Princess Marie-Astrid, the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, was born on 17 February 1954 at Betzdorf Castle. According to the order of succession to the throne, Marie-Astrid has no claim to the throne, which is reserved for male descendants.
The princess studied in Luxembourg and Belgium. From 1971 to 1974, she attended the nursing school in Luxembourg (Clinique du Sacré-Cœ ur), where she obtained the diploma of "State Registered Nurse" in June 1974. In 1977, she completed her training by obtaining a diploma as a nurse in tropical medicine at the Prince Leopold Institute in Antwerp with honours.
In 1974, she officially opened a nursing school in Rwamagana, Republic of Rwanda, financed by the Luxembourg government. She returned to Rwanda in the summer of 1975 to work for three months as a nurse in Rwandan hospitals. During this stay, she was accompanied by her sister, Princess Margaretha.
She has been president of the Luxembourg Red Cross Youth since 1970. Princess Marie-Astrid has given her patronage to the Luxembourg Society for the Protection of Animals and the Luxembourg Association for the Defence of the Interests of Physically Handicapped Persons.
On 6 February 1982, Marie-Astrid married Charles Christian of Habsburg-Lorraine, Archduke of Austria, Prince of Bar, in Luxembourg. They had five children. In 2008, Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria received the insignia of Dame of the Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta