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An abdication is confirmed – but when and how is being kept secret

One of Europe’s longest serving rulers has confirmed they will abdicate – but when remains a mystery.

As he celebrated his birthday, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg spoke to the Place Royale programme on RTL and revealed that his family is already discussing how he will one day step aside for his heir.

The Grand Duke marked his 69th birthday on April 16th 2024 and as he starts his 70th year, he also touched on the public discussion about his own future. When Grand Duke Henri was asked if he was going to abdicate, he replied ”there are plans, it will happen”.

And in another interview with La Libre, he again referenced the fact that he will abdicate, one day, in favour of his eldest son, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. He was asked whether he knew the date he planned his reign would end. His response was ”yes, but I won’t tell you that!”

Abdication is typical in Luxembourg. Henri himself became Grand Duke in October 2000 when his own father, Grand Duke Jean, stepped aside in his favour after a reign of 36 years. Jean’s mother, Grand Duchess Charlotte, had also abdicated, passing the Grand Ducal throne to her son in 1964 after holding it since 1918. And Charlotte herself had inherited through abdication – her sister, Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide, passed the throne to her although in more controversial circumstances after her short reign ran into sharp criticism in the last days of World War One.

The current Grand Duke said that all future plans are discussed by his whole family and the involvement of every member is crucial to him.

Henri also spoke of the importance he believes the monarchy holds in Luxembourg, saying that it ”gives a stability which benefits democracy. People know that there is continuity.”

The Grand Duke spent his birthday on duty – he and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, started a three day visit to Belgium on April 16th where they were hosted by Henri’s cousin, King Philippe, and his wife, Queen Mathilde.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.