His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano of Luxembourg was born on 5th January 1921 at the Castle of Colmar-Berg in Luxembourg as the eldest son of Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Félix of Bourbon Parma, Prince of Luxembourg. As Heir to the throne He was styled Hereditary Grand Duke on 5th February 1939.
He attended elementary school in Luxembourg. His secondary education, which also began in Luxembourg, was completed in Great Britain at Ampleforth College (Yorkshire). When German troops invaded the Grand Duchy on 10th May 1940, Prince Jean left Luxembourg together with the Grand Ducal Family. They first found refuge in France before leaving for the United States, Canada and Great Britain.
At the University of Laval in Quebec the Hereditary Grand Duke read Law and Political Science. In November 1942 He joined the British Army as a volunteer in the Irish Guards, where he occupied the rank of lieutenant in 1943 and of captain in 1944. He was promoted colonel of the Irish Guards on 21 August 1984.
On 11th June 1944 He crossed the Channel landing near Bayeux. He then served in Normandy as Liaison Officer to the 3rd Bn Irish Guards at HQ, 32nd Brigade, which was a part of the Guards Armoured Division.
During the period of the Second World War, His Royal Highness took part in the battle of Caen and the liberation of Brussels (3rd September 1944).
On 10th September 1944, He joined His Father, Prince Félix of Luxembourg, and the 1st Allied troops that liberated Luxembourg ; on 13th September 1944, He rejoined His unit and took part in the Arnem operations and the Rundstedt offensive.
He remained in Germany with His unit of the Allied Forces till 14th April 1945, then joined the Military Mission to Luxembourg where He stayed until the end of the war.
From 1951 to 1961 He was a Member of the "State Council" (Conseil d'Etat).
On 28th April 1961 Grand Duchess Charlotte appointed Her Son Her "Lieutenant-Representative" (Lieutenant-Représentant).
On 12th November 1964 The Hereditary Grand Duke acceded to the throne on the Grand Duchess's abdication in His favour. Since that date He has been General of the Luxembourg Army.
On 9th April 1953 He married Her Royal Highness Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. They have 5 children :
- Princess Marie-Astrid, born on 17th February 1954
- Prince Henri, born on 16th April 1955 (Grand Duke)
- Prince Jean, born on 15th May 1957
- Princess Margaretha, born on 15th May 1957
- Prince Guillaume, born on 1st May 1963.
His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean has Honorary Doctorates from the University of Strasbourg (France) and from the Miami University/Ohio.
The Grand Duke is also Chief-Scout of the Luxembourg Boy Scouts Association and since 1989 Member of the Baden-Powell World Fellowship. He is Honorary President of the "Oeuvres des Pupilles de la Nation", of the "Anciens Combattants" (Luxembourg Ex-Servicemen's Association) and "Doyen Honoraire" of the International Olympic Committee.
His Royal Highness is greatly interested in environmental problems and ecology, as well as the protection of animal life and flora. Amongst other associations He is active in His support of the World Wild Life Fund and of the Rare Bird Club.
He likes sports and practises especially skiing, water ski-ing, swimming, hunting and fishing. His hobbies are photography and music (classical and modern).
Besides a large number of Luxembourg and foreign civil decorations the following military decorations have been bestowed on the Grand Duke :
- Croix de Guerre Luxembourgeoise avec Palme
- Silver Star Medal (USA)
- Croix de Guerre Française
- Croix de Guerre Belge 1940 avec Palme
- Orlogsherinneringskruis (NL)
- 1939-1945 Star (GB)
- France and Germany Star (GB)
- Defence Medal (GB)
- War Medal 1939-1945 (GB).
His Royal Highness the Grand Duke abdicated in favour of his son, Grand Duke Henri, on 7 October 2000.