Marie-Adélaïde, born on 14 June 1894, was the daughter of William IV of Luxembourg and Maria Ana de Bragança. She was proclaimed heiress to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, at the expense of her cousin Georges Nicolas de Merenberg, in order to resolve the succession crisis. In 1912, at the age of 18, she succeeded her sick father. Marie-Adélaïde was the first sovereign born on Grand Ducal soil since John the Blind.
When she took her oath in the Chamber of Deputies, Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde affirmed her interest in political and social issues. Strongly influenced by her Catholic upbringing and convinced that she was sovereign by the grace of God, she claimed the right to intervene in political affairs. At the dawn of the First World War, the economic and political situation in Luxembourg was difficult. The German invasion on 2 August 1914 surprised the country and came as a shock. Protesting against Germany's invasion of the country in 1914, the Grand Duchess and the government decided to maintain the traditional policy of neutrality towards the occupier and accepted the military occupation.
This behaviour was strongly criticised after the war by the Allied forces and attracted the hostility of the parliamentary opposition of the time, which, following the revolutionary unrest in January 1919, demanded the abdication of the Grand Duchess in parliament. Marie-Adélaïde abdicated on 15 January 1919 in favour of her younger sister who became Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg.
Marie-Adélaïde retires to Modena, Italy, to a Carmelite convent. She died at the family castle in Hohenburg in 1924. Her remains were repatriated twenty-three years later and have since rested in Luxembourg Cathedral.
● Gilbert Trausch : Le Luxembourg – Émergence d’un État et d’une Nation, Fonds Mercator, Editions Schortgen, 1987, 2007, pp. 323-335.