Royal court photo shows Grand Duke Jean, left, seated with son Grand Duke Henri
Photo: Cour grand-ducale/Lola Velasco
Luxembourg’s ninth sovereign and the world’s oldest living monarch, Grand Duke Jean, celebrates his 98th birthday on Saturday.
The oldest son of Grand Duchess Charlotte, Jean served as Grand Duke from 12 November 1964 to 7 October 2000, when he was succeeded by his son, Henri.
He had five children with his late wife and daughter of King Leopold III of Belgium, Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, from which he received 22 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.
The Grand-Ducal family has for many years had strong connections with the UK and this was no different for Grand Duke Jean, who attended secondary school at Ampleforth College in England. During the second world war, while his family was in exile, he joined the British army’s Irish Guards as a volunteer.
He graduated from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, and participated in the Normandy landings, the Battle for Caen and joined allied forces in the liberation of Luxembourg before continuing to fight in Germany. He was appointed Colonel of the Irish Guards from 1984 to 2000 during which time he was seen riding behind Queen Elizabeth II during the Trooping of the Colour.
Grand Duke Jean has received numerous military decorations and honorary distinctions but it is the natural world and conservation which dominates his interests, according to the Grand Ducal Court website.