Josephine-Charlotte of Belgium

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Joséphine-Charlotte Ingeborg Elisabeth Marie-José Marguerite Astrid, Princess of Belgium and Princess of Saxe Coburg Gotha, (October 11, 1927 - January 10, 2005), was born at the Royal Palace of Brussels.

The young princess spent her childhood at the Stuyvenberg Palace just outside of Brussels with her parents, Prince Léopold (who was to be King Leopold III) and Princess Astrid. Her mother, a princess of Sweden and a direct descendant of Josephine de Beauharnais, was killed in an automobile accident in 1935 at age 29. Her father was a direct descendant of Stephanie de Beauharnais, cousin of Josephine's first husband and adopted daughter of Josephine's second husband.

Princess Joséphine-Charlotte first attended school at the Royal Palace where a small class had been organized for her. At the end of 1940 she entered a boarding school and then continued her education with her own private teachers. On June 7, 1944, the day after the Allied Forces landed in Normandy, France, she and her father were sent to Germany and kept there under house arrest. The Royal Family, which included her brothers Baudouin and Albert and their stepmother, Mary Lilian Baels, Princess de Réthy, was freed on May 7, 1945 and settled in Prégny, Switzerland.

Princess Joséphine-Charlotte continued her studies at the "Ecole Supérieure de Jeunes Filles" in Geneva, Switzerland. Afterwards she took Jean Piaget's lectures on child psychology at the University of Geneva. When she returned to Belgium the princess took up her official duties. At the same time she also devoted herself to social problems and developed her interest in the arts.

On April 9 1953 the princess married Prince Jean of Luxembourg, heir to the grand ducal throne of Luxembourg. They had five children:

As Hereditary Grand Duchess first, then, from Prince Jean's accession to the throne on November 12 1964 until his abdication in 2001, as Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, she carried out the many and varied duties (particularly of a social and cultural nature) of the Consort of Luxembourg.

The Grand Duchess was interested in childhood problems, family and health problems. From 1959 to 1970 she was President of the Luxembourgian (Lëtzebuergesch) Youth Red Cross; from 1964 until her death she was President of the Luxembourgian (Lëtzebuergesch) Red Cross.

Princess Joséphine-Charlotte's favourite hobbies included gardening and horticulture. She also enjoyed hunting, fishing, skiing and watersports.

Joséphine-Charlotte, who had suffered from lung cancer for some time, passed away at the Château deéphine Charlotte (Luxemburg) fr:Joséphine-Charlotte lb:Joséphine-Charlotte nl:Josephine-Charlotte van België no:Josephine-Charlotte av Belgia pl:Józefina-Szarlotta (Wielka Księżna Luksemburga)


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