House of Liechtenstein

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House of Liechtenstein
Banner of the House of Liechtenstein
CountryPrincipality of Liechtenstein
Place of originLiechtenstein Castle
Founded1608 (as a princely house)
FounderKarl I (first prince)
Current headHans-Adam II
TitlesPrince of Liechtenstein
Duke of Troppau
Duke of Jägerndorf
Count of Rietberg
Style(s)Serene Highness

The House of Liechtenstein, from which the principality takes its name, is the family which reigns by hereditary right over the principality of Liechtenstein. Only dynastic members of the family are eligible to inherit the throne. The dynasty's membership, rights and responsibilities are defined by a law of the family, which is enforced by the reigning prince and may be altered by vote among the family's dynasts, but which may not be altered by the Government or Parliament of Liechtenstein.[1]


The family originates from Liechtenstein Castle in Lower Austria (near Vienna), which the family possessed from at least 1136 to the 13th century, and from 1807 onwards.

The progenitor Hugo von Liechtenstein (d. 1156) built Liechtenstein Castle around 1122-36 on a fief that he received from the Babenberg margraves of Austria. He also received Petronell on the Danube and Rohrau Castle, near the then border with the Kingdom of Hungary, at first as a fief, from 1142 as a free property (allod).

Heinrich I (d. 1265), lord of Liechtenstein and Petronell, was given the lordship of Nikolsburg in southern Moravia as free property from Ottokar II of Bohemia, whom he supported politically, in 1249. It remained one of the most important seats until it was sold in 1560. In 1394, John I of Liechtenstein, lord of Nikolsburg (d. 1397), acquired the Feldsberg estate (then Lower Austria, today Valtice, Czech Republic). When he fell out of favor with Albert III, Duke of Austria, for whom he had long conducted government business, he lost his lands south of the Danube, but could keep Nikolsburg because Bohemia and Moravia did not come to the Habsburgs until 1526.

Through the centuries, the dynasty acquired vast swathes of land, predominantly in Moravia, Lower Austria, Silesia and Styria, though in all cases, these territories were parts of countries that were ruled by other dynasties, particularly the House of Habsburg, to whom several Liechtenstein princes served as close advisers.

At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, the three brothers Karl, Maximilian and Gundakar initiated a new period in the family history. They reconverted from Protestantism to Catholicism and supported the Habsburg Emperors in crushing the Bohemian Revolt. Maximilian, as Field Marshal, won the Battle of White Mountain for Emperor Ferdinand II. On diplomatic missions, Gundaker prepared the Catholic League, which fought for the Habsburgs in the Thirty Years' War. Karl restored order as Viceroy of Bohemia and oversaw the arrests and executions of the 27 leaders of the uprising. For this they were all three made princes. In addition, they were able to cheaply acquire huge lands from expelled and dispossessed Protestant nobles in Bohemia and Moravia, especially since Karl himself, as the Emperor's representative, carried out these confiscations. He also received the Duchy of Troppau and the Duchy of Krnov (Jägerndorf) in Silesia from the Emperor. The respective Fürst still holds these two ducal titles to this day.

The Moravian and Bohemian possessions acquired at the time included: Bučovice, Moravská Třebová, Moravský Krumlov, Uherský Ostroh (with Kunovice and Hluk), Šternberk and a palace in Prague (on Malostranské náměstí). In 1802 Velké Losiny was added. Most of these estates remained in the possession of the princely house until Czechoslovakia expropriated them in 1945. In 1622, Maximilian founded a monastery in Vranov, in whose family crypt almost all Liechtenstein princes were buried, until a new crypt was built in Vaduz in 1960.

Without any territory held directly under the Imperial throne, the Liechtenstein dynasty was unable to meet a primary requirement to qualify for a seat in the Imperial Diet (Reichstag). A seat would add power, and would be afforded by lands which would be immediate, or held without any feudal personage other than the Holy Roman Emperor himself having rights on the land. The head of the family was able to arrange the purchase from the Hohenems family of the minuscule Lordship of Schellenberg in 1699, and the County of Vaduz in 1712. Schellenberg and Vaduz indeed had no feudal lord other than their comital sovereign and the suzerain Emperor.

On 23 January 1719, after the purchase had been made, Charles VI as Holy Roman Emperor decreed Vaduz and Schellenberg to be united and raised to the dignity of a Principality by the name of "Liechtenstein", in honour of "[his] true servant, Anton Florian of Liechtenstein". On this date, Liechtenstein became a member state of the Holy Roman Empire. The Princes of Liechtenstein did not set foot in their new principality for several decades, a testament to the pure political expediency of the purchases. Since the distant little country consisted only of small farming villages, the administration was installed in the nearest town, Feldkirch in Austria, where the prince had an office building built for this purpose. Vaduz Castle, the center of the medieval county of that name, remained unused and was rented out as a restaurant for hikers until the late 19th century.

With the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Principality of Liechtenstein became sovereign and was recognized in this status by the Congress of Vienna in 1814/1815. Johann I became the first sovereign ruler. He acquired a number of castles and estates in Austria for his numerous sons, which are still mostly inhabited by their descendants today. The reigning princes continued to live in their magnificent Vienna residences, Liechtenstein City Palace and Liechtenstein Garden Palace, and on their Moravian and Bohemian estates, with Lednice and Valtice (German names: Eisgrub and Feldsberg) as their main residence. The border between Austria and Bohemia-Moravia, both member states of the Austro-Hungarian Empire under the Habsburg rule, ran through the park between the two castles. The local administration of the Principality of Liechtenstein was overseen by a governor, and the government office was located at the prince's seat.

It was not until the Occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945) by Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II that the residence was moved from Valtice to Vaduz. The prince had opposed the annexation of Czech territory, including Valtice and Lednice, into Sudetenland, and as a consequence his properties were confiscated by the Nazis, and the family then relocated to Vaduz in 1939. Austria had also been annexed by Germany through the Anschluss in 1938.

After the Second World War, not only were the family's Czechoslovak properties expropriated, but in Allied-occupied Austria most of their properties were also located in the Soviet occupation zone and were therefore inaccessible until the end of the occupation in 1955. Due to the expropriations in Czechoslovakia as a result of the Beneš decrees in 1945, the family lost a large part of their land holdings, with about 1,200 square kilometers (463 square miles), 7.5 times the total area of the Principality itself.[2] It was only able to restore its prosperity, including the upkeep of numerous castles in Austria and of the world-famous art collections, in the last quarter of the 20th century by expanding its small Liechtenstein bank into the internationally operating financial company LGT Group.

According to the Constitution of the Princely House of Liechtenstein of 26 October 1993, all members other than the reigning prince shall bear the titles of Prince or Princess of Liechtenstein and Count or Countess of Rietberg.

21st-century princely family (closest members)[edit]

Styles of
Princes(ses) of Liechtenstein
Reference styleHis/Her Serene Highness
Spoken styleYour Serene Highness
Ducal hat of Liechtenstein
Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein (born 1945), current head of the house and sovereign ruler of the principality
  • The Prince (the monarch)
    • The Hereditary Prince and Hereditary Princess (the Prince's son and daughter-in-law)
      • Prince Joseph Wenzel (the Prince's grandson)
      • Princess Marie Caroline (the Prince's granddaughter)
      • Prince Georg (the Prince's grandson)
      • Prince Nikolaus (the Prince's grandson)
    • Prince Maximilian and Princess Angela (the Prince's son and daughter-in-law)
      • Prince Alfons (the Prince's grandson)
    • Prince Constantin and Princess Marie (the Prince's son and daughter-in-law)
      • Prince Moritz (the Prince's grandson)
      • Princess Georgina (the Prince's granddaughter)
      • Prince Benedikt (the Prince's grandson)
    • Princess Tatjana and Baron Philipp von Lattorff (the Prince's daughter and son-in-law)
      • Baron Lukas von Lattorff (the Prince's grandson)
      • Elisabeth von Latorff (the Prince's granddaughter)
      • Marie von Latorff (the Prince's granddaughter)
      • Camilla von Latorff (the Prince's granddaughter)
      • Anna von Latorff (the Prince's granddaughter)
      • Sophie von Latorff (the Prince's granddaughter)
      • Maximilian von Lattorff (the Prince's grandson)
  • Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle (the Prince's brother and sister-in-law)
    • Prince Alexander and Princess Astrid (the Prince's nephew and niece-in-law)
      • Princess Theodora (the Prince's great-niece)
    • Prince Wenzeslaus (the Prince's nephew)
    • Prince Rudolf and Princess Tılsım (the Prince's nephew and niece-in-law)
      • Princess Laetitia (the Prince's great-niece)
      • Prince Karl Ludwig (the Prince's great-nephew)
  • Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha (the Prince's brother and sister-in-law)
    • Princess Maria-Anunciata and Emanuele Musini (the Prince's niece and nephew-in-law)
    • Princess Marie-Astrid and Raphael Worthington (the Prince's niece and nephew-in-law)
      • Althaea Worthington (the Prince's great-niece).
    • Prince Josef-Emanuel and Princess Maria Claudia (the Prince's nephew and niece-in-law)
      • Prince Leopold (the Prince's great-nephew)
  • The Dowager Marchioness of Mariño (the Prince's sister)
    • María Teresa Sartorius y Liechtenstein (the Prince's niece)

Tree list[edit]

Below are all male and male-line dynastic descendants of Johann I Joseph, Prince of Liechtenstein. The numbers represent the positions in the line of succession.

  • Prince Johann I Josef (1760–1836)
    • Prince Alois II (1796–1858)
    • Prince Franz de Paula (1802–1887)
      • Prince Alfred (1842–1907)
        • Prince Franz de Paula (1868–1929)
        • Prince Alois (1869–1955)
        • Prince Johannes (1873–1959)
          • Prince Alfred (1907–1991)
            • (22) Prince Franz (b. 1935)
              • (23) Prince Alfred (b. 1972)
                • (24) Prince Franz (b. 2009)
              • (25) Prince Lukas (b. 1974)
            • Prince Friedrich (1937–2010)
              • (26) Prince Emanuel (b. 1978)
                • (27) Prince Leopold (b. 2010)
                • (28) Prince Heinrich (b. 2012)
              • (29) Prince Ulrich (b. 1983)
            • (30) Prince Anton (b. 1940)
              • (31) Prince Georg (b. 1977)
          • Prince Emanuel (1908–1987)
          • Prince Johannes (1910–1975)
            • (32) Prince Eugen (b. 1939)
              • (33) Prince Johannes (b. 1969)
            • Prince Albrecht (b. 1940) (took the title of Baron von Lanškroun)
          • Prince Constantin (1911–2001)
        • Prince Alfred Roman (1875–1930)
          • Prince Hans-Moritz (1914–2004)
            • (34) Prince Gundakar (b. 1949)
              • (35) Prince Johann (b. 1993)
              • (36) Prince Gabriel (b. 1998)
            • (37) Prince Alfred (b. 1951)
            • (38) Prince Karl (b. 1955)
            • (39) Prince Hugo (b. 1964)
          • Prince Heinrich (1916–1991)
            • Prince Vincenz (1950–2008)
            • (40) Prince Michael (b. 1951)
            • (41) Prince Christof (b. 1956)
            • (42) Prince Karl (b. 1957)
        • Prince Heinrich (1877–1915)
        • Prince Karl Aloys (1878–1955)
          • Prince Wilhelm (1922–2006) (took the title of Graf von Hohenau)
          • (43) Prince Wolfgang (b. 1934)
            • (44) Prince Leopold (b. 1978)
              • (45) Prince Lorenz (b. 2012)
        • Prince Georg (Pater Ildefons, O.S.B.) (1880–1931)
      • Prince Aloys (1846–1920)
      • Prince Heinrich (1853–1914)
    • Prince Karl Johann (1803–1871)
      • Prince Rudolf (1833–1888)
      • Prince Philipp (1837–1901)
        • Prince Karl (1862–1893)
        • Prince Joseph (1863)
    • Prince Friedrich (1807–1885)
    • Prince Eduard Franz (1809–1864)
      • Prince Aloys (1840–1885)
        • Prince Friedrich (1871–1959)
          • Prince Aloys (1898–1943)
            • Prince Luitpold (1940–2016)
              • Prince Friedrich (1970)
              • (46) Prince Carl (b. 1978)
          • Prince Alfred (1900–1972)
            • Prince Alexander (1929–2012)
              • (47) Prince Christian (b. 1961)
                • (48) Prince Augustinus (b. 1992)
                • (49) Prince Johannes (b. 1995)
              • (50) Prince Stefan (b. 1961)
                • (51) Prince Lukas (b. 1990)
                • (52) Prince Konrad (b. 1992)
              • (53) Prince Emanuel (b. 1964)
                • (54) Prince Josef (b. 1998)
            • Prince Franz de Paula (1935–1987)
          • Prince Alexander (1901–1926)
        • Prince Eduard (1872–1951)
    • Prince August (1810–1824)
    • Prince Rudolf (1816–1848)

Palaces and residences[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Princely House of Liechtenstein. House Laws Archived 2012-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Fürst kämpft um Schlösser und Ländereien in Tschechien (Prince fights for castles and estates in the Czech Republic), 22 Dec 2018

External links[edit]