Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Grand Duchess Charlotte abdicates in favor of son Jean

November 12, 1964

Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg abdicated today in favor of her elder son,  Hereditary Grand Duke Jean, 43, reports the New York Times.

The "simple ceremony, an ancient ritual" took place at the "sprawling medieval castle: that serves as both the Grand Ducal Palace and the Luxembourg parliament.

The "transfer of sovereignty" took just over an hour.

The 68-year-old Grand Duchess entered the room, accompanied by members of the royal family and government officials.  She wore a "diamond-studded crown and a full-length jacket."

She smiled with dignity.  "We, Charlotte, by the Grace of God, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and Duchess of Nassau, proclaim that we are renouncing the crown of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in favor of our beloved son, Crown Prince Jean."

Charlotte reigned as Grand Duchess for 45 years that began when she was "chosen by popular plebiscite to succeed her elder sister, Marie Adelaide."  The Grand Duchy is 999 square miles, bordered by France, Belgium and Germany.

The new grand duke is Jean Benoit Guillaume Marie Robert Louis Antoine Adolphe Marc d'Aviano, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Prince of Bourbon-Parma. 

Jean is the eldest of six children of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.  In 1961, he was named as her "lieutenant-representative."  For the past three years,  Jean has been sharing her royal duties.

Last March, Charlotte announced that she would stop down.  After signing the proclamation, Charlotte had a glass of champagne, and said goodbye.   

At 11:00 a.m., "the scene shifted" to the Parliamentary wing of the palace.  The new Grand Duke Jean and his wife, Josephine Charlotte, who is the sister of King Baudouin of Belgium, crossed through a door built for their royal wedding ceremony in 1953."

The new Grand Duke listened to the Parliamentary President read the oath of office, and asked "Do you uphold the Constitution?" 

Jean raised his right hand and responded: "I do so swear, and may God assist me."

The couple's two eldest of their five children, Princess Marie Astrid, 10, and 9-year-old, Prince Henri, sat next to their parents on the dais.

Henri is now the heir apparent to the throne.

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