Grand Duke Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d’Aviano: January 5th, 1921 – April 23rd, 2019.
Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg has died at the age of 98. His eldest son, Grand Duke Henri, made a statement:
“It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of my beloved father, His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean, who has passed away in peace, surrounded by the affection of his family.”
Grand Duke Jean is survived by his five children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Love of Luxembourg
Jean was the eldest son of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma. As a young man, he and his family had to flee Luxembourg to escape the Nazi invasion. They lived in various European countries until they settled in Canada.
Jean and his father would eventually travel to Britain, where Jean entered the Sandhurst military academy. After his training, he volunteered for the Irish Guards, seeing action in Caen, the Arnhem, and the Ardennes.
Five years after having to leave an occupied Luxembourg, Jean returned triumphantly to their homeland after the success of the Allied forces in Europe.
Marriage and Family
Jean married Princess Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium in 1953 and they had five children together: the current Grand Duke Henri, Prince Jean, Prince Guillaume, Princess Marie-Astrid and Princess Margaretha.
Jean and Josephine-Charlotte often visited the UK, with Jean riding in the Trooping the Colour Ceremony each year (Jean would be made Colonel of the Irish Guards, a role he held from 1984 to 2000).
In 1964, Grand Duchess Charlotte abdicated. Jean became the Grand Duke and together with his wife, they spent their time committed to their country’s success and representing Luxembourg abroad.
In 2000, Jean abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Henri. Like Grand Duchess Charlotte, Jean wanted the next generation take charge and lead Luxembourg’s progress. The people were surprised at the abdication, but welcomed Henri’s reign.
Honors, Interests and Legacy
Grand Duke Jean held numerous honors both at home and abroad for his work and military career, but he is perhaps best known for opening Luxembourg to the world and making it a strong, international success.
He was also close to the interests and lives of his people, and was actively involved in organizations like the Luxembourg Scouts Association, of which he was the Chief Scout.
Jospehine-Charlotte, an avowed lover of art and a keen collector, influenced Jean’s own love of art. He took up painting and was highly appreciative of many art forms. The Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean is named for him.
The Grand Duke was also an avid athlete, involving himself in riding, fencing, swimming, skiing and tennis. The Grand Duke also held the position of Honorary President of the National Olympic Committee of Luxembourg.
US ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans
“His role was indispensable in transitioning a people from the throes of identity annihilation, to the Grand Duchy his mother Grand Duchess Charlotte valiantly fought to preserve.”
Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg
“Grand Duke Jean was a head of state, who was particularly recognised for his human qualities and who was aware of his highest responsibility. Easily connected to the people, he was guided by his high values and trusted in God.
Belgian Royal Family
“Grand Duke Jean was a unanimously respected and beloved personality in both Belgium and Luxembourg. His courage, his dignity and his high sense of duty will remain as an example. The void left by his passing is immense, the whole of Belgium shares the grief of the Luxembourg people.”
King Willem Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
“It was with great sadness that we received the announcement of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg’s passing away. We are grateful for the friendship and warmth he radiated, and we cherish our many dear memories of him.
The White House
“On behalf of the American people, the White House expresses condolences to the people of Luxembourg and the family of Grand Duke Jean upon his passing today. Grand Duke Jean was a great friend of the United States. As we approach the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we recall that Grand Duke Jean fought side by side with American and Allied forces during the Normandy Campaign, the Liberation of Belgium, and in Operation Market Garden. His contributions to peace, security, and prosperity during and after World War II will forever serve as an honourable legacy. His voice for Luxembourg around the world, and his place as a true friend of the United States, will never be forgotten.”
From Luxembourg Times