Saturday, February 28, 2015

Alois and Sophie Watch The Gypsy Baron

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Liechtensteiner Vaterland /
Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie were among those to view the premiere of "The Gypsy Baron" by Johann Strauss, the Son in Vaduz this evening. They were joined by the President of Parliament Albert Frick, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture Aurelia Frick, as well as Vaduz mayor Ewald Ospelt. Liechtenstein's Operettenbühne operetta stage celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. 

Pictures can be viewed at Vaterland.

Grand Duke Meets New and Old Ambassadors

Photo: Republic of Togo
On Wednesday, Grand Duke Henri received outgoing U.S. ambassador Robert A. Mandell for a farewell audience. Mandell has served as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg for the past three and a half years and will now return home. In addition, new ambassadors of Sri Lanka, Mauritania, Togo (Kokou Nayo Mbeou, above together with Grand Duke Henri), Slovakia and Zimbabwe presented their letters of credence to the Grand Duke on Wednesday as well.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Grand Duke to Visit Cabo Verde

Grand Duke Henri will make a three-day official visit to the Republic of Cabo Verde between March 10 and 12. He will not be accompanied by the Grand Duchess on this visit. The delegation will also consist of Romain Schneider in his function as Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action and Francine Closener, Secretary of State in the Ministry of the Economy. The trio will visit the islands of Santiago, Santo Antão and São Vicente. Around 7,000 people from Cabo Verde, an island country of the Western coast of Africa, live in the Grand Duchy.

Blog Selected by Luxemburger Wort

Photo: Screenshot
You might have noticed that something about the blog has changed during the past few days. No, we neither added a new royal family to cover nor did we invent a new feature or gave the blog a visual make-over. Instead, we added a badge of the right hand side: Blog selected by Luxemburger Wort the Grand Duchy's biggest newspaper. 

As the badge says, Luxarazzi is one of a number of blogs selected by the English-language version of Luxemburger Wort's online version,, to be featured in a special section on their website, the Blogosphere. The aim of the new section is to group "the most useful or entertaining blogs about Luxembourg in one place". Naturally, we are thrilled to be included in this group. So, head over to Wort and check out the other featured blogs.

Luxarazzi 101: Queen Fabiola's Circle Earrings

84 days ago today, Queen Fabiola of Belgium passed away. Today, we are going to remember her in a way I'm not quite sure she would have liked to be remembered by, some of her jewels: A pair of three circle earrings adorned by a multitude of coloured and non-coloured stones, namely diamonds, rubies and emeralds. These earrings, which don't seem to be old heirloom pieces, are today owned by Princess Margaretha, Queen Fabiola's niece. 

Princess Margaretha first publicly wore her aunt's circle earrings for the traditional mass for deceased members of the Belgian royal family in February of last year, even before Queen Fabiola's death. After Belgium's former Queen passed away on December 5th, there was much speculation as to what would happen to her jewels. Especially as it had been announced that all her private possessions would go to the Hulpfonds van de Koningin, a charity she set up at the time of her wedding in 1960. However, considering that Princess Margaretha owns some of her aunts jewels and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians does as well, I like to think that Queen Fabiola simply gifted her jewels to her nieces and nieces-in-law during the last years of her life. I guess that time will only tell though.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grand Duke Henri Receives the Swiss President

Source: Cour grand-ducale
Today, Grand Duke Henri received in audience Simonetta Sommaruga, the President of the Swiss Confederation. She assumed office on January 1st of 2015, after serving as Vice President of the Swiss Confederation for the previous year.

Liechtenstein Royals at Vernon Smith Prize

Photo: Nils Vollmar / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt
Prince Hans-Adam II, his brother Prince Philipp and their cousin Prince Michael all attended the the 7th International Vernon Smith Prize for the Advancement of Austrian Economics in Liechtenstein this week. The event is organised by the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation (ECAEF). Both Prince Philipp and Prince Michael are members of the board of directors of the ECAEF and Prince Hans-Adam has also been long involved with the foundation and so he was the one who actually handed out the award.

The topic of this year's essay competition was "Trusting Politicians with Our Money is like Leaving a Cat in Charge of a Cream Jug". The first prize went to David J. Hebert from the United States of America ahead of Daniel Sanchez Pinol Yulee from Spain and Andreas Kohl Martinez from France. 

A video including interviews with Prince Philipp and Prince Michael can be found at 1 FL TV.

Grand Duke Henri Receives a Delegation from Bremen

Source: Cour grand-ducale
On Wednesday, Grand Duke Henri received in audience a 20-member delegation from Bremen, headed by Jens Böhrnsen who holds the titles of President of the Senate and Mayor of Bremen. The delegation is in Luxembourg for two days to strengthen economic ties between Bremen and Luxembourg and exchange ideas about current scientific research. In particular, the two share interest in materials research and options for renewable energy.

The delegation will also expected to meet with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, who is also the Minister of the Economy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prince Philipp Gives Out LGT Media Award

Source: OTS / L-R: Prince Philipp, Nikolaus Jilch, Eva Steindorfer, Markus Schauta
(standing in for Jakob Arnim-Ellissen), and Meinhard Platzer
On Tuesday, Prince Philipp was in Vienna to give out the LGT Media Award at the Stadtpalais Liechtenstein. This award, which recognizes outstanding economic reporting, selected from articles published between January 1, 2014, and November 14, 2014.

The main award went to Eva Steindorfer of Die Presse for her report "Gründer gehen dorthin, wo das Geld ist" from October 5th of 2014. This article featured start-ups in Austria and highlighted the winner of Startup Fonds Speedinvest II.

Honorable mentions, in the form of recognition awards, also went to Jakob Arnim-Ellissen of Format and Nikolaus Jilch of Die Presse. Jakob Arnim-Ellissen's article "Bürokratie in Rot-Weiß-Rot", dated August 14th of 2014, focused on the challenges that skilled workers face in leaping over bureaucratic hurdles. Nikolaus Jilch received his second recognition award for the article "Die Teuerung kommt früher oder später", which used the lessons from the dot-com breakdown, as well as other historical economic events, to suggest that inflation should be a growing concern.

Prince Philipp, who is the chairmain of the LGT Group, was joined by Meinhard Platzer, the CEO of LGT Bank Austria, to present the awards. The winners of the LGT Media Award and the recognition awards were determined by a five-member panel that reviewed the different submissions.

Photo and more information from OTS.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hereditary Princess Sophie and the Day of the Book

Photo: Liechtensteiner Volksblatt /
Yesterday, the Principality celebrated its day of the book and on the occasion Hereditary Princess Sophie attended an event honouring Liechtenstein's most beautiful books of the last year. The event took place at the auditorium of the University of Liechtenstein. Pictures of it can be found at Volksblatt and Vaterland. 1 FL TV has a video.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: Castle Church and Ducal Crypt in Weilburg

Photos: Luxarazzi
The Baroque castle church, or Schlosskirche, in Weilburg dates back to the the year 1707 when it was commissioned by Count Ernst-Johann of Nassau-Weilburg as part of numerous changes to both town and castle. The church was built according to plans of Julius Ludwig Rothweil and finished in 1712. The Protestant church was consecrated in August 1713 even though the first baptism had already taken place there several months earlier.

Beneath the altar of the church lies the crypt that holds members of the Nassau family. A crypt holding royal ancestors is hardly a novelty, but this particular crypt plays a unique role for the House of Nassau. Appreciating the role that the crypt has played for the family of Nassau requires first understanding how the town of Weilburg developed. Weilburg today, with 14,000 residents, is the third largest city in Limburg-Weilburg Kreis (or district) in the State of Hesse. Weilburg has been heavily influenced by the Nassau family. The town underwent extensive renovations under Count Johann Ernst of Nassau-Weilburg (1664-1719), who added various new buildings, created a park area, and expanded the medieval castle that already sat in the town.

Today Weilburg is considered one of the best preserved towns dating from Germany’s era of Baroque urban planning, though it's castle is actually built in Renaissaince-style. It has the luxury of being little touched during the wars and still maintains an aura of another time.

In 1806, Weilburg became the seat of power for the Dukes of Nassau, who had just assigned themselves this title from the traditional title of Counts of Nassau. (This new seat of power did not remain in Weilburg long. By 1816, Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau, moved the seat of power to Biebrich.) By 1866, the power of the Nassau family was on the decline, when Prussia annexed the entire Duchy after the Austro-Prussian War. The crypt within the castle church of Weilburg, however, remained in the legal control of the Nassau-Weilburg family and in the possession of their descendants even as they transferred to other political domains. Today, those who step inside the crypt step – however briefly – out of Germany and into the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as the crypt in considered Luxembourgish exterritorial area.

In fact, the entrance to the crypt, when opened, is draped with the colors of the House of Nassau (blue and orange) and flanked by an honor guard usually formed by the Bürgergarde Weilburg. Before the entrance there is a stone slab inset into the ground and engraved with the following Latin inscription:


Beneath this altar await resurrection, the most noble, the most powerful and most illustrious masters and mistresses of the ancient line of Nassau, Counts and Princes of Nassau-Weilburg, Dukes of Nassau, Grand Dukes of Luxembourg. Rest in peace.

Already prior to the construction of today's church, there had been a castle church and family crypt in Weilburg. When the previous church was deconstructed in 1707, the remains of 17 members of the Nassau family were moved to a location near the church entrance from the castle garden. For a long time, they seem to have been lost to memory, particularly after the Prussian annexation, but were rediscovered during reconstruction work on the church in 1909. The remains were then moved to the new crypt below the altar of the castle church which occupies a space of 12 meters long (39 feet long) and 7.5 meters wide (24.5 feet wide) with six cross vaults, each supported by two sturdy pillars, spanning the ceiling.

Flowers from Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, laid
on the grave of Grand Duke Wilhelm.
After being originally buried at Schloss Hohenburg near Lenggries in Bavaria, the remains of Grand Duke Adolph of Luxembourg, who was also the last reigning Duke of Nassau, were transferred to the crypt of the castle church in Weilburg in 1953. Already two years earlier, the same had happened to the remains of his son and successor, Grand Duke Wilhelm IV. All in all, there are around thirty (Protestant) members of the Nassau family, including aforementioned Count Johann Ernst and his wife, who are buried at the family's crypt in Weilburg. Their Catholic relatives starting with Wilhelm's wife, Grand Duchess Maria-Ana, are buried at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Grand Ducal Family to Attend José Antonio Mestre's Funeral

Photo: Cour grand-ducale /
Archive privée
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as their children will travel to Miami, Florida to attend the funeral of the Grand Duchess' older brother José Antonio Mestre. He died on Monday, February 16, at the age of 62. 

The cour grand-ducale also announced that the flags at the palais as well as château de Berg will be flown at half mast between Friday, February 20, and Monday, February 23. Those who would like to express their sympathies will have the chance to sign a book of condolences at the palais grand-ducal on Friday, Saturday and Monday between 9am and 12pm as well as 1pm and 5pm.

Prince Robert and Princess Julie Support Music

Photo: David Dupuy/
Earlier this month, Prince Robert and Princess Julie were the guests of honor at a charity auction held in New York City. The event benefited the Perlman Music Program (PMP), which was founded by Toby Perlman 21 years ago. The program trains young people who have a rare and extraordinary talent for playing string instruments. 

Prince Robert was one of many winemakers who donated fine wine for the auction. He was honored for his generous long-term support of the Perlman Music Program. Prince Robert gave a speech highlighting his love of fine wine, philanthropy and his appreciation for the PMP. This was the seventh and most successful auction benefit.

Monday, February 16, 2015

José Antonio Mestre Has Died

José Antonio Mestre, older brother of Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, died today in Miami, Florida, the cour grand-ducale announced this evening. He was 62 years old. In 2011, he spent eight days in a coma after suffering cardiovascular problems. José Antonio Mestre is survived by three siblings, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as a brother, Luis Mestre, and another sister, Catalina.

In other sad news, Archduchess Adélaïde of Austria, daughter-in-law of Luxembourg's Princess Marie-Astrid, mourns the loss of her grandmother. Annick Drapé died on February 13. The funeral service will take place at the église Saint-François-Xavier in Paris in three days.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Prince Hans-Adam and His Family...

Yesterday was Prince Hans-Adam's 70th birthday and we celebrated it with a marathon of interviews with him, his son Hereditary Prince Alois, his grandson Prince Wenzel and the ladies of his life. We will now likely - as you never know what might pop up in the coming days - end our birthday coverage with a collage of pictures of Prince Hans-Adam, Princess Marie and their descendants. And cause you possibly don't know all their names by heart, here's a quick rundown:

1) Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein
2) Princess Marie of Liechtenstein
3) Prince Constantin of Liechtenstein
4) Princess Georgina "Gina" of Liechtenstein
5) Prince Benedikt of Liechtenstein
6) Prince Moritz of Liechtenstein
7) Princess Marie of Liechtenstein
8) Marie von Lattorff
9) Elisabeth von Lattorff
10) Anna von Lattorff
11) Sophie von Lattorff
12) Tatjana von Lattorff, Princess of Liechtenstein
13) Philipp von Lattorff
14) Maximilian von Lattorff
15) Camilla von Lattorff
16) Lukas von Lattorff
17) Prince Maximilian "Max" of Liechtenstein
18) Prince Alfonso of Liechtenstein
19) Princess Angela of Liechtenstein
20) Prince Joseph-Wenzel "Wenzel" of Liechtenstein
21) Prince Georg of Liechtenstein
22) Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein
23) Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein
24) Princess Marie-Caroline of Liechtenstein
25) Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein

...and What the Ladies Have to Say

After our marathon of princely interviews yesterday - Haven't read them yet? Check here, here and here for lengthy interviews with Prince Hans-Adam II, Hereditary Prince Alois and Prince Wenzel on the occasion of the Fürst's 70th birthday. -, there is basically one post left: A post with what the ladies in Prince Hans-Adam's life have to say about him. Mind you, it's not all the ladies but representative selection of them: his wife Princess Marie, his daughter Princess Tatjana, his daughter-in-law Princess Sophie, and his granddaughter Princess Marie-Caroline.

The Princess Marie
Photo: Manfred Bauer /
Serene Highness, do you still recall the first thought that went through your mind when you met Prince Hans-Adam for the first time?
I thought of him as a cheerful young man.

What do you value most about Prince Hans-Adam as a husband?
That he is very intelligent, that he has humour and that he is a faithful husband.

If you had to describe Prince Hans-Adam with three adjectives, which ones would it be?
I think I have basically already answered this question with the answers to the first two questions.

When was the last time your husband made you laugh and how did he do it?
The last time was this morning. I put on a red jacket as I know that he likes to colour. I always tell him that he is like a bull.

Can you tell us an anecdote about your husband as a family man?
There are many anecdotes I could tell. What always touches me is that he is such a caring and generous head of the family with all members of the family.

What do you wish Prince Hans-Adam for his 70th birthday?
That he stays as he is and that God may bless and save him.

Princess Tatjana
Photo: Exclusiv
Serene Highness, what do you value most about Prince Hans-Adam as a father?
That he has such diverse interests which you can discuss with him for hours and hours.

If you had to describe Prince Hans-Adam with three adjectives, which ones would it be?
Funny, direct and energetic.

When was the last time your father made you laugh and how did he do it?
Very often we laugh about the little ordinary things in life.

Can you tell us an anecdote about your father as a family man?
One of my daughters hurt herself last summer. My father was with us and thought that she was very brave so he wanted to gift her something. A few weeks later, he took her to the jeweller and she chose a little necklace for herself.

What do you wish Prince Hans-Adam for his 70th birthday?
All the best.

Hereditary Princess Sophie
Photo: PPE
Royal Highness, do you still recall the first thought that went through your mind when you met Prince Hans-Adam for the first time?
Unfortunately I can't recall - mind you, it has been almost exactly 30 years!

What do you value most about Prince Hans-Adam as a father-in-law?
His humour and his great knowledge in great number of subjects.

If you had to describe Prince Hans-Adam with three adjectives, which ones would it be?
Intelligent, humerous and generous.

When was the last time your father-in-law made you laugh and how did he do it?
We laugh so often that I can't recall a specific example.

What do you wish Prince Hans-Adam for his 70th birthday?
That his wishes will be fulfilled, he stays healthy and can continue to pursue his interests like he does now. 

Princess Marie-Caroline
Photo: Scanpix
Serene Highness, what do you value most about Prince Hans-Adam as a grandfather?
His humour.

If you had to describe Prince Hans-Adam with three adjectives, which ones would it be?
Intelligent, enthusiastic and humerous.

When was the last time your grandfather made you laugh and how did he do it?
The last time I was home.

What do you wish Prince Hans-Adam for his 70th birthday?
Health and that all his wishes may come true. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Three Generations: Interview with Prince Wenzel

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Vaterlandmagazin
After the first generation's and the second generation's, here's the third generation's interview to mark Prince Hans-Adam's 70th birthday. The interviewed, Prince (Joseph-)Wenzel, is the oldest son of Hereditary Prince Alois and thus second in line to Liechtenstein's throne. The questions were asked by Niki Eder for Vaterlandmagazin. The English translation is by Luxarazzi.

Serene Highness, in May of last year you finished Malvern College with the International Baccalaureate and will soon start university. How are you enjoying this time of absolute freedom?
After all the examination stress I do enjoy this free time very much. I decided long ago that I would take a gap year between College and starting university. You don't have this chance very often and I wanted to make use of it.

What do you do with your gap year?
I planned three things for my year off: As I have always been a fan of different cultures and countries, I wanted to travel and see a bit of the world. In addition, I wanted to get a bit of work experience under my belt and thirdly I wanted to learn another language, specifically Spanish. After an internship with the U.S. Senate last summer - a very interesting and fascinating experience especially as this work was very political - I could really combine all three aspects in South America. I spent five months until Christmas there. In the beginning, I attended a language school, then I worked a little for a company to gain more experience with my Spanish in everyday life, and lastly I travelled around with some friends from school.

Where did your travels around South America lead you?
Our backpacking tour led us through Peru and Bolivia. We wanted to experience local life, culture and the beauty of nature first hand. It was such a great time and a beautiful journey.

When a prince goes backpacking, does it look like for every person else? Or are there special measures being taken?
(Laughs.) My backpacking tour went like it does for everyone else.

Doesn't it cause a turmoil if someone with your family name checks into a hotel?
Luckily not. Most people don't really know our country. So it doesn't attract attention when you check into a hotel as a backpacker. At least I have never had problems with my name. I have to say that I really enjoyed to fly under the radar for a while.

What impressed you most during your journey?
We had many great experiences. One time we climbed a six-thousander, that was an extraordinary thing. You really notice how thin the air gets. Also to see the salt flat in Bolivia with my own eyes was amazing. 

It is still a while until the new university term starts. Do you have any more travels or other plans until then?
At the moment I concentrate on Asia where I will do some travelling. In addition, I would like to get a little more work experience, preferably in the Spanish speaking world to enhance my knowledge of the language. 

You spent Christmas and New Year's at Schloss Vaduz. Could you make use of the time to indulge in your passion, skiing?
Thankfully the snow finally came for Christmas. So I did use the chance to go off onto the piste. Alpine skiing really is the sport that is most fun to me.

Can you tell us what your favourite skiing region is?
In Malbun [Liechtenstein] my father taught me how to ski. I still remember how I held onto his ski stick and drove behind him. I still like to go to Malbun, especially if I only have time for a day. If I want to ski a little more, I often go to the Arlberg [in Austria, between the states of Vorarlberg and Tyrol], simply because the skiing area is much bigger and thus there's more variety. 

In October, your first term of university will start. Do you already know where your way will lead you?
I will probably go the legal way and maybe then an MBA to balance out the law with some economics. I'm not sure yet where I will study. For my legal studies the German-speaking countries make most sense as they are most similar to Liechtenstein's legal system. For the MBA there will be more options where to study.

Can you follow your heart when deciding what to study or is the way already smoothed by your father and grandfather? Your grandfather and father already studied economics and law, respectively.
I was totally free in my decision. But of course certain studies will be more helpful in my later life than others. That's without question.

You spent the last few years attending school in England. Was it hard for you to leave?
Well, it did rain a lot there. (Laughs.) Anyhow, I did have a incredibly great time at Malvern. I especially enjoyed life at boarding school.

By starting to attend Malvern College in 2011 at the age of 16, you already moved out from home quite early on. Were you ever homesick?
Not really. In England I have friends who already left home at the age of eight to attend boarding school. Most of the students arrived there at 13. So I was quite late to the game and one of the older new arrivals. The distance wasn't a big thing for me as I could come home quite often. At least every six weeks and of course for the school holidays. So being homesick was never a problem, in difference to students from Asia or South America who only saw their family's during winter break. 

If you enjoyed life in boarding school, you will probably also enjoy life as a student.
Pretty certainly. While in school there is a certain timetable to follow so I think student life will be more free in this regard. The freedom is only one thing I look forward to though. The focus will certainly be on my legal studies as this topic has fascinated me for a long time. Finally I will be able to concentrate on one thing that I'm interested in and don't have to - like in school - sit through subjects I wasn't all that interested in. 

Does a prince live in a shared flat or does he have one of his own?
I'm not quite sure about that yet. If I look at the members of my family, there certainly are both options. I have to find the best way for myself. Maybe I will already have friends who attend that same university and then we will move in together. 

Under the heading friends: Are you still in contact with your old school friends from Liechtenstein or is your circle of friends mainly made up of school mates from Malvern College?
Every time I'm here, I try to meet up with my Liechtenstein friends. Sometimes we have a night out but most of the times we meet at either their or my place. It's important to me to keep these contacts alive. 

Has it always been this way that you could spontaneously invite your friends to your home?
That has always been the case. Our living areas look totally normal - as such it wasn't even a special thing for my friends to come to the castle. Only the rooms that are used for official events look more representative. I could always also visit my friends whenever I wanted to. The same thing applies to my siblings now. Whenever I'm in Liechtenstein, I'm practically their private chauffeur. (Laughs.) All in all, I had a very normal childhood.

What role did your grandfather Prince Hans-Adam play in your childhood and teenage years? Did you spent a lot of time with him?
We may live in seperated areas in the castle but whenever I had a question, I could go and see him. We always did a lot of things together - from skiing to fishing. Apart from sports, he sometimes read or told us stories and we simply sat there and listened to him attentively. You could always learn many things from him. We still have a good relationship, he is a great grandfather.

Often grandfathers and grandmothers allow their grandchildren more than the parents do. Has that also been the case for you?
That was more the case with my grandmother. But it's not the task of the grandparents to teach discipline to their grandchildren, is it. (Laughs.)

How has the fact that you one day will become Fürst influenced your upbringing?
When I was a small child, it wasn't a major topic for me that I would one day become The Prince. At some point I reached an age when I became aware of it. However, I can't recall a moment when I was told that I would one day become Fürst. Somehow it was simply normal that this would be my way.

And how were and are you being prepared for your future role?
Up to this day, there hasn't been a special training. Maybe I will have possibilities in the future to attend special courses that will teach me important skills. Generally I have always paid attention to the tasks my father and grandfather fulfill and how they do it. For a short while now, my father has taken me with him for meetings and such so that I can sit in the background, observe and learn from him. I believe that this way it will be a natural and automatic process to grow into my future role. 

Are there moments during which you have respect or are maybe even a little frightened of the responsibilites that lie ahead of you? 
The awareness is certainly there - even though the thought isn't present in every moment. But I was never frightened of the role. More respect - in a positive way.

Have you never dreamed of escaping from the given path?
I think that I have never had this wish - even though I dreamt of being a big football (soccer) star when I was a child. Unfortunately that never worked out. (Laughs.) That the wish to take a different path never came up probably also has to do with the fact that I still have a few years left during which I can try out different things and concentrate on my career. My father took over from my grandfather a few years and not immediately after finishing university. 

Are there any visions you have for Liechtenstein's future or things you want to realise one day. Or things that are especially close to your heart?
Visions that I would now have for Liechtenstein's future would be either irrelevant and outdated or already implemented by the time I got to the throne. So I don't think about those at the moment.

To finish things off:  Your grandfather celebrates his 70th birthday on February 14. What's your personal wish for him on this special day?
I wish all blessing and health to my grandfather for hopefully many more years. That he will remain such a great grandfather as he is now.

And we're still not done yet. Up next is what the ladies of Prince Hans-Adam's life - namely Princess Marie, Princess Tatjana, Hereditary Prince Sophie and Princess Marie-Caroline - have to say about their husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather.

Three Generations: Interview with Hereditary Prince Alois

This is part two of an interview series conducted by Vaterlandmagazin to mark the 70th birthday of Prince Hans-Adam called "Three Generations". For a translation of the first part with the birthday boy himself, have a look here. This part features questions by Bettina Stahl-Frick and answers by Hereditary Prince Alois.

Your father celebrates his 70th birthday today. Serene Highness, what do you gift a Prince, your father, on such a special occasion?
The Prince enjoys to eat well. He thus likes if we give him some kind of delicacy.

So your father is a gourmet?
You could say so. Thus we will likely also have some good food on his birthday.

How can we imagine a princely birthday celebration?
A princely birthday celebration isn't really any different to a normal birthday celebration. The only difference in our family might come up when it comes to the singing. The singing talent in our family is very unincisive. Sometimes my mother tries to make us sing but it usually fades pretty quickly after only a few lines. (Laughs.)

Serene Highness, I would like to talk about the relationship between you and your father. Do you have a classical father-son-relationship?
Yes, we do. The only difference is, that we also have a 'regency relationship'.

What does this father-son-relationship look like?
The 'regency relationship' entails that as a regent you keep the person you are regent for in the loop about the decisions you make for them. So we don't only communicate about family matters but also political matters of state. However, it's not very different to a family business. There you would also keep your father informed.

So was your father-son-relationship influenced by your father's role as Fürst?
When I was a child, not at all. Only later another level of communication about state matters was added to our private relationship. However, I would add that this new communication has deepened my father's and my relationship. 

Serene Highness, since you were born, it was clear that you were the heir to the throne, that you would one day reign the country as The Prince. What role did this responsibility play in your childhood?
I can't really recall the moment I became aware that this special role was mine. At some point it just became clear that I was born into a role. I didn't have any influence on my daily life though. The only difference was that I became aware at a certain age that people did watch me more than others. As such, I simply did not join into all the silly things some of my school mates did. 

But even as an heir to the throne, you still go through puberty - weren't there even small things you went wild in?
I don't recall any.

Serene Highness, be honest, the limitation period is long over. Weren't there even small tricks you played on your teachers?
There probably were some but there likely weren't big things as I don't recall any specifics. Honestly. 

When you went to school, were you highly respectable class mate or rather an outsider due to your position?
I think neither one nor the other. Though it's probably best to ask my class mates to answer this question. 

Did your friends from school often ask you about your person or the role of the Princely House?
Not really, the questions were more about the usual things: homework, teachers, exams, ... basically everything that is important to you when going to school.

That sounds like a student like every other.
That's about it. And I'm very thankful for that. To be treated normal, that's what every student prefers.

From your childhood via your school years on to your university education: You studied law. Why did you decide to do so?
Law is a very broad subject that caught my attention rather early on. I also knew that studying law would help my in my later life - especially in my role today.

You studied at the university in Salzburg. Did you live in a shared flat?
No, I first lived with an aunt and then got my own place for myself. 

How did you experience your time as a student?
It was a wonderful time. As a student you have so much more free time, I used most of it to travel. Almost every weekend I travelled and spent somewhere else in Europe. 

When did your preparation for your role as Fürst start?
The preparation already started when I was still a teenager. From time to time, my parents and grandparents told me about their political experiences. So I was led there slowly but steadily from early on.

Were there special rules of behaviour you were taught during those years?
Of course there are certain rules how to behave. We were already taught those from our childhood on. 

For example?
There are table manners, which you teach all children. Or you learn that you should get up when a guests enters the room. Or how you properly thank someone. Just normal rules, we maybe just pay a little more attention to them. I never felt any different to other children or teenagers though. After all my siblings and cousins were taught those same rules. 

From how to behave back to your career. Could you have imagined a job in private enteprise for yourself?
Yes. After I finished university, I did work in private enterprise for a while, in the finance sector. 

You soon also immersed yourself in family life: On July 3, 1993, you married Duchess Sophie in Bavaria. How did you meet for the first time?
We first met at the birthday party of a mutual friend but it wasn't an instant spark. We met a few times after that and only then we started to fall in love.

Sophie is a Duchess, you are a Prince - what role do titles play in your relationship.

Together you have four children: Wenzel, Marie-Caroline, Georg and Nikolaus. What are the most important characteristics you would like to give to your children for their life?
I hope that they will all grow up to become decent people equipped with all the characteristics they need to find their place in life and to be happy. As a Christian, I hope that I can pass my beliefs to them. So that they can one day look back and say that they have also lived their lives in a good Christian way. 

How do you try to teach your children about your Catholic beliefs?
In two ways: My wife and I speak with them about it and try to live according to the principles ourselves, so that we act as an example.

You are now in the role your father was once in: You have to prepare your son, Prince Wenzel, for the role of Fürst. How do you do that?
On the one hand I advise him which studies, what work experiences would help him in his future life; on the other hand I talk about political questions with him to introduce him to those matters. I simply try to prepare him in the same way my grandfather prepared my father and my father me.

As a young adult now, has he ever had doubts about his future role?
No, I have never heard that he had such doubts.

Your youngest child is 14 years old. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are probably also a topic in a Princely Family. How do you handle those things as a father?
I talk to them about social media. Together we look at the positive aspects of them but I also try to warn them about the dangers. 

Do they understand these dangers or are they even allowed to have a Facebook account, for example?
There's no use to forbid it. Something that is forbidden instantly becomes more attractive. I think it's much more important to tell them about the dangers not only of social media but the internet in general.

Back to you as a Hereditary Prince. Ten years ago, you became your father's regent. What memories do you have of that day?
I don't have any very specific recollections of that day. It was a national day like any other in the last ten years since I became his regent. Maybe it had to do with the fact that the Fürst had already asked me to work with him in the constitutional question previously. As such, I was used to giving speeches and interviews to journalists. Consequently to do so wasn't a major change for me.

Concerning speeches - aren't you, even as the Hereditary Prince, nervous to speak in front of so many people?
Of course you have great respect, especially in the beginning. However, you get used to it.

You are not Fürst yet but already have all the responsibility of the job. Do you go to bed at night in a relaxed mood or are there days when you wish that you wouldn't have such a major responsibility?
I like having this responsibility and don't think of it as a burden. But of course there are days when things keep you occupied longer than you would maybe wish for and you would prefer a little more calm.

Once in 2002 you said that you would be disappointed if the people of Liechtenstein would not agree with the constitutional changes that were proposed and that the family would move back to Vienna to have more privacy. How would you have arranged your life to be, are there hidden dreams?
I don't have any hidden dreams. I would have probably spent time managing the princely estates and maybe even involve myself in charity work.

Much to the delight of the people of Liechtenstein, the Princely Family stayed. With what feelings do you look forward to the day that you become Fürst of Liechtenstein.
Most probably it will be when my father dies, so it will be a sad day. As I already do the work for more than ten years, not much of my daily life will change though.

Do you think it is enviable to be The Prince?
I think the task to be head of state is an interesting and varied one. It certainly never gets boring.

What kind of Fürst would you like to be for the people?
I hope that I will fulfill my task and make the right decision for the people, so that they can live happily in peace and liberty.

But before all of that comes, you will celebrate your father's birthday today with hopefully many more to come. Your birthday is coming up in June, what does a Hereditary Prince wish for his big day?
Like my father, I look forward to delicious food but apart from that, I don't have any major wishes. Yet, it's still a few months until then...

Coming up next: Prince Wenzel, the third generation, talks about his life thus far and what he aspires for the future. As a cherry on top, we will also hear what the ladies in Prince Hans-Adam's life have to say, so stay tuned!

Three Generations: Interview with Prince Hans-Adam II

Photo: Daniel Ospelt / Vaterlandmagazin /
Today, The Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count of Rietberg, Reigning Prince of the House of Liechtenstein turns 70. To mark the occasion, he, his oldest son, Hereditary Prince Alois, and Prince Wenzel, second in line to the throne, gave three lengthy interview published today in a supplement magazine to today's Vaterland. The following questions were asked by Janine Knöpfli. The translation into English by Luxarazzi.

Your Serene Highness, they say the older you get, the clearer the images of your childhood become. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the past?
I have always been a person who rather looks to the future. The past is the past, it only matters if it influences the future. For example, I have been interested in history and archaeology for a long time; the personal, not so much. Only if I could learn from it. I believe the first memory I have from my childhood is the birth of my sister, Princess Nora.

You are 70 years old now. Some people only really start their life at the age of 70, they start doing things they have always wanted to. How is it for you? Will you birthday change anything?
I never thought about that. I have always planned for my future. When do I have to hand over my duties? When is the best time? For example, when should I hand over the regency to my oldest son? Something new basically always comes from this thoughts.

Would you like to start with something new now?
Whenever I hand over some of my duties, I always have more time. For example, I had time to write my book. I also have more time to occupy myself with physics - something I would have liked to study at university. Since a few years, I have also involved myself in our asset management again together with my two younger sons. In addition, I keep myself busy with town planning.

That's a bit of an unusual pastime! How can we picture that?
There's a lot we can improve when it comes to town planning. Many years ago, towns were built to serve the people, these days they are build to serve cars. How can you combine the character of nice, old towns with a high quality of living with the demands of our time? I work together with a number of Dutch experts. We try to find out how to be able to compete economically when building something. Before we start to venture in this field of work, I want all questions answered.

Your book "The State in the Third Millenium" has been translated into numerous other languages. Are there plans for another book?
No, there are not. I wrote to book because I saw many years ago that globalisation will question the way our states work. Interestingly, the book drew a lot of interest. I'm often invited to give a presentation or participate in a discussion about it. Of course it's very time consuming but I think it's worth it. In a globalised world we, as a small state, can only live in freedom, peace and prosperity when the rest of the world lives in freedom, peace and prosperity.

So no other book? Maybe about your life?
No, no, that would be much too boring. (Laughs.)

You have probably answered thousands of interview questions in your life. However, you never seemed to be bored. You are friendly and insightful. When do you become impatient?
Of course there are certain questions that I won't answer. I would always also say so. There are simply topics I can't or don't want to give answers about.

When it came to the media, the Princely House drew a line very early on. Did keeping your distance prove to be successful?
Keeping our distance definetely proved successful. My parents already made sure to distance themselves from the media. I was shocked when Prince Charles and Princess Anne visited us for the skiing holidays. We were pretty much besieged by the world's media. Charles and Anne were smuggled out of Schloss Vaduz with a delivery van, so we could go skiing on our own for a few hours. We wanted our children to grow up as normal as possible and for them to go to local schools. So we deliberately cut personal information to a minimum; to see as few pictures of our children in the media as possible. If you are not known, you are not interesting to the press.

Have you never had problems with the yellow press?
If you reach a certain level of recognition, a lot of money is paid for images of you and it becomes profitable to hire a helicopter to take pictures of you. A photographer has time for weeks to take the 'right' picture. The problems we had with the yellow press only arose during the visits of Prince Charles. They tried to bribe our employees with monthly salaries.

So you can go to the pharmacy on your own these days?
Yes, it's quality of living if you can walk around without a bodyguard in tow. With my wife, I often go out to eat pizza or simply for a walk around Vaduz. Of course Liechtensteiners will recognise us but tourists mostly don't. Even when I leave the castle and there is a tourist standing in front of it, they usually never know who walks past them in trainers and windbreaker.

If you were a journalist yourself, what question would you ask for your 70th birthday?
There are a lot of questions that fascinated me about physics already when I was a teenager.

That's too bad, physics of all things. I can't ask you anything about that as I never had a clue about it.
My father spent his free time with further mathematics. I have always had this fascination with physics, that we have Einstein's physics on the one hand and quantum physics on the other. Both theories do not complement each other and are even contradictory. So the question arises if we can bring both theories together.

Which was your favourite subject in school?
I always liked history. Archaeology also interests me.

Have you ever dug yourself?
My first teacher David Beck awoke my interest in archaeology. He was its pioneer in Liechtenstein. He took us to excavation sites. That was fascinating to me. I saw that in many developing countries a lot was destroyed by the construction of streets and so on. So I established a Liechtenstein-Swiss foundation for archaeology abroad. The foundation works well. I visited a number of excavations myself.

Of dinosaurs as well?
We focus on human remains. When the remains of settlements are discovered while something else is build, we finance the excavation so that they are not lost. We try to sensitise the local population. The foundation is great promotion for Liechtenstein and the cooperation with the Swiss works well.

When you think back to your childhood, at what point did you realise that your life would not be like the life of your school mates?
Basically when I started school. We lived in the castle, did not speak dialect. As a result, my first friend was a German student, Uve Harder. My parents paid attention that we were not treated differently to the other students.

Have you ever gotten a Tatze (a punishment in school; being hit with a cane or strap on the hand)?
When I was in first grad, by David Beck.

How can we picture it, did your father ever sat down with you when you were a child and told you that one day you would become The Prince and what it would mean?
No, there was no such day. A lot of things, you simply catch while growing up. You see that there are receptions, talks with prime ministers, official visits and so on. So an explanation wasn't necessary. When I went to high school, my father asked me what I wanted to study. I said physics or archaeology and he said to me, "Hans-Adam, we cannot afford that. You need to study economics and law. Economics as you need to build up our families fortune again and law as I would like to hand over my duties as head of state while I'm still alive." I caught early on that something in our asset management must be wrong. The family often talked about selling yet another painting or land. You simply knew that things weren't good.

So everyone relied on you?
I had to build up our wealth again and so I studied law and economics in St. Gallen.

I think you liked it though, didn't you?
It was interesting as I could already start to immerse myself in finding ways to build up the family's fortune while still at university. I wrote by dissertation about the use of computers in banking.

In a time where there hardly were any computers.
My parents had contact with IBM Europe. My father had no insight in either our asset management or the bank. I had to change that. I knew that the bank thought about buying a new generation of IBM computers. Via IBM I then gained insight into our bank and could start to reorganise it. That was towards the end of my university studies.

How did you handle this responsibility and pressure?
I knew I had to solve the problems of our asset management. If our assets had collapsed, so would probably have the monarchy. I told my father, "Either we deal with it now and you give me the necessary authority over the bank or I go and work for IBM who had offered me a job. I have children now and I have to feed them. If all of this comes apart, we have to pack our bags and move back to Vienna." So I didn't have much to lose.

Did you ever wish to escape? Maybe as a teenager? Were you rebellious?
I was rebellious pretty much my whole life, already in elementary school. Otherwise I wouldn't have gotten the Tatze from David Beck, who I nevertheless admired greatly. The Tatze almost was like an honour for me: I am someone. As a boy, you are always a little rebellious. While in boarding school in Zuoz, I played ice hockey - not the most gentle of sports. I never was a virtuous student. I remember that the religious education class here in school in Liechtenstein was done in a very old-fashioned way. We had to memorise the old catechism. I thought the questions were stupid and the answers were stupid as well. So in front of the whole class I got up, tore apart the catechism and threw it out of the window. A few years later, a new catechism was introduced. So maybe I was always a bit ahead of my time.

But it had consequences.
Yes, back in those days it even went to the government. The Hereditary Prince tears up the catechism! I was kept in after school to write lines. It was a beautiful summer day, I was locked up on the third floor. I looked out of the window and discovered the rain gutter. So I climbed out of the window and down the gutter - I was anything but a virtuous student.

Pretty rebellious.
A little, yes.

So I guess you were also a rebellious teenager. Did you smoke?
Of course. Nielen.

What would your parents say about you as a teenager? They probably didn't know about the Nielen.
No. We were raised in an old-fashioned way. Governesses cared for us. I went to elementary school here and then for the first part of high school in Vienna. There we had a governess and a university student who should have cared for us...

(Laughs.) That's not the easiest thing when you live in the middle of the city in the Stadtpalais. Three boys full of energy [Hans-Adam and his brothers Philipp and Nikolaus] in a city full of life. And we were country boys. We played football in the Volksgarten park even though it was forbidden.

You had a pretty normal upbringing.
I am very thankful for my parents that they paid attention to it even though it was so different to their's. My father did not go to school but instead teachers came to his home.

Your Serene Highness, I planned to ask you what you would have become if not Fürst. But you basically already answered that. Either you would have launched rockets into the sky as a physicist, developped the first tablet computers at IBM, or studied archaeology.
Indeed. Natural sciences always fascinated me: physics, technology, ...

But would you have still met your wife, Countess Marie Kinsky, if you hadn't become Fürst?
Yes, the distant relation would have still been there. The aunt of my wife, Princess Lilly, was married to Prince Hans who lived here in Liechtenstein. Thus the Kinskys often came here during the holidays.

Was it an arranged marriage?
No, we were free to decide ourselves. We were here during the school holidays and my mother learned that a number of young people were staying at Prince Hans' house. She invited them to the castle, "Come and visit us, my children are bored and only have silly ideas." (Laughs.) They came for dinner. Marie Kinsky walked into the door. I saw her and said, "She will be my wife!" If you will, it was love at first sight.

You were only 15.
Yes, and Marie was five years older.

At that age, five years are a lot.
Yes, A LOT. But I was persistent. My future brother- and sister-in-laws called me Schnullerbaby (dummy baby). My parents and parents-in-law thought that I should first finish my education. Only in 1967 they had mercy.

But that was before you had finished your education...
In Liechtenstein it was basically more or less common knowledge that I was in a relationship. But the press didn't know anything. WBW was the only journalist who knew about it. He agreed to keep it a secret. The whole cover blew when Charles and Anne were here. WBW agreed to plant red herrings for the international media. My girlfriend and I took a walk through the forest around the castle and WBW didn't know anything about it. He took a group of journalist to show them the area around the castle and they saw us. WBW tried to distract them but it didn't work.

And what happened then?
WBW managed to convince the journalists to keep it a secret until an official announcement was made. That messed up the plans of my parents a little. You couldn't announce an engagement and then wait two years for a wedding. And so our wedding date was settled. We married in the summer of 1967, two years prior than planned - thanks to Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

What do you have great regard for in your wife?
After her parents had lost everything, her family lived very humbly. The parents had raised their children themselves. That was a different family life than I knew. But I liked it very much. I knew that Marie Kinsky wouldn't only be a good wife but also a good mother. It was clear to us that we would raise our children ourselves. I changed nappies and that was before the time of Pampers [meaning in the time of cloth nappies]. I gave them the bottle - I could have worked as a nanny. (Laughs.)

There were situations in your life as a head of state when you were greatly criticised. How do you handle criticism?
If there is a foundation for it, I think about what I should change. If there isn't any, I ignore it. It was clear to me, what I had to change: The asset management, the foreign policy, the constitution, the justice system, the legitimation of the monarchy - all of those were things I knew I had to reorganise. The house law, which dated from the 17th century, as well. Again and again, reigning princes, including my father, had tried to change it but were stopped by vetoes. Every male family member of age used to have a veto right. Together with my brothers and a number of other family members who were in favour of reform, I came up with a new house law. It was up to the other family members to decide whether they wanted to join the new family organisation or not. In the end, all of them did join, even though some weren't really in favour of the changes.

You like to be a little provocative, don't you?
Yes, like a torero and the red cape. (Laughs.)

You also like when the people of Liechtenstein don't say 'yes' to everything. Something happens then. From physics we know that friction creates warmth.
(Laughs.) Exactly. If I hadn't created conflict, a lot of things wouldn't have changed.

What do you think about the Demokratiebewegung (literally democracy movement, a political group in Liechtenstein)?
Especially for other countries the Demokratiebewegung is a sign that we have freedom of speech. Many abroad say that this isn't the case in Liechtenstein. Of course you can criticise the monarchy in Liechtenstein. With a simple majority the monarchy can be abolished in Liechtenstein at any time. It shows that different ideas can always be implemented.

You are often parodied, for example in the Schlösslekeller. Can you laugh about yourself?
(Laughs.) Yes, of course. It's part of being a head of state to be caricatured.

You are not only a father but also a grandfather. What relationship do you have with your grandchildren? Do you see them often?
I have the great luck to see my grandchildren often and that we have a good relationship.

What advice do you give them?
I do not meddle in their upbringing. My children and children-in-law do great jobs. The contact with the children of the Hereditary Prince is a little closer for the simple reason that they also live in the castle. Due to his future role, the contact to Prince Wenzel will always be closer. I assume that one day he will take over the job. I can tell him about my experiences to take with him on his path. For me it was important to hear what my father and grandfather had experienced. Studying economics and law was the right thing. My father studied forestry, that was important in his day as the family still lived outside of Liechtenstein and did not play a major role here. The role of the monarchy depends if you are able to and how you finance it.

What would be the best birthday gift?
The education vouchers. [They are favoured by the Prince and Hereditary Prince but remain a long discussed topic in Liechtenstein politics.]

Stay tuned as interviews with Hereditary Prince Alois, who talks about the singing abilities of his family, and Prince Wenzel, who reveals what he has been up to since finishing school last year, are still to come! If those still aren't enough interviews for you, there are another two that Prince Hans-Adam gave to Vaterland alone to mark his birthday, here and here. Yet another interview can be found at 1 FL TV (and as I haven't watchted it yet, I can't tell you what it is about.)

Interview with Hereditary Prince Alois
Interview with Prince Wenzel
...and What the Ladies Have to Say