Biography written by Norwegianne
Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg hasn’t had an easy time lately. Diagnosed with pulmonary cancer in March last year, she has struggled with the disease for a while. We at The Royal Forums wish to honour her for her courage, and as the Grand Duchess will be celebrating her 77th birthday this month we wish to take you along with us on a revisit of the life of a grand old lady.
On October 11th, 1927, a new princess was born to Belgium at the Royal Palace in Brussels. Princess Joséphine-Charlotte Ingeborg Elisabeth Marie-Jose Marguerite Astrid, Joséphine-Charlotte for short, was born as the oldest child of Prince Leopold and Princess Astrid of Belgium, and was to be their only daughter. The Princess would later be joined by a brother, Baudoin, in 1930, and another brother, Albert, in 1934.
Her early childhood was spent with her family at Stuvyenberg Palace, outside of Brussels, and quite some time was also spent in Sweden with her mother’s family. It was a much simpler childhood than the Belgian court-tradition would dictate, and it was the influence of her Swedish mother who wanted to raise her children as she had been raised. But tragedy struck the family of five when Queen Astrid, was killed in a car accident in Switzerland in 1935.
When the Germans invaded Belgium in 1940 the Royal family stayed put, which in turn caused them to live in exile in Switzerland for a number of years. Joséphine-Charlotte was the first one of the immediate family to return to Belguim, in 1949.
On November 27th, 1952, it was announced that Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of the Belgians was getting engaged to Heriditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. They married the year after on April 9th in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Luxembourg. The two knew each other well, but the marriage was arranged.
Joséphine-Charlotte and Jean have welcomed 5 children into their family since their marriage in 1953, Princess Marie-Astrid (1954), Grand Duke Henri (1955), Prince Jean (1957), Princess Margaretha (1957) and Prince Guillaume (1963)
The children have also given their parents 20 grandchildren.
Joséphine-Charlotte began her education at The Royal Palace in Brussels. She has also attended a boarding school during the occupation, and studied at Ecole Supérieure de Jeunes Filles, in Geneva while in Switzerland. The princess also studied Child Psychology at the University of Geneva.
Upon her return to Belgium the princess begun taking up official duties took an interest in social problems and began to develop an interest in the arts. After her marriage, she took up many of the same duties in Luxembourg. Those duties expanded after her husband acceded to the throne in 1964.
She was the president of the Youth department of the Red Cross in Luxembourg from 1959 to 1970, and from 1964 she has been the president of the Red Cross in Luxembourg.
She is also Chief Guide of the Luxembourg Guide Movement. Other patronages include the Union of Blood Donors and the Luxembourg Paediatrics Society.
Joséphine-Charlotte has been known to enjoy gardening and horticulture, but also hunting, fishing, skiing and watersports in whatever spare time she has.
We all wish her a speedy recovery from her illness, and a happy birthday.