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Grand Duke Jean – a look at his reign

As Luxembourg has had to say goodbye to beloved Grand Duke Jean, who died today at the age of 98, we are taking a look back at his 36-year reign on the Luxembourg throne from 1964 to 2000.

In 1964, Grand Duchess Charlotte made the decision to abdicate in favour of her eldest son, Hereditary Grand Duke Jean. However, since 28 April 1961, Jean had been serving as the Lieutenant-Representative of the Grand Duchess, but his mother remained on the throne.

It was on 12 November 1964 that Jean became the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and took the oath to the constitution with his family by his side.

Jean taking the oath. By Fotograaf; Nijs, Jac. de / Anefo.Auteursrechthebbende: Nationaal Archief, CC-BY-SACropped by User:Zinneke – - 917-1193, CC0,

The role of Grand Duke is largely a ceremonial one and serves as a neutral head of state.

His time on the throne saw Luxembourg’s transformation into the financial services centre it is today, as well as a satellite communications hub. As such, Jean’s reign on the throne has been seen as one of the most successful in the country’s history.

Embed from Getty Images

The Grand Ducal Court has said, “Even though the events which marked his reign are considered somewhat less notable than those that took place during the reign of his mother, Grand Duchess Charlotte, they have still contributed to the blossoming of political, economic and social life in Luxembourg, as well as unprecedented stability for the country. “

The Grand Duke was able to provide unity and stability to the country which allowed for Luxembourg to transform into what it is today.

According to the Grand Ducal Court, his patronages included:

  • Honorary President of the Pupil’s Work of the Nation
  • Chief Scout of the Luxembourg Boy Scouts Association
  • Honorary President of the Luxembourg Olympic and Sports Committee
  • Member and, since 1998, Honorary Dean of the International Olympic Committee
  • Honorary President of Veterans Affairs
  • Honorary President of the Union of Resistance Movements Luxembourg

After a reign of 36 years, Grand Duke Jean stepped down from his post on 7 October 2000 in favour of his eldest son, Henri. Like his mother, he made his heir Lieutenant-Representative before his abdication. Grand Duke Jean was highly popular in Luxembourg and beloved throughout the nation before, during, and after his reign.

Throughout his reign, he was presented with various international honours including those from other European countries with monarchies like Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Sweden. Notably, he was a Stranger Knight of the Order of the Garter from 1972 until his death.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.