Another European Monarch Will Abdicate the Throne This Year, As Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg Will Pass the Baton to His Heir Prince Guillaume in October

“This is the beginning of a next chapter for our monarchy.”

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Roughly six months after Queen Margrethe of Denmark abdicated the throne in favor of her son, Prince Frederik (now King Frederik), another European monarch has announced his abdication—and more details about when it will occur.

According to The Daily Mail, Luxembourg is “in shock after Grand Duke Henri announces abdication plans, saying his son Prince Guillaume will start [his] takeover of the throne later this year.”  

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg

Henri and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, earlier this month.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Henri made the announcement on Luxembourg’s National Day—an annual event that “brings together the members of the Grand Ducal family, members of government, and members of parliament to celebrate [the] Grand Duke’s official birthday,” the outlet reports, in an occasion that sounds similar to the U.K.’s Trooping the Colour. Henri will abdicate after 24 years on the throne, passing the crown to Guillaume—who is 42 years old—in October, after Henri expressed an interest in retirement earlier this year.

“In this context, I, together with the Grand Duchess, Prince Guillaume, and Princess Stephanie, would like to inform you that I have decided to transfer the Lieutenancy to Prince Guillame this October,” Henri said at the celebration. “It is with all my love and confidence that I wish him the best of luck.”

After the announcement, The Daily Mail writes, “the Grand Duke appeared very moved and kissed his son whilst the room applauded.”

Henri will retain his official title, but will be represented by his son; a full change in the Grand Duchy will likely take several years, the publication reports. According to the official Palace website, “designation of the Lieutenant-Representative traditionally occurs in the process of change of reign.”

According to People, “Grand Duke Henri will remain head of state, but the announcement is the first step toward his official abdication. Prince Guillaume will take an oath before taking on the role, which is similar to being prince regnant.” 

Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg

Guillaume and his wife, Princess Stephanie, will begin the process of taking the throne in four months' time.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Luc Frieden told media that “This is the beginning of a next chapter for our monarchy,” he said, and, while Henri’s decision came as a shock to the small European nation (its population is just 672,000), Frieden said it had been in discussion behind closed doors for a while: “We have been talking about it for some time, and I think that on the national holiday it was the right moment, because the Grand Duke is the symbol of our nation,” he said.

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg

Henri has been on the throne for 24 years, following the voluntary abdication of his father, which has become a pattern in the Luxembourg monarchy.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Henri took the throne in 2000, after his own father, Grand Duke Jean, abdicated after a 36-year reign. (Voluntary abdication has become all but the norm in Luxembourg, as Jean, too, inherited the throne as a result of an abdication.) Henri turned 69 years old in April and admitted, in an interview with the French publication La Libre, that he “intends to retire at some point,” telling the outlet that his exit “is planned in family consultation,” he said. “I find that it is very important to give young people a perspective.” He added of his eventual retirement “There are plans. It will happen.” 

And now, it seems, we know when.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.