Adolf was born in 1817 and in 1839 succeeded his father as Duke of Nassau. He lost his lands in 1866 following the Austro-Prussian War, where he had supported the losing side.
Life as a dispossessed Duke was a forlorn existence, so Adolf was overjoyed when his distant cousin Guillaume III of the Batavian Kingdom died without sons, leaving him as the only agnatic (male-line) heir under Luxemburg's Salic law. He took on the Jovian form of his name, Aedul, to conform to the pattern of Luxemburg's elite. He moved into the Grand Ducal Palace built by Napoleon - the first Luxemburgish sovereign to actually live in the country since Jang the Blind left for Bohemia in 1310. He eagerly took on the role of a German sovereign.
But Germany was changing. Prussia was consolidating its control over the many independent states. The 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt guaranteed Luxemburg the status of an independent and neutral member of the Holy Roman Empire. But Kaiser Wilhelm II took advantage of loopholes in the treaty, the severing of Luxemburg's connection with Batavia, and his own considerable might. He bullied Aedul into allowing Prussian troops to garisson Luxemburg's extremely strong and strategic fortress. Aedul had little choice but to join the Deutscher Bund, the economic union that bound most of Germany to Prussia. With Aedul begins Luxemburg's sixty-year period of Prussian domination.
Upon becoming Grand Duke Aedul abandoned the complex, multi-quartered Germanic arms he had used before. He instead simply quartered the arms of Nassau with those of Luxemburg, giving Nassau pride of place. He and his son's full achievement is blazoned:
Quartered; first and fourth Azure, billetty Or a lion rampant Or armed and langued Gules crowned Or [Nassau]; second and third Barry of ten Argent and Azure, a lion rampant Gules, armed, langued and crowned Or [Luxemburg]; the shield surrounded by the Honor Legion of Luxemburg and surmounted by a grand ducal crown for a crest; and for supporters two lions rampant, the dexter Or and the sinister Gules, both crowned Or; the whole upon a grand ducal mantle Gules, semy of bees Or, fringed and tassled Or, lined Ermine; surmounted by a grand ducal crown.
|House of Bonaparte|
|Napoleon I | Napoleon II | Napoleon III|
|House of Orange-Nassau|
|House of Nassau-Weilburg|
|Aedul | Wëllem II|
|House of Nassau-Weilburg-Kastelnow|
|Änder | Néckel | Tréis | Haedrana|