Sunday, March 1, 2015

Luxarazzi 101: House of Kinsky

About time we added a new topic to the Luxarazzi 101 mix methinks and indeed we are going to do so with the dear relatives of the Grand Ducal and Princely Families. First up is the House of Kinsky that provided the Princely Family of Liechtenstein with not one but two Fürstins (or Fürstinnen for all you German-speaking people out there.) Plus, there were also two Liechtenstein princesses who married into the Kinsky family. So as you can see, the relations are numerous.

Legend has it that the story of the Kinsky family started more than 1000 years ago when a beautiful King's daughter went out hunting in the forest where she was attacked by a pack of wolves. Everyone but a young man fled the scene and left the beautiful princess to herself. That young man, however, killed off some of the wolves and fought off the rest and thus saved the princess. For his heroic actions, the young man was enobled by the princess' father and given a coat of arms featuring three wolves' teeth. (Though some other sources actually claim that the teeth on the coat of arms are bear teeth.)

In all reality, the Kinsky family's history can be traced back to around the year 1150 while they were firstly mentioned on May 16, 1237. The family's original name was Wchynsky after the village of Vchynice (or Wchinitz) in northern Bohemia. It later evolved via Chynsky to Kinsky, the latter one used since at least 1628.

In 1596, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II confirmed the noble rank of the family and united the names Wchynitz and Tettau names in a so-called Letter of Majesty. In the same letter, the family is elevated from the rank of a knight to the rank of barons. Radslav Wchynsky, called "the Rich", was one of the ten richest and most influential men in the country at the time. It was due to his efforts that his family was ennobled by Emperor Rudolph II, who was in need of his support.

The rise of the family to great prominence began in the turbulent era of religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants which finally led Bohemia and Europe into the Thirty Years' War. Some of Radslav’s nephews took an active part in the war: While Wenzel was a Catholic and councillor and chamberlain of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias, his brother Wilhelm (Vilém) was a Protestant and friend and in-law of Wallenstein. While he did take part in the Protestant revolt against Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, which culminated in the 1618 Defenestration of Prague, his friendship with Wallenstein saved him from the expropriation faced by other Protestant nobles. In 1628, he was even raised to the rank of a Count though murdered six years later alongside Wallenstein had Cheb Castle. He was the first one to take the name Kinsky. A third brother, Ulrich, also took part on the Defenestration of Prague but already died before the Battle of White Mountain.

Wenzel's son Johann Oktavian entered the services of the Austrian crown just like his Catholic father had done. (Another family whose star began to rise around this time was in fact the Liechtensteins.) In 1676, the Emperor Leopold I confirmed the countly status given to his uncle of Johann Oktavian and his descendants. In the following decades, many Kinskys served the Habsburg rulers in the diplomatic and military services. One branch of the family was even elevated to the status of Princes of the Holy Roman Empire by Empress Maria Theresa in 1747. The members of the Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau family continued to occupy high military and diplomatic posts until the end of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918.

After the end of the Second World War, estates of the princely (Choceň) branch of the family were confiscated under the Beneš decrees, as the late Prince Ulrich (1893–1938) was reproached with his declared German nationality and active collaboration with the Sudeten German Party. Estates of the other branches of the Kinsky family, Kostelec and Chlumec, which had been confiscated by the Nazis during the German occupation, were returned after 1945, but then confiscated again, this time by the ruling Communist Party in 1948. After the fall of Communism, several possessions were restored to the latter two branches of the family.

And now onto the Kinsky-Liechtenstein relations: The first Kinsky to marry into the Princely Family was Countess Franziska Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau, who married Prince Alois II in 1831. Today's Princess of Liechtenstein, Marie, is also a born Countess Kinsky. The other way around, there were Princess Maria Josepha of Liechtenstein (1835-1905) who married Prince Ferdinand Bonaventura Kinsky (1834-1905) as well as Princess Maria Christina of Liechtenstein (1741-1819) who was married to Count Franz Ferdinand Kinsky (1738-1806). And if that still isn't enough for you, the maternal grandmother of Prince Hans-Adam II was also a born Kinsky.

No comments:

Post a Comment