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Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium

Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
Joséphine Charlotte with her elder sons in 1963
Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
Tenure 12 November 1964 – 7 October 2000
Spouse Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Prince Jean
Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein
Prince Guillaume
Full name
Joséphine Charlotte Ingeborg Elisabeth Maria Josepha Marguerite Astrid
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Leopold III of Belgium
Mother Astrid of Sweden
Born (1927-10-11)11 October 1927
Royal Palace of Brussels, Belgium
Died 10 January 2005(2005-01-10) (aged 77)
Fischbach Castle, Luxembourg

Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium (Joséphine Charlotte Ingeborg Elisabeth Maria Josepha/Marie-José Margarethe/Marguerite Astrid; 11 October 1927 – 10 January 2005), also Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg was the Grand Duchess consort of Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. She was the first cousin of King Harald V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, and Princess Ragnhild of Norway. She was the first child of Leopold III of Belgium, and sister of the late king Baudouin of Belgium and King Albert II of Belgium, the former king of Belgium, and aunt of the current king.


She was born at the Royal Palace of Brussels as the oldest child and only daughter of Leopold III of Belgium and Astrid of Sweden. While expecting her daughter, Astrid had been reading a biography of the Empress Josephine, the consort of Napoleon Bonaparte. She must have found Josephine very appealing, as she decided to name the little Princess, born October 11, 1927, after her. Josephine was also the name of one of the child's great-aunts, the dearest sister of King Albert I. Astrid was a devoted mother to her "little Jo." The young Princess spent her childhood at the Stuyvenberg Palace just outside of Brussels with her parents, Prince Léopold and Princess Astrid.[1] Her mother, who was born a Princess of Sweden and a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte's first wife Joséphine, was killed in an automobile accident in 1935 at age 29. Her father was a direct descendant of Stéphanie de Beauharnais, cousin of Joséphine's first husband and adopted daughter of Joséphine's second husband. She was the sister of Belgian monarchs Baudouin and Albert II.[2]


Princess Joséphine Charlotte first attended school at the Royal Palace, where a small class had been organized for her. At the end of 1940, she entered a boarding school and then continued her education with her own private teachers. On 7 June 1944, the day after the Allied Forces landed in Normandy, France, she and her father were sent to Germany and kept there under house-arrest. The Royal Family, which included her brothers Baudouin and Albert and their stepmother, Mary Lilian Baels, Princess of Réthy, was freed on 7 May 1945 and settled in Prégny, Switzerland.[1]

Princess Joséphine Charlotte continued her studies at the "Ecole Supérieure de Jeunes Filles" in Geneva, Switzerland. Afterwards, she took Jean Piaget's lectures on child psychology at the University of Geneva. When she returned to Belgium the princess took up her official duties. At the same time, she also devoted herself to social problems and developed her interest in the arts.[1]


Joséphine Charlotte was joined in marriage on 9 April 1953 in Luxembourg to Prince Jean, who at the time was The Hereditary Grand Duke and heir-apparent to the throne of Luxembourg.[2] Although politically motivated, it was a happy match. During their 52-year marriage, the royal couple had five children:[1]

As a princess in the royal house of Belgium, Joséphine Charlotte brought a wealth of elegance, taste and refinement to her new homeland. She carried out many social, cultural and humanitarian duties. She focused on several initiatives that she would ardently support, particularly matters pertaining to children and families. She was also president of the Luxembourg Youth Section of the Red Cross.[2]

Her favorite hobbies included gardening and horticulture. She also enjoyed hunting, fishing, skiing and other watersports.[1]

The Grand Duchess, who suffered from lung cancer for a long time, died at her home, Fischbach Castle, at the age of 77, in the presence of her family.


Joséphine-Charlotte metro station in Brussels is named after her.

One of her wedding gifts was a diamond tiara, given by the Sociéte Générale. This is now part of the Luxembourg reigning family's jewel collection.[3]


  • 11 October 1927 – 9 April 1953: Her Royal Highness Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
  • 9 April 1953 – 12 November 1964: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
  • 12 November 1964 – 7 October 2000: Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
  • 7 October 2000 – 10 January 2005: Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg


Luxembourgish Honours

Belgian Honours

Foreign Honours



External links

Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 11 October 1927 Died: 10 January 2005
Luxembourgish royalty
Preceded by
Felix of Bourbon-Parma
as prince consort
Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
Succeeded by
María Teresa Mestre y Batista

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