Sunday, November 16, 2014

Interview with Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein

Earlier this year, Prince Joseph Wenzel, oldest son of Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie, gave his first interviews. Simply known as Prince Wenzel since he was a toddler, the future Fürst of Liechtenstein finished school earlier this year. The following interview was conducted early this summer and published in Volksblatt, one of Liechtenstein's two major newspapers.

Photo: IKR
Volksblatt: Your Serene Highness, in May of this year you finished school with your Matura school leaving examination. This 'examination of maturity' [there is the word Reifeprüfung in German, an old word for the school leaving examination but still often used today in a figurative way] is often described as the the end of the first chapter of ones life and is often followed by a phase of detachment from the parental home [by moving out, starting a life of your own, etc.]. Does this apply to you as well?
Prince Wenzel: As I already went to boarding school in England for the past few years, this process started a little earlier for me. However, I always liked to come back home and I think this won't change even now that I have finished school.

Were you able to have a normal and happy childhood and teenage years, to invite school friends to your home and simply do what a normal teenager does?
Yes, I think so. I don't think it was any different for me than for other people my age. Since I started primary school until today, I have always had a nice circle of friends which I could both visit and invite home. It was important for me especially as a teenager to grow up like everyone else in this - and all other - regards.

Photo: EinTracht
In difference to many other noble families, the life of the Liechtenstein Family does not take place in the gossip columns of the media. Are you happy about this or would you like a little more attention for yourself?
It has always been important for my parents and grandparents not to make it into the gossip columns. I agree with them as it gives me the chance to move freely, grow up and live my life like any other person.

When did you become aware that you carry a special responsibility and would one day inherit the throne?
I think, to a certain degree, it has always been in the back of my head that being the firstborn means that I would one day take over my father's role.

Did you, in comparison to your siblings, receive a special education that would prepare you for your future role?
No, we all went to the same schools and also received the same education outside of school. Naturally, there were a few aspects of his work that my father explained a little more thoroughly to me. 

Photo: EinTracht
Have there ever been days when you felt that the responsibility was a burden and you wished that you wouldn't have been born a prince?
There were days when I felt a certain Fernweh [basically feeling homesick for abroad] to have options and possibilities, which I would not be able exhaust. However, there is a lot of time left until I will need to take over my father's duties and so I have the chance to experience many different things.

How much do you think about your future role and what role does it play in your career management?
When I go to university, I will follow in my father's and grandfather's footsteps and study either law or economics. I haven't thought about the time after university in too much detail but I expect to live abroad for a few years to get work experiences under my belt and then return to Liechtenstein.

To what extent are you interested in Liechtenstein's current situation, the challenges the country faces and the politics?
Of course we discuss various political matters in our family. This only raises my interest but as I lived abroad for the past few years, I haven't been able to get into all the details.

Photo: EinTracht
Do you actively follow your father's work and does he involve you in his work?
As I said, I have lived abroad for the past few years and thus we only had limited time together. But whenever I was home, my father was able to give my a first insight into his work.

How close are you to your grandfather Prince Hans-Adam and is he a role model for you?
In the winter I always went skiing with my grandfather and during the summer months, we went fishing. So we have always had a close relationship. Nevertheless, he has also been a role model for me, especially as he always had an answer and explanation to every question I had.

What are the differences between you and your father and grandfather, respectively. Do you see any parallels between yourself and them?
Other people probably have a better answer to this question.

Photo: Exclusiv
How much has your grandmother, Princess Marie, influenced you? And what have you learned from your mother?
I think it is only natural that I have learned a lot from both of them.

The aristocracy has its own rules and ceremony: Do this principles and rituals, which some people view as outdated, still have a future for you?
I don't think that modern noble families like mine still have rules and rituals that are outdated and without any future. In difference: I am under the impression that during a time many people complain about a certain decline in values, many get more interest in noble families and the way they maintain certain values.

Which Liechtenstein tradition do you like the most? What's near and dear to you when it comes to the Principality?
I have always liked about Liechtenstein that we have such an informal and familial atmosphere. That everyone knows everyone says a lot about the positive of the country, I believe. This especially shows on days like our national day.

How would you describe Liechtenstein in five [well, six in English] words to a foreigner?
A small jewel in the Alps.

What do you wish for your and what for Liechtenstein's future?
Success, may we both do well.


  1. Interesting interview. Thanks for translating it to English.

  2. You're welcome. I agree and thought that it would also be interesting to others even if it is already a few months old.