Sunday, July 30, 2017

Princely Couple Gives Interview to Mark Golden Wedding Anniversary

Photo: Michael Zanghellini / Liechtensteiner Volksblatt /
Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary today. The couple is spending the day with their family at their holiday home in Styria with no big celebrations planned. To mark the occasion, the couple also gave interviews to Liechtenstein's major newspapers, Volksblatt and Vaterland. In the interviews, the couple talked about falling in love, their wedding and honeymoon as well as flying under the radar of the international media. Below are translated excerpts from the interview with Volksblatt.

You have been married for half a century now. But truth be told, you weren't immediately smitten by Hereditary Prince Hans-Adam, Your Serene Highness. He was very young when you first met, wasn't he?
Princess Marie: That's true. Our fathers went to the same school in Vienna and regarded each other very highly. My aunt was married to Prince Hans and lived in Vaduz. During the holidays, we visited our aunt. Princess Gina knew about it and invited us to the Schloss as her children were bored. Hans-Adam saw me and immediately fell in love.
Prince Hans-Adam: Yes, I was 16 years old at the time. I knew right away: I want to marry her. But I needed a while to convince her. There were several others who were interested in her. I was very young and still went to school in Switzerland, so I was much too young to marry.

How did you keep in contact?
Princess Marie: I lived in Munich at the time. We wrote a lot of letters to each others, speaking on the telephone was very expensive back then. I still have all the letters.

How did he finally sweep you off your feet, with expensive gifts?
Prince Hans-Adam: No, I couldn't have afforded that! (laughs)
Princess Marie: His intelligence, his natural happiness and his humour all played a role.

After you finished school, you were still too young. You first had to study economics...
Prince Hans-Adam: Yes, that was the way it was. My parents told me that I first had to finish an economics degree.
Princess Marie: Yes, not only your parents. Then Prime Minister Alexander Frick also wanted you to study economics to save the monarchy.


When you were married, you were only 22 - today many people marry much later. Your oldest grandson is now at the same age, would you recommend him to marry so young?
Prince Hans-Adam: Yes, if he has found the right one.


The search for the right wedding dress probably wasn't an easy one either.
Prince Hans-Adam: Yes, you thought that the dress could only be made in Paris and then travelled there with my mother.
Princess Marie: Yes, we went to famous couturier Jacques Heim. It was very time consuming to go back and forth a couple of times, but it turned out to be a beautiful dress.

Do you still have it?
Princess Marie: Yes, I do.


One question you didn't answer back then [during the press interviews] was where you would go on your honeymoon. You only told later that you went to Mexico.
Princess Marie: Yes, we first went to Paris and then to Mexico. It was simply wonderful.
Prince Hans-Adam: We were in Paris as Mister Ritz had invited us to come stay in his hotel. He knew my parents and it was his wedding gift. That was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up. He thought it was a great PR for him and so it became known pretty quickly. After a few days, we went to Mexico. We were able to have a quiet and relaxed time there. It was probably too far away for people to recognise us. 
Princess Marie: We liked Mexico very much. We rented a car and went from Mexico City to Manzanillo and took a lot of detours. We knew someone who had a hotel in Manzanillo on the Pacific Ocean. 


Is there a reason why you try to avoid the press?
Princess Marie: You know, it's pretty invaluable that we are able to move around freely. In other monarchies, that is different. It's very burdensome for people if they are constantly followed around.
Prince Hans-Adam: Yes, we had an experience with the British royal family. My parents were friends with the British royal couple. Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, often came here to Liechtenstein on his own and liked the peace and quiet. He took my mother's car, just drove around and painted in the nature. He speaks German very well and was always very amused when he was asked by the mountain farmers in Triesenberg "What are you painting there?" (in local dialect using the informal "Du" instead of the normal "Sie" for people you do not know in German) without knowing who he is. Prince Philip thought that his children would be able to ski here without much attention. Then he came with Princess Anne and Prince Charles. However, there was a leak at Buckingham Palace and the press knew they were coming. There soon was speculation that I was to marry Princess Anne and that my sister Nora and Prince Charles were to to wed. When they were here, we were basically flooded by journalists. We saw what a hype it was and what it would mean. The press people even rented helicopters to take good pictures and tried to bribe our staff. We had to leave the Schloss in the back of a delivery van of a local bakery. That was pretty adventurous and not in a good way. We learned from it and decided to keep our value to the market low. Since then we try to be photographed as less as possible. It helps our children and grandchildren who are, like my wife said, able to move around freely. In contributes to our quality of life. 


How do you experience it whenever you are out and about in Liechtenstein? You surely are being recognised here.
Princess Marie: Yes, it's very good for us here. The people have a very good intuition: I find them to be very respectful. The people smile and greet us, but they don't come up to us and take pictures when we are eating pizza somewhere.
Prince Hans-Adam: We have a very normal contact with the people. That was already the case for my parents. It's one of the advantages of a small country.


Were you equally adamant as a father [as you were in political matters]?
Prince Hans-Adam: From an early age on, I tried to raise my children to think independently. I also discussed political matters with the from early on and asked them what they would do in my place. Alois knew that he would take over the state affairs one day. Maximilian has always enjoyed working with numbers, even when he was a boy he had an interest in economics and finance. Therefore I always hoped that he would one day take over LGT. Constantin always loved nature, already as a young boy. He got his shooting license early on and was interested in forestry and agriculture. That's the reason he is now responsible for that part of our properties, the estates and forests in Austria as well as the rice business. With the rice and seed business we are active in North and South America as well as India now.
Princess Marie: I think our children always knew what he wanted from them. On the other hand, he was always a very humorous father, we laugh a lot together in our family. He couldn't have been a better father. But children should know that you have to learn and work to have it easier later in life. We also see it in our grandchildren that it has been passed on.

You have no less than 15 grandchildren!
Princess Marie: Yes, Tatjana has the most - she has seven children. (laughs)

Are you a normal Nana and Neni (grandmother and grandfather) who well and truly indulge their grandchildren?
Princess Marie: Well, we try not to indulge them too much. That would be wrong. But of course we are affectionate and love them very much and like to spend time with them. That's only natural.

Do you see them often?
Princess Marie: Well, the children of the Hereditary Prince, who live here, are already a bit older and study abroad. So we don't see each other that often anymore. The whole family really is together once a year for Easter. Everyone is coming to the Schloss for the weekend.
Prince Hans-Adam: In addition, we regularly spend our summer holidays together on our estate in Styria. That is also where we are going to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Will there be a major celebration?
Princess Marie: No, no ball or something along those lines. Our house would be too small for that. It will be just wonderful to all be there and spend time together.
Prince Hans-Adam: We will also have a mass with a priest who is a friend of ours. Then we will have a luncheon together. So there won't be a spectacular celebrations like for our wedding. (laughs)

P.S. This is an unofficial translation of the interview done by us. To learn more about the wedding of Prince Hans-Adam and Princess Marie, have a look here. We also have a two part biography of Princess Marie which also includes bits and bops of their courtship, to be found here and here.

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