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Grand Duke Henri of Luxemborg reveals shock plans to hand over throne to his son Prince Guillaume

The Luxembourg monarch announced his intentions to step away from the crown on Sunday

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg at the 200th Royal Military Academy Sandhurst's Sovereign's Parade © Getty
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
June 23, 2024
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After 24 years on the throne, the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg has expressed his desire to step back from duties.

In a shock move, the monarch revealed that his eldest son, Prince Guillaume, will assume his position on the throne.

"I would like to inform you that I have decided to appoint Prince Guillaume as Lieutenant-Representative in October," said Henri, 69, addressing his 'abdication' in a national holiday address on Sunday.

"It is with all my love and confidence that I wish him the best of luck," he added.

Grand Duke Henri giving a speech© Horacio Villalobos
Henri is the current Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Royal fans expressed their confusion about the move on X, formerly Twitter, asking if the announcement was an abdication. "Is that an abdication or a previous step?" quizzed one royal fan. 

For now, Grand Duke Henri will retain his official title, as this is not yet an abdication. Instead, he will be represented by his son Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. 

It's not yet known why the monarch has chosen to pass on his reign to his eldest son, aside from the royal expressing an interest in retirement.

The signs that Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg was planning to retire

Grand Duke Henri is the eldest son of the five children of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. Upon his father's death in 1999, Henri became Head of State of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on 7 October 2000.

He shares five children with his wife Maria Teresa Mestre, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. 

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Grand Duke Henri© Getty
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Grand Duke Henri share five children together

It's not the first time the Grand Duke has suggested he will at some point step away from royal duties. In April this year, Henri admitted that he "intends to retire at some point" in an interview with French publication La Libre.

Explaining his plans so far, the royal commented: "All this is planned in family consultation. I find that it is very important to give young people a perspective." 

The Grand Duke continued: "There are plans, it will happen."

A year of royal abdications

It's been a whirlwind year for the world's monarchs. Not only has King Charles' ongoing cancer diagnosis raised questions about a potential abdication, but Queen Margrethe announced her abdication on New Year's Eve 2023 following health issues and "extensive" back surgery. 

Queen Margrethe wearing the infamous Daisy brooch© Getty
Queen Margrethe abdicated earlier this year

In a statement revealing the news, the former Danish monarch said: "I have decided that now is the right time. The 14th January 2024 - 52 years after I followed my beloved father - I will step back as the Queen of Denmark. I leave the throne to my son the Crown Prince Frederik"

King Frederik kissing Queen Mary© Patrick van Katwijk
King Frederik X of Denmark and Queen Mary of Denmark shared a loving kiss at the coronation

King Frederik and Queen Mary of Denmark announced their reign at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen at the start of the year.

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