Prince of Liechtenstein: Wikis


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Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein
Coat of arms of Liechtenstein.png
Arms of His Serene Highness the Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein
Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein.jpg
Hans-Adam II

Style: His Serene Highness
Heir apparent: Alois, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein
First monarch: Karl I, Prince of Liechtenstein
Formation: 1608

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The Liechtenstein dynasty, or Princely Family of Liechtenstein, after which the sovereign principality between Switzerland and Austria was named in 1719, hails from Castle Liechtenstein in Lower Austria, which the family possessed from at least 1140 to the thirteenth century, and from 1807 onward.



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 held in fief under other more senior feudal lords, particularly under various lines of the Habsburg family, to whom several Liechtenstein princes served as close advisors. Thus, and 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, the Reichstag.

The family yearned greatly for the added power which a seat in the Imperial government would garner, and therefore, searched for lands to acquire which would be unmittelbar (non-intermediate), held without any feudal personage other than the Holy Roman Emperor himself having rights on the land. After some time, the family was able to arrange the purchase of the minuscule Herrschaft ("Lordship") of Schellenberg and countship of Vaduz (in 1699 and 1712 respectively) from the Hohenems. Tiny Schellenberg and Vaduz possessed exactly the political status required, no feudal lord other than their comital sovereign and the suzerain Emperor.

Thereby, on January 23, 1719, after purchase had been duly made, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed Vaduz and Schellenberg were united, and raised to the dignity of Fürstentum (principality) with the name "Liechtenstein" in honour of "[his] true servant, Anton Florian of Liechtenstein". It is on this date that Liechtenstein became a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire. Ironically, but as testament to the pure political expediency of the purchases, the Princes of Liechtenstein did not permanently live in their new principality for over 200 years, moving only in 1938 into the Alpine territory.

Present day

The Prince of Liechtenstein has sweepingly broad powers; a referendum to adopt Hans-Adam's revision of the constitution to expand his powers passed in 2003.[1] The changes also included a republican option, whereby the Prince was henceforth formally barred from vetoing any bill to establish a republic. The Prince can however veto any other law. In addition, the right to secede of the parishes which make up the Principality was recognized. Prince Hans-Adam had threatened that he and his family would move to Austria if the referendum had failed. Despite opposition from Mario Frick, a former Prime Minister, the Prince's referendum motion was carried by the electorate.

On 15 August 2004 Prince Hans-Adam II formally turned the power of making day-to-day governmental decisions over to his son Prince Alois, as a way of transitioning to a new generation. Formally, Hans-Adam remains Head of State.[2]

The US Senate's subcommittee on tax haven banks has charged that the documents and information provided by Heinrich Kieber show that the LGT bank which is owned by the princely family, and on whose board they serve "is a willing partner, and an aider and abettor to clients trying to evade taxes, dodge creditors or defy court orders."[3] For the same reasons, a 1999 German secret service report more bluntly described Liechtenstein as "a criminal state in the heart of Europe".[4]


According to their House Laws[5], the Reigning Prince shall bear the title:

Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count Rietberg, Sovereign of the House of Liechtenstein

List of Princes of Liechtenstein

# Picture Name Prince From Prince Until
1 Prince Karl I of Liechtenstein.jpg Karl I 1608 1627
2 Karl Eusebius v Liechtenstein.jpg Karl Eusebius 1627 1684
3 Johann Adam Andreas v Liechtenstein.jpg Hans-Adam I 1699 1712
4 Joseph Wenzel von Liechtenstein.jpg Joseph Wenzel Karl 1712 1718
5 Anton Florian v Liechtenstein.jpg Anton Florian 1718 1721
6 Josef Johann Adam von Liechtenstein.jpg Joseph Johann Adam 1721 1732
4 Joseph Wenzel von Liechtenstein.jpg Joseph Wenzel Karl 1732 1745
7 Johann Nepomuk Karl von Liechtenstein.jpg Johann Nepomuk Karl 1732 1748
4 Joseph Wenzel von Liechtenstein.jpg Joseph Wenzel Karl 1748 1772
8 Franz Josef I Liechtenstein.jpg Franz Joseph I 1772 1781
9 Portrait of Alois I of Liechtenstein, Friedrich Ölenhainz (1804).jpg Aloys I 1781 1805
10 Johann I v Liechtenstein.jpg Johann I Joseph 1805 1836
11 Portrait of Alois II of Liechtenstein, Friedrich Schilcher (1858).jpg Aloys II 1836 1858
12 Johann II v Liechtenstein.jpg Johann II 1858 1929
13 Franz I von Liechtenstein.jpg Franz I 1929 1938
14 Fürst Franz Josef II..jpg Franz Joseph II 1938 1989
15 Fürst Hans-Adam II. von und zu Liechtenstein.jpg Hans-Adam II 1989 Present

See also

External links


  1. ^ Liechtenstein prince wins powers BBC News Online, 16 March 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  2. ^ Country profile: Liechtenstein - Leaders BBC News, 6 December 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Liechtenstein House Laws [1]


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