Friday, April 3, 2015

Interview with Hereditary Princess Sophie

Today, while researching for another post about her husband's paternal grandmother, I stumbled across an interview by Hereditary Princess Sophie. As we have so many interviews with her husband and even her son on the blog, I thought it would be nice to also add a translation of one with the Hereditary Princess. It was published in August last year ahead of national day in Lie Zeit.

Photo: Lie Zeit
Your royal highness, by giving the starting signal for the LGT marathon back in June, you sent a great number of runners on the track between from Bendern to Malbun. Where would have you ended up in the ranking if you had joined them?
I think, if at all, I would have arrived hours later, even after the broom waggon. I admire the runners of the LGT marathon a lot. Their accomplishment is colossal. For me, running in flat country is already a struggle, not to talk about going up hills.

Do you have time in your family to do sports? In what kind of sport are you a force to be reckoned with?
I don't do any specific sports. I like running and walking in the mountains. I used to play golf but stopped as I didn't have enough time anymore. In winter, I like to go alpine and cross country skiing with my family.

Are you more of a summer or a winter person?
Neither. I like the change between the seasons! I don't have a preference for any of them. Each season has its own charms and beauties, and I like the variety.

You have been living in Liechtenstein for 21 years now. Do you get homesick for your Bavarian native every now and then? Do you still have other relations to Bavaria then your family and do you find the time to foster them?
Of course I maintain close contact with my family. I visit them regularly. Contacts to friends from a school and teenage years are rare. Unfortunately this is the way things tend to go when you don't live close to each other anymore.

Do you occasionally have Weißwürste and Bretz'n [veal sausages and pretzels, about the most Bavarian things you can eat] at Schloss Vaduz to shed homesickness? Or have Käsknöpfle and Rebel [cheese noodles and something made out of corn, milk, water and salt; again, about the most Liechtenstein things you can eat] become your favourite food?
We do have Weißwürste and Bretz'n every now and then, not to shed homesickness though but because we simply like it. We also really like Käsknöpfle and eat them regularly.

Is the Hereditary Princess a good cook and what is your favourite thing to eat?
Unfortunately, I cook rather rarely myself. Mostly on the weekends and during the holidays. I like to cook all kinds of pasta. There are only very few things I don't like to eat.

Slowly but steadily all of your children reach the age, when they will leave their parental home one after the other. What will be your focus areas once your children have left home? Have you already thought about this?
I don't have a big plan. I don't believe that the amount of time that goes into my family will become less. The tasks simply change. A few years ago, it was changing nappies and feeding, now it's different things my family needs me to do. Organising the household, my foundation and my upcoming work for the Red Cross will, in addition to all the other functions and events, keep me busy.

You already said it: In 2015, you will take over from HSH Princess Marie the Presidency of the Red Cross. How do you prepare for this role?
Right now I am reading a lot. Starting in autumn, I will also be on hand to learn more on site. When worse comes to worse, I will also have a mother-in-law close by, who will help me with words and deeds.

One of your additional tasks is the Sophie von Liechtenstein Stiftung for woman and child, which you founded in 2006. Has the foundation developed like you wanted it to?
I'm very happy with the development of my foundation. My expectations were actually surpassed. The main aim of the foundation is to help women and couples who find themselves in sudden distress. During the past year we helped around 600 women and couples in different ways. The number has increased steadily over the past few years. In addition, there are sex educational offers for schools, which have also received positive feedback. During the last year, we visited schools 180 times. This shows that there is a need for the foundation's work and that it is used, which makes me happy.

Do you have more of an overviewing function in the foundation or do you also work operational?
No, I don't have the professional training for that. We have highly educated employees who fulfill this function. Whenever there are questions about the foundation and its development, I'm on hand and decide together with the foundation council. 

What do you think about the ongoing discussion about abortion that has been going on in the country for years? Are you satisfied with the solution that the government has come up with?
Of course I have followed the discussion for years. We made the deliberate decision not to involve the foundation in the discussion and intend not to change this in the future. We focus on the individual woman who finds herself in a difficult situation or distress. We want to help her.

Is a part of your daily routine to inform yourself about the current events in Liechtenstein's media?
Of course I read both newspapers and also occasionally listen to Radio Liechtenstein. It's very important to me to keep myself informed about what goes on in the country.

Your children went to Ebenholz primary school in Vaduz. Were you also involved in the parents association like Princess Marie many years ago?
Yes, I was involved in the parents association for nine years and really enjoyed it. Many friendships with other mothers developed from it, I value that very much. These contacts still exist today and we meet up regularly. I enjoy that.

It is known that you are interested in interior design. Is it possible that you will spend more time with this hobby again in the future? Have you changed the interior of Schloss Vaduz when you moved here?
Home decoration is fun to me. To do it professionally, I lack both the talent and the time though. To concern myself with interior design has always been a hobby of mine. Naturally I decorated our private rooms but I didn't change any other parts of the castle. The castle's decoration is very classical and timeless. I hope that it will stay timeless for long time so that we don't need to make any major changes for many years to come.

What other hobbies do you have?
I like to read. Starting with newspapers, over literature, crime novels, political books and biographies to historical books. At the moment I read the books of the historical commission [more about them here] one by one, for example.

When you are abroad with your family, can you move around freely or are you disturbed by journalists or passersby?
Luckily, we can move around freely however we like.

On August 15, Liechtenstein celebrates its national day. What does the day mean to you?
I enjoy August 15 each year. August 15 also always is the end of the summer holidays, that makes the day even more special. Many people are back from their vacation and life starts to go its regular ways again. Somehow this day also is the starting signal for the second half of the year.

How would you explain Liechtenstein to a foreigner, who visits the country, in a few words?
Not many words are needed. Who keeps their eyes open and sees the beautiful mountain landscape and nature can already guess how lovely our place is. The littleness and short distances distinguish our country from those of the visitors. It's simply beautiful and has an enormous quality of living.

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