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1896:    born at Berg Castle, Colmar-Berg (L)

1919:    becomes Grand Duchess and succeeds her sister Marie-Adélaïde; marriage to Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma

1921:    birth of her first son, hereditary prince Jean 

1939:    centenary of Luxembourg’s independence and 20th anniversary of Charlotte’s accession to the throne

1940:    flees with her family and the government to France, later to Portugal, England and the USA

From 1941:    start of “Good Will Tour”, and from 1943 “Grand Western Tour” in the USA: Charlotte draws Americans’ attention to Luxembourg resistance; Charlotte regularly gives radio speeches

1945:    returns to Luxembourg after five years of exile; tour through the devastated north and east of the country
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Mon peuple et les populations des pays occupés dirigent un regard plein d’espoir vers les Etats-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne. Nous savons que vos armées viendront nous libérer un jour. Ce jour venu, mon peuple se battra à vos côtés.
Charlotte de Nassau, speech, Nov. 1942

Charlotte visits the BBC, London 1943
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Following the abdication of her sister Marie-Adélaïde, Charlotte unexpectedly ascended the grand-ducal throne in January 1919. In 1939, the 100th anniversary of Luxembourg’s independence fostered a new sense of national identity among the population. Charlotte thus became a symbol of Luxembourg’s national independence. When the Second World War began on 1 September 1939, preparations were made for the head of state and for the government to flee in the event of an invasion. On 10 May 1940 Charlotte went into exile. Her activities in England and the USA secured Luxembourg’s place on the side of the Allies. She met with many politicians, including US President Roosevelt. She made broadcasts to Luxembourgers at home via the BBC and thus bolstered the morale of the resistance, for whom she became a cult figure. Charlotte returned to Luxembourg on 14 April 1945. A few months earlier, the Battle of the Bulge had destroyed thousands of homes in the north and east of the country. The Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte relief organization was established to help war victims. The Grand Duchess also felt the need to visit the destroyed areas herself. She met with victims, listened to their concerns and sometimes even provided direct assistance.

Dëst soll keng politesch Usprooch sinn, nëmmen e Grouss un iech all doheem, déi der ënner friemer Herrschaft liewe musst. E Grouss aus déifstem Häerz, deen ech glécklech sinn, un iech riichten ze kënnen. Dir wësst, wéi gären ech bei iech bliwwe wär, fir mat iech d’Suergen an d’Leed ze deelen, déi di Däitsch den 10. Mee iwwer onst klengt glécklecht Land bruecht hunn.
Charlotte de Nassau, speech, 9 Sept. 1940

Volksempfänger radio like this one were used to clandestinely listen to the Grand Duchess’s speeches on the BBC
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