It was a sad time for Luxembourg as the state funeral for Grand Duke Jean was held this morning at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg City.
Many Luxembourgers braved the cold, wet day to bid a final farewell to their beloved statesman who died on 23 April.
His casket was draped in the flag of Luxembourg as it was carried in a cortege on a gun carriage driven by a military Hummer to the cathedral with the Grand Ducal Family following behind on foot. A 21-gun salute sounded as the gun carriage and Grand Ducal Family departed.
A choir then sang as the Grand Duke’s casket was carried into the cathedral by members of the Armed Services. As the Grand Ducal Family entered, they each bowed to the casket as they took their seats.
The Priest delivered remarks in French, Luxembourgish, and English, reminding those present to give thanks for the life Grand Duke Jean lived and the impact he had on all those around him.
“This love of the Grand Duke for his country, his sense of responsibility and duty, has his sources in his family life, the privileged place of love for each of us,” he said.
After a reading by the Priest in French, Grand Duke Jean’s daughter, Princess Marie-Astrid gave a reading in French, after which the congregation sang a hymn. His youngest son, Prince Guillaume then delivered a reading in Luxembourgish.
The Priest then spoke in French, English and Luxembourgish. Speaking of Grand Duke Jean’s entrance into Heaven he said, “Heaven is a mountain where we are invited to a meal. It is a beautiful image.”
“We celebrate Mass for our beloved Grand Duke Jean, as Mass is like a meal…a prophetic sign for the life to come.”
Several of the grandchildren of Grand Duke Jean then gave short readings including Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. All spoke touching words to their grandfather.
Bagpipes were played in a tribute to the Grand Duke’s time in the Irish Guards while the Grand Ducal Family took Holy Communion.
At the end of the funeral, his body was taken to its final resting spot in the Royal Crypt. His children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium attended the interment.
At the conclusion of the funeral and burial, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa left the cathedral in the company of King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium.
Royals from all over Europe, both reigning and non-reigning monarchies, attended to show their respect to the late Grand Duke. Many, including King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Margrethe of Denmark, were very emotional during the service. King Philippe of Belgium, the nephew of Grand Duke Jean, was in tears during the first hymnal.
The public was allowed in Notre-Dame Cathedral, but they had to register on 29 April for seats. The demand was so high that all the seats were taken within minutes. Screens were put up outside the cathedral for the Luxembourgish people to watch the funeral, and a live feed was also aired on RTL and the Luxembourg government website.