Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Clarification regarding Luxembourgian succession: changes not retroactive

The very terse press announcement from the Luxembourgian grand ducal court concerning the changes to the succession caused some confusion by its lack of details. While it said that the changes applied to the descendants of Grand Duke Henri, it was not clear whether the changes were retroactive, as one newspaper claimed.
However, I have now been informed by the grand ducal court that the changes are “from 20th June 2011, therefore it is not retroactive” and that the “succession order remains unchanged”.
Again this is not quite clear. The most obvious, literal interpretation would be that the changes will only apply to those descendants of Grand Duke Henri who are born after 20 June 2011 and that his daughter Princess Alexandra is thus still not in line to the throne.


  1. That is a strange reply you received. If it were indeed Grand Duke Henri's intention not to grant succession rights to any females born before 2011, surely it would have made more sense to say so explicitly, instead of stating in the press release that the reform should first apply to his descendants, given that he already has one female descendant.

    Furthermore, I can't see the reason for excluding the grand duke's daughter. It is not as if she would displace the heir apparent or even the second in line to the throne, and it is not as if she is already a mature woman with children who have been raised outside of the grand ducal family.

    You don't say who it was that gave you this answer, but I cannot help wondering if it was the work of some junior staffer who is not very well-informed.

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  3. "E": the reply is indeed somewhat strange. My immediate reaction was to interprete that the "succession order remains unchanged" so that Prince Sébastien had not been bypassed by his elder sister Alexandra and that she might be behind him in the succession, but in that case the order of succession would have been changed as it would have influenced the positions of her uncle Prince Guillaume and his sons.

    But that the "succession order remains unchanged" must indeed mean that everyone is still in the position he held before 20 June and the obvious interpretation of changes being "from 20th June 2011, therefore it is not retroactive" would also be that it will only apply to those born after 20 June 2011 and thus not to Princess Alexandra.

    "Mlle. Sunshine Awesome": I do not share your interpretation that this means that the new succession applies to Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume's descendants rather than to Grand Duke Henri's - they will also apply to the future sons and daughters of Prince Félix and Prince Sébastien, whose daughters would not have been in line to the throne under the old rules.

    I have replied to the grand ducal court with a specific question about Princess Alexandra, so let us wait for a reply about her.


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