Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte was born as Princess of Belgium on 11 October 1927 at the Royal Palace, Brussels. Her parents were Prince Leopold of Belgium, Duke of Brabant and Princess Astrid, born Princess of Sweden. Her godmother was Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg.
Princess Josephine-Charlotte's early years were divided between Stuyvenberg, her parents' home on the Belgian royal estate at Laeken, and Stockholm, home to her maternal grandparents, Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden. On 23 February 1934, her father succeeded as
King Leopold III of the Belgians. The following year, while her parents were on holiday in Switzerland, Queen Astrid was tragically killed when King Leopold lost control of their car.
In 1940, upon the German invasion of Belgium, King Leopold refused to join the Belgian government in exile in London. Instead the royal family remained in Belgium and spent much of the war at the Royal Palace in Laeken. On 7 June 1944, on the day following the D-Day landings in Normandy, the royal family were deported to Germany. They were kept prisoner until liberation by the Allies on 7 May 1945.
Questions over King Leopold's alleged collaboration with the Nazis made it impossible for the family to return to Belgium, where the King's brother, Prince Charles, was appointed as regent. The family resided in exile at Pregny, near Geneva, and Princess Josephine-Charlotte studied child psychology at the University of Geneva. The family finally returned to Brussels in 1950, and shortly afterwards King Leopold abdicated in favour of his eldest son, King Baudouin.
Marriage and Family
Princess Josephine-Charlotte was married to Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg on 9 April 1953, in the Cathedral of Our Lady, Luxembourg. The couple set up home at Betzdorf Castle and had five children: Princess Marie-Astrid (born 17 February 1954), Prince Henri (born 16 April 1955), Prince Jean and Princess Margaretha (both born 15 May 1957) and Prince Guillaume (born 1 May 1963). Following Hereditary Grand Duke Jean's accession to the throne in 1964, the family moved to Berg Castle. Since Grand Duke Jean's abdication, the grand-ducal couple have lived at Fischbach Castle.
Work and Interests
As Princess of Belgium, Josephine-Charlotte had a strong interest in social problems and in the arts. As Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, she has accompanied her husband on numerous official visits, both within the Grand Duchy and abroad.
Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte is President of the