Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg

by Susan Flantzer

Henri_Luxembourg

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg (Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume) was born on April 16, 1955 in Betzdorf Castle in Luxembourg. He is the eldest son and second child of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, and a first cousin of King Philippe of the Belgians.  Grand Duke Henri has four siblings:

Jean_and_Josephine-Charlotte_with_their_children

Grand Duke Henri on the left with his parents and three of his siblings; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Henri received his primary and secondary education in Luxembourg and France. In 1974, he enrolled at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom and was commissioned an officer in 1975. Henri studied political science at the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, both in Geneva, Switzerland and he graduated with honors in 1980.

While studying in Geneva, Henri met his future wife, María Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla, who was also a political science student. María Teresa was born in Cuba, but her parents left Cuba when she was three years old and she grew up in New Jersey and New York City. The engagement took Luxembourg by surprise when it was announced on November 8, 1980. The couple married civilly at the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg City on February 4, 1981 and religiously on February 14, 1981 at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg City.

The couple have five children:

Henri_family

The Princely Family in 2009; Photo: Zimbio

On October 7, 2000, Grand Duke Jean abdicated, Henri became Grand Duke, and took the constitutional oath before the Chamber of Deputies later that day. Grand Duke Henri is a constitutional monarch and therefore has limited powers. He has the power to appoint the Prime Minister and Government, to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, to proclaim laws enacted by the Chamber of Deputies, and to accredit ambassadors. Grand Duke Henri is Commander-in-Chief of the Luxembourg Army, in which he holds the rank of General.

Henri_swearing

Grand Duke Henri and his family at the swearing in ceremony; Photo Credit – Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor

Grand Duke Henri is active in a number of organizations. He is a member of the International Olympic Committee, a member of The Mentor Foundation established by the World Health Organization as an international NGO voice of drug use and substance abuse prevention, and a Director of the Charles Darwin Trust for the Galapagos Islands.

Henri_luxembourg_maria terese

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Read more about the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg here!