On 5 Januar 2016, HRH the Grand Duke Jean celebrates his 95th birthday. A concert in his honour is going to take place on Saturday, 9 January 2016 at the Luxembourg Philharmonie.
While Grand Duchess Charlotte symbolises the Grand Duchy during the first part of the 20th century, Grand Duke Jean epitomises the second half of this century of upheaval. At the centre of a society that was constantly becoming more open and diversified, he redefined the role of the monarchy and helped to guide it towards the 21st century.
A youth marked by responsibilities and war years
Grand Duke Jean was born on 5 January 1921 at Berg Castle, as the son of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma.
He was named Hereditary Grand Duke on 5 February 1939, and Lieutenant-Representative on 28 April 1961; he succeeded Grand Duchess Charlotte on 12 November 1964. When German troops invaded the Grand Duchy on 10 May 1940 he was obliged to leave the country, together with the rest of the Grand Ducal family, but returned in 1944 as an officer in the British regiment of the Irish Guards. The young Prince took part in the Normandy Landings and the liberation of Brussels before entering the Grand Duchy on 10 September 1944 with the first of the Allied troops. After the liberation of Luxembourg City he returned to his regiment and was involved in the advance of the Allied forces in Germany until the end of the war. By the end of the war he had receievd a great many decorations.
On 9 April 1953 he married Joséphine-Charlotte, daughter of the King of Belgium. They had five children: Princess Marie-Astrid (1954), Prince Henri (1955), Prince Jean (1957), Princess Margaretha (1957), and Prince Guillaume (1963). Grand Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte passed away in 2005.
A very active life in the service of his country
Grand Duke Jean is actively involved in the Scout movement in the Grand Duchy, and has been Chief Scout of the Luxembourg Boy Scouts Association since it was founded in 1945. For many years he was also the President of the Grand Duchy's national Olympic committee (Comité olympique et sportif luxembourgeois, COSL), a position currently held by HRH Grand Duke Henri.
In 1943 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Irish Guards; in 1984, the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II appointed him honorary Colonel of the regiment. In 1995 he was appointed an honorary General of the British army.
A concert in honour of HRH the Grand Duke Jean
On the occasion of the celebrations for HRH Grand Duke Jean's 95th birthday, a concert will take place on 9 January 2016 at the Luxembourg Philharmonie by the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra (Orchestre philharmonique du Luxembourg, OPL) under the direction of Gustavo Gimeno.