The Grand Duke
Since 7 October 2000, His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri has been the head of state of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
He is the second child and eldest son of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, and was born at Betzdorf castle on 16 April 1955.
Article 33 of the Constitution provides that 'The Grand Duke is the head of state, symbol of its unity and guarantor of national independence. He exercises executive power in accordance with the Constitution and the country's laws.'
Both within and outside the borders of Luxembourg, the Grand Duke expresses the identity of the country. He symbolises its independence, the unity of the territory and the permanence of the state.
The Grand Duke participates in legislative power and exercises executive power through his government which is politically responsible before the Chamber of Deputies.
Inviolability and freedom from responsibility
The Constitution places the head of state in a unique position outside common law
The Constitution provides that the person of the Grand Duke is inviolable, in other words he cannot be tried by any court and he cannot be asked to be held accountable for his actions. This inviolability implies complete unaccountability. This unaccountability is general and absolute from both a penal and political standpoint. The Grand Duke's inviolability and unaccountability ensure the stability of the monarchical institution and also ensure his impartiality with respect to the political world.
The Grand Duke’s political unaccountability has ministerial responsibility as its counterpart. Any measure adopted by the Grand Duke in the exercise of his constitutional powers must be countersigned by a member of the government, who assumes full responsibility for it.
The Grand Duke's executive remit
Article 34 of the Constitution provides that the Grand Duke enacts laws. Enactment is the act by which the Grand Duke attests to the content of the law and that the procedure for drafting the law was carried out in the proper fashion. This makes the law enforceable, in other words applicable. The law is published in the Official Journal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The Grand Duke's regulatory power consists in taking the regulations and administrative orders required for the enforcement of laws and treaties. In some cases he may delegate this power to the members of his government.
Article 74 of the Constitution provides that the Grand Duke may dissolve the Chamber of Deputies. In this case, new legislative elections must take place within three months. In practice, dissolution only takes place at the proposal of the government. The Grand Duke either opens and closes the parliamentary sessions personally, or via his representative. He also convenes extraordinary sessions.
In principle, the text of the Constitution grants the Grand Duke the freedom to choose his ministers who are his persons of trust and who exercise executive power with him. According to custom, the Grand Duke only chooses the Prime Minister, who takes care to compose a government which will win the support of the parliamentary majority.
Justice is delivered in the name of the Grand Duke, however he doesn't have the right to intervene in the exercise of judicial power.
The Grand Duke represents the country abroad, he makes treaties and he ensures that the interests of the state and of Luxembourgish nationals are safeguarded.
Power to appoint
The Grand Duke regulates the organisation of the government and the administrative services. He also appoints civil and military posts. He commands the armed forces.
The Constitution reserves the prerogative of pardon for the Grand Duke, which means the right to reconsider or reduce the sentences handed down by judges, the right to mint coins in accordance with the law, the right to confer titles of nobility without being able to attach any privileges to these titles, as well as the right to confer honorary titles in civil and military orders.