The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg says gender equality was 'not talked about' when she first joined the royal family
Luxembourg's Grand Duchess married the country's monarch in February 1981.
- HRH told Insider that
gender equalitywasn't discussed at the time.
When Maria Teresa, HRH Grand Duchess of Luxembourg married into the royal family on Valentine's Day 1981, women were not considered equal to their male counterparts.
At the time, females couldn't inherit the throne unless there were no males to take the position. The line of succession was altered in 2011 by the Grand Duchess' husband, the monarch, who introduced "absolute primogeniture." The new system meant that the next Grand Duke or Duchess — equivalent to king or queen of Luxembourg — would take the throne based on age rather than gender.
In her role as consort to the country's monarch, Maria Teresa has become an activist, particularly focusing on gender equality and women's rights. She supports a number of organizations, and in 2019, she started an initiative, titled Stand Speak Rise Up, to support victims of rape and sexual abuse.
HRH told Insider that gender equality within the royal household wasn't discussed when she first married Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
"To tell you the truth, it was not talked about really," she told Insider. "And when you enter a royal family, you do enter a household of tradition, and in that tradition, and because of the situation of the monarchy — where there is the monarch, the person next to the monarch, and the rest of the family — it does already make a separation by the role."
"But apart from the role, gender topics were not really talked about. Now, since the modern times we're living in of gender equality...
Luxembourg is one of a handful of monarchies across Europe to update its line of succession in recent years. Norway updated its line of succession in 1990, so that those born after that would succeed the throne regardless of gender. The UK updated its line of succession ahead of Prince George's birth in 2013.
The Grand Duchess said the royal families "adapting to the time" is essential to the survival of monarchies.
Luxembourg is one of 12 monarchies still active in Europe today, World Population Review reports, and it's the only Grand Duchy — a country headed by a Grand Duke or Duchess — according to Maria Teresa.
In her role as consort, it's the Grand Duchess' responsibility to support the Grand Duke at official engagements, charitable events, and on the international stage. It's the same role that Prince Philip held as Queen Elizabeth II's consort, until his retirement from public duty in 2017.
Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9. A Service of Thanksgiving will be held in his memory in London on Tuesday, which the Grand Duchess said she plans to attend.
"She was very fortunate to have Prince Philip next to her — which she does say very openly — who took on the role and responsibility with the children and when she was not able to and when she didn't have time for it," the Grand Duchess said of the Queen.
"It must have been a suffering for him, and also for her. It's not easy," she added.
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