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Ursel family

Ursel family

The House of Ursel is the name of an old Belgian noble family of German origin . The Head of the House is styled as Duke of Ursel, while other members are styled as Count/Countess of Ursel.


The Ursel family roots are in Schmalkalden, Germany, and were collateral branch of the House of Schetzenberg. In the late 15th century, some members moved to Hasselt and Antwerp. Amongst the family members we find Gaspard II Schetz, the Lord of Grobbendonck, who married Catherine van Ursel, daughter of Lancelot II of Ursel. The three daughters of Lancelot II died without heirs, and by request of Barbe of Ursel, Conrad III Schetz was adopted by her. His descendants carrying the name 'van Ursel'. The ancestors of Lancelot II came from Antwerp, and held important offices. Conrad Albert, Baron of Wesemael and Lord of Highene was created First Duke of Ursel by imperial decree of Charles VI on 19 August 1716 and later he was created First Duke of Hoboken on 24 April 1717.

During the centuries the family had the privilege of being the hereditary grand veneur and Haut Forestier of Flanders (Forestarius), a ceremonial function at court of the Count of Flanders.


Today the Ursel family still holds residence in a few important old castles like Linterpoort Castle, property of count Thibault d'Ursel, Hex Castle property of count Ghislian d'Ursel and the large Castle of the Counts d´Ursel in Durbuy, descendants of Antony Schetz, Count of Durbuy. Moulbaix Castle, residence of the late Aymard, count d'Ursel was recently sold, after the last Countess d´Ursel died. Beerlegem Castle is the private residence of Count Hubert d'Ursel de Bousies, by marriage a descendant of Lopez-Maria Rodriguez d'Evora y Vega, 1st Marquess of Rode, the original Marquess of Rode. Another residence Smissenbroek Castle is the property of Count Augustin d'Ursel de Bousies, this castle comes from the same heritage of Rodriguez d'Evora y Vega and is family property since 1808.

The main summer residence of the family was d'Ursel Castle in Hingene, since the 18th century private property. Even today the main graveyard of the Dukes of Ursel is next to the church of Hingene. The successful restoration of the castle received the Flemish Heritage award.


Members of the House of Ursel are allied to many old and important noble houses of Belgium. Even today these unions give them a large network in society. They are allied and married to the house of von Lobkowicz, Zu salm, Thurn und Taxis, von Arenberg, de Clermont-Tonnerre, de La Trémoille, Cornet d'Elzius, De Croy, de Merode, de la Rochefoucauld, de Riquet, Prince de Caraman-Chimay, de Lannoy, d'Oultremont, von Schönburg-Glauchau, de Brouchoven de Bergeÿck, de Spoelberch, de Broqueville, Visart de Bocarmé, de Hemricourt de Grunne, von Hohenlohe, de Villenfagne de Vogelsanck, de Montpellier de Vedrin, de Bèthune-Hesdigneul.


The head of the family still holds old recognised titles, given from father to son for generations.

  • Count of Grobbendonk, by Imperial Decree, Ferdinand III since 1638.
  • Count of the Holy Empire, by Imperial Decree, Ferdinand III since 1638.
  • Duke of Ursel, by imperial Decree since 1716.
  • Duke of Hoboken, By imperial Decree since 1717.
  • Prince of Arches and Charleville; Principauté d'Arches, inherited from the Princes zu Salm.


Descendants Renout, Mayors of Antwerp

Barons of Hoboken

Duke of Hoboken (Imperial Decree of 1717)

Simplified genealogy of the generations and direct line of Dukes of Ursel upon today.

Austrian and Holland period

Kingdom of Belgium

Count d'Ursel

Cadet family members are to beknown as Count or Countess d'Ursel.

  • Antoine d'Ursel, head of Comet Escape Line in World War II. Died by drowning in December 1943.
  • Jean Count d'Ursel, died on 16 March 1945 in Flossenbürg.
  • Jeanne Lejeune de Schiervel, countess d'Ursel died in Ravensbruck.
  • Louis Marie Alexandre Count d'Ursel, Diplomat during the second WW.
  • Antoine, Count d'Ursel (23 November 1953 ) Chevalier de Justice / Royal Commission for Luxembourg
  • Thibault, Count d'Ursel (5 June 1980), married to Désirée zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg and son in law of Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
  • Michel, Count d´Ursel, mayor of Heks.
  • Anne Charlotte, Countess d'Ursel, member of the Brussels parliament.
  • Barbara d'Ursel de Lobkowicz, politician.
  • Charles, count d'Ursel grandfather of Philippe, Count d'Ursel (1920-2017)
  • Léo, count d'Ursel; Belgian diplomat.
  • Aymard, count d'Ursel; secret Chamberlain.
  • Hippolyte, count d'Ursel, (1850-1937): member of the Senate. Honoured in the D'Ursel Point.
  • Count John Cornet d’Elzius, son of countess Colette d´Ursel, ambassador to the Holy See.

See also

  • List of noble families in Belgium


Collection James Bond 007

External links

  • Media related to House of Ursel at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website
  • House of Ursel –

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Ursel family by Wikipedia (Historical)