he joined the British Army and fought in World War II

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg trained at Sandhurst military academy in Berkshire, he returned in 1933 (pictured) for the passing out parade

Grand Duke Jean with his wife Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium (1927 – 2005) and their children, Prince Jean, Princess Marie Astrid and Prince Henri (now Grand Duke), Prince Guillaume and Princess Margaretha in 1964

The Grand Duke poses with his family in December 2016. Front: Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Grand Duke Jean, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie

After the war, Jean married Belgian princess Josephine- Charlotte and had five children: Marie-Astrid, Henri – the reigning monarch – Jean, Margaretha and Guillaume.

Josephine-Charlotte died in January 2005, aged 77.    

Jean had groomed his oldest son Henri to become his successor when he transferred most of his duties to him in 1998. 

Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy in which the Grand Duke holds executive power and bills only become law with his signature.

Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Jean, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, and Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustav seen at ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, May 8, 1995

Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Jean (centre) poses with Grand Duke Henri (right) and Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (left), for a group photo picturing three generations for his 90th birthday at the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg

Jean’s early life was overshadowed by World War Two – his family had to flee invading Nazi troop and seek refuge in the United States and Canada

Jean had groomed his oldest son Henri to become his successor when he transferred most of his duties to him in 1998. He stepped down as Grand Duke in 2000. Their grandson Guillauime, then 19 (centre), was named Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Jean attends the funeral of the Queen Mother at Westminster Abbey in April 2002

Luxembourg’s monarchy is one of the youngest in Europe and began in 1815 following the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Full independence under the Grand Dukes came just under 20 years later, when the Treaty of London enshrined Luxembourg’s existence in international law and ended years of rule by the Burgundians, French, Prussians and the Dutch.

Although part of Luxembourg was later incorporated into what would, in 1839, become Belgium, the country remained intact through the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the First and Second World Wars.  


Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte at the Palace in Colmar-Berg (left) and at the Queen mother’s 100th birthday celebrations (right)

Grand Duchess Jospehine Charlotte with husband Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg in the garden of their home at Colmar-Berg

Grand Duke Jean waves from his car during a visit to the Belgian northern city of Ghent in November 1999 – shortly before his abdication

Jean (C), former Grand Duke of Luxembourg, cuts the cake as he celebrates his 95th birthday at the Philharmonie Luxembourg surrounded by his family and royal friends

Former Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (C) listens to the concert of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra in the Grande-Duchesse Josephine-Charlotte Concert Hall at the Philharmonie Luxembourg

Former Grand Duke Jean (R) and Grand Duke Henri (L) of Luxembourg. Jean reigned as Grand Duke of Luxembourg between 1964 and 2000. He abdicated and made way for his son, Grand Duke Henri, to take over as ruler

For his 95th birthday in 2016, royal guests from all over Europe gathered to help the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg celebrate, and posed for a huge photo to mark the occasion.  

As well as the Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, Queen Mathilde and King Philippe of the Belgians were on hand to help ring in his birthday.

Former Queen Sofia of Spain and King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece also made an appearance in the snap.

Elsewhere, Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and Princess Sarvath of Jordan can be spotted posing near Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein.

For his 95th birthday in 2016, royal guests from all over Europe gathered to help the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg celebrate, and posed for a huge photo to mark the occasion

Prince Paul Louis of Nassau (L), Prince Constantin of Nassau (2-L), Princesse Maria-Annunciata of Lichtenstein (3-L) Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria of Limburg-Stirum, Royal Highness Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg, deliver a speech before the concert of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Grand Duke’s 95th birthday

Luxembourg flags fly at half mas near the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg today

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel gives a declaration announcing the former monarch’s death

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