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Tributes pour in for Grand Duke Jean
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Tributes pour in for Grand Duke Jean

by Hannah Brenton and Yannick Lambert 4 min. 23.04.2019 From our online archive
Luxembourg's former head of state died Tuesday morning aged 98
Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel addressed the nation Photo: Guy Jallay
Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel addressed the nation Photo: Guy Jallay

Tributes are pouring in for Grand Duke Jean who died this morning at the age of 98.

Luxembourg's former head of state, who went into exile in World War Two only to return and fight among Allied forces, was surrounded by his family when he passed away in hospital.

Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel led the outpouring of grief for the Grand Duke in an address to the nation. 

Here are some reactions to his death, from Luxembourg and abroad.

Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel

"Grand Duke Jean was, and remains, a symbol of our country, of our common history. He stands for duty, for loyalty to the country, he stands for love and simple affinity with the people. Grand Duke Jean was an example for us all through his commitment, the traces of which will always be visible.

"Grand Duke Jean fought for our freedom, for our independence and for the unity of our country and we will always be grateful.

"A family man left us today. A great statement, a hero, an example – and a very beloved and gracious man."

Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president and former Luxembourg prime minister 

"It is with great emotion and a deep sadness that I learnt of the death of His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean.

"Like all the people of Luxembourg, I had great esteem for this man of commitment, kindness and courage, who, throughout his reign, and in all circumstances, gave the best of himself to his country, which owes him so much. His death is a great loss for the Grand Duchy and for Europe.

"Grand Duke Jean was always close to Luxembourgers, who are united today in sadness. At this painful time, my thoughts are with the Grand-Ducal family, to whom I express my sincere condolences."

US ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans

"His role was indispensable in transitioning a people from the throes of identity annihilation, to the Grand Duchy his mother Grand Duchess Charlotte valiantly fought to preserve.

"His was no easy task following in the footsteps of such a larger than life historical leader in a place so decimated by war and challenged by bigger powers all around. But, he did it.

"Without him, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg would not exist as it does today - thriving, expanding, and standing on its own as one of the most influential nations in the world.

"Indeed, it stands on the shoulders of both Grand Duchess Charlotte and Grand Duke Jean. With the people of the Grand Duchy, we mourn his passing, celebrate his life, and pray for comfort for his family and country he loved so much."

Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg

"In my own name and in the name of the Catholic Church in Luxembourg, I would like to express our deepest Christian feelings in this difficult moment.

"Grand Duke Jean was a head of state, who was particularly recognised for his human qualities and who was aware of his highest responsibility. Easily connected to the people, he was guided by his high values and trusted in God.

"With Grand Duke Jean, Luxembourg lost a man who lived a lifetime in the service of our homeland. With such respect and gratitude, we should say 'Au revoir, Monseigneur!' "

British ambassador to Luxembourg John Marshall

Lydie Polfer, mayor of Luxembourg City

"The news of Grand Duke Jean's passing away is very sad. During the many years, where he was head of state, he was the symbol of unity but also of our liberty.

"He impressed above all through his kindness and being will to listen to everyone. He was really a very nice human being. We are obligated to him in deep respect and gratefulness."

"We extend our sincerest condolences to Grand Duke Henry, Grand Duchess Charlotte and the whole family."

Belgian Royal Family

"Grand Duke Jean was a unanimously respected and beloved personality in both Belgium and Luxembourg. His courage, his dignity and his high sense of duty will remain as an example. The void left by his passing is immense, the whole of Belgium shares the grief of the Luxembourg people."

Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and leader of the liberal grouping in the European Parliament

King Willem Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands

"It was with great sadness that we received the announcement of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg's passing away. We are grateful for the friendship and warmth he radiated, and we cherish our many dear memories of him. Grand Duke was a wise man, mild-mannered and somebody who connected people through the way he acted. With his thoughtfulness and humanity, he added to calm and confidence in his country and Europe. We've lost a friend, and it is with emotion that we are thinking back of the beautiful moments with him. Our thoughts are with Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and all members of their family."

White House

"On behalf of the American people, the White House expresses condolences to the people of Luxembourg and the family of Grand Duke Jean upon his passing today. Grand Duke Jean was a great friend of the United States. As we approach the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we recall that Grand Duke Jean fought side by side with American and Allied forces during the Normandy Campaign, the Liberation of Belgium, and in Operation Market Garden. His contributions to peace, security, and prosperity during and after World War II will forever serve as an honourable legacy. His voice for Luxembourg around the world, and his place as a true friend of the United States, will never be forgotten."