Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg (born Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium; 11 October 1927 – 10 January 2005), was the Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg as the wife of Grand Duke Jean. She was the first child of King Leopold III of Belgium, and sister of the late King Baudouin and former King Albert II and aunt of King Philippe. She was also the first cousin of King Harald V of Norway.

Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium
Joséphine-Charlotte vun der Belsch.jpg
Joséphine-Charlotte in 1976
Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
Tenure12 November 1964 – 7 October 2000
BornPrincess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium
(1927-10-11)11 October 1927
Royal Palace of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
Died10 January 2005(2005-01-10) (aged 77)
Fischbach Castle, Fischbach, Luxembourg
Burial15 January 2005
(m. 1953)
Joséphine-Charlotte Stéphanie Ingeborg Elisabeth Marie-José Marguerite Astrid
FatherKing Leopold III of Belgium
MotherAstrid of Sweden


Joséphine-Charlotte was born in 1927 at the Royal Palace of Brussels. She was the oldest child and only daughter of the King Leopold III of Belgium and his first wife, Princess Astrid of Sweden. She was christened a month after her birth. Her godfather was her uncle, Prince Charles, Count of Flanders and her godmother was her future mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg.[1]

While expecting her daughter, Astrid had read a biography of her ancestress, the French empress Joséphine de Beauharnais. Josephine was also the name of one of the child's great-aunts, Princess Joséphine-Caroline of Belgium, 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 Brussels with her parents.[2] She was the sister of Belgian monarchs Baudouin and Albert II.[3]

Joséphine-Charlotte's mother was killed in an automobile accident in 1935 at age 29. The Belgian public extended their enormous sympathies onto the grieving family, with great concern given to the effects it had on Joséphine-Charlotte and her brothers. King Leopold remained a devoted father to his children and kept close ties with his late wife's family. Many photographs exist from this time of the children with their Swedish grandparents and Norwegian cousins.[citation needed]

Later, in 1941, her father remarried to Mary Lilian Baels (later became Princess of Réthy). This marriage produced three more children: Prince Alexandre, Princess Marie-Christine and Princess Marie-Esméralda. Joséphine-Charlotte had a close relationship with her stepmother.[4][5] Joséphine-Charlotte became the godmother to her younger half-brother, Alexandre.[6]


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.[2]

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.[2]


Joséphine-Charlotte meet Grand Duke Jean for the first time during one of her short stays with her godmother, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, in Fischbach in 1948.[7] 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.[3] During their 52-year marriage, the royal couple had five children:[2]

Grand DuchessEdit

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. As Grand Duchess, she often accompanies her husband on foreign visits, as well as many events within Luxembourg itself.[7] She focused on several initiatives that she would ardently support, particularly matters pertaining to children and families.[7] After the accession of Grand Duke Jean in 1964, the Grand Ducal Family moved to the Berg Castle. Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte actively involved in the renovation of the castle.[7]

Joséphine-Charlotte became president of the Luxembourg Red Cross in 1964.[1] She was president of Luxembourg Youth Section of the Red Cross.[3] She also served as honorary president of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. She became the chief guide of Luxembourg’s guides movement in 1990.[1] She was the patron of the Union of Voluntary Blood Donors and the Luxembourg Paediatrics Society.[1] The Grand Duchess also oversaw the restoration of the Grand Ducal Palace from 1991 until 1996. She became patron and honorary president of l’association pour la protection curative de l’enfance, the Lëtzebuerger Guiden, the Equestrian Federation, les Jeunesses musicales, the International Bazaar of Luxembourg and the Hëllef fir kriibskrank Kanner Foundation.[7] She also regularly visited Luxembourg's social and cultural centers, establishments, institutes, hospitals and nurseries.[7]

Beside secular organizations, Joséphine-Charlotte support religious institutions such as became a patron of Action catholique des Femmes du Luxembourg (ACFL).[8]


Her favorite hobbies included gardening and horticulture. She also enjoyed hunting, fishing, skiing and other watersports.[2] She also enjoys collecting works of modern art. In 2003, the exhibition named “De Manessier à Wim Delvoye” presented 108 works from the private collection of the Grand Duchess at the National Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg.[7]


The Grand Duchess, who suffered from lung cancer for a long time, died at her home, Fischbach Castle, at the age of 77.[7]


Joséphine-Charlotte metro station in Brussels is named after her. One of her wedding gifts was a diamond tiara, given by the Société Générale. This is now part of the Luxembourg reigning family's jewel collection.[citation needed]






  1. ^ a b c d "Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium – Grand Duchess of Luxembourg". History of Royal Women. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Notice biographique de S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte". Government of Luxembourg. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg". The Daily Telegraph. 11 January 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  4. ^ Cleeremans, Jean. Léopold III, sa famille, son peuple sous l'occupation, Roger Keyes, Echec au Roi, Léopold III, 1940–1951
  5. ^ "Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg". 11 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Luxarazzi 101: Wedding of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte". 10 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte". Luxembourg Grand Ducal Family Official Website (in French). Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Grand Duchess Celebrates Anniversary of Catholic Charity". Luxarazzi. 22 October 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  9. ^ Icelandese Presidency Website Archived 2015-07-17 at the Wayback Machine, Josephine Charlotte; stórhertogafrú; Lúxemborg ; 1986-06-09; Stórkross (=Josephine Charlotte, Grand Duchess, Luxembourg, 9 June 1986, Grand Cross)
  10. ^ "CIDADÃOS ESTRANGEIROS AGRACIADOS COM ORDENS PORTUGUESAS - Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas". Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  11. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). Boe.est. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  12. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). Boe.est. Retrieved 2017-07-28.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium at Wikimedia Commons

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

Succeeded by
María Teresa Mestre y Batista