Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Luxarazzi 101: Prince Karl Alfred of Liechtenstein

We asked, you answered, we listened. Let's have a look at the life of one of the lesser known historical members of the Princely Family: Prince Karl Alfred, younger brother of Prince Franz Josef II and thus uncle of Prince Hans-Adam II. Karl Alfred Maria Johannes Baptista Heinrich Aloys Georg Hartmann Ignatius Benediktus Franz Joseph Rochus, as was his full name, was born on August 16, 1910, as the third child of Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and his wife née Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria.

Photo: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
He was born at Schloss Frauenthal in Styria when Austria was still a monarchy. Prince Karl Alfred spent much of his childhood and youth at his father's estate Gross Ullersdorf in Moravia, today known as Velké Losiny. Attending local schools, he received his Matura higher school certificate in 1928 at Mährisch Schönberg (Šumperk). Afterwards, he moved to Vienna where the prince attended the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences graduating with a Diplom-Ingenieur diploma, comparable to the Master of Engineering, in forestry.

While his elder brother Franz Josef turned his focus on Liechtenstein, Karl Alfred returned to their father's estate in Gross Ullersdorf, managing it between 1935 and 1946, when it was lost. Karl Alfred was also responsible for the princely forestries, sawmills and commercial operations in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Austria.

On February 17, 1949, Prince Karl Alfred married Archduchess Agnes of Austria, daughter of Archduke Hubert Salvator of the Tuscan branch of the Habsburg family and his wife Princess Rosemary of Salm-Salm, at the bride's home, Schloss Persenbeug. 18 years his junior, she was the great-granddaughter of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. The couple had seven children: Dominik, Andreas, Gregor, Alexandra, Maria-Pia, Katharina and Birgitta. Their daughter Princess Maria-Pia is occasionally featured on this blog as she serves as Liechtenstein's ambassador to Austria and the Czech Republic.

Photo: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
Between 1946 and 1971, Prince Karl Alfred was responsible for the redevelopment of the princely forestries in Austria after the Second World War. During the 1970's, Prince Hans-Adam II took over the management. Karl Alfred played a major role in the development of the Sparbach nature park as well as a chipboard enterprise in Kalwang. Already in 1946, he had founded a wood and veneer trading company together with his brothers, which he became the sole owner of in 1969. That same year, his oldest son Dominik became the manager of the company.

As the younger brother of the Fürst, Prince Karl Alfred also played a political role. He represented Liechtenstein's interests against Czechoslovak and Soviet authorities as well as during negotiations about a double taxation agreement between the Principality and the Republic of Austria. He also was a member of different boards of director for various companies including the Bank in Liechtenstein, Presta and Finanzkontor Etablissement.

Prince Karl Alfred, who held the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria as well as the Grand Cross With Diamonds of the Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein, died on November 17, 1985 at Hainburg, Lower Austria. He was laid to rest at the cemetery of the Kahlenbergerdorf parish church on the outskirts of Vienna. He was outlived by his wife Agnes for 22 years.

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