Liechtenstein is located between Switzerland and Austria. It is a very small country, only 62 square miles in all. As of 2005 it had an estimated 33,717 citizens. Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy. Although there is an elected parliament, the sovereign prince has a good deal of power.
The principality was founded in 1719 as a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Its first sovereign prince was Anton Florian. Almost 100 years passed before a member of Liechtenstein's royal family actually visited the principality.
Liechtenstein had four monarchs in the 20th century. The first, Johann II, died in 1929 and was succeeded by his brother, Franz I. Franz I's cousin and successor, Franz Josef II, became the first monarch of Liechtenstein to actually reside in the country. Franz Josef reigned for 51 years. He died in 1989 and was succeeded by his son, Prince Hans-Adam II.
In 1967, Hans-Adam married a Czech countess, Marie Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau. They had four children: Alois, Maximilian, Constantin, and Tatjana.
On August 15, 2004, Hans-Adam went into retirement, transferring power over Liechtenstein's day-to-day affairs to his eldest son, Prince Alois, although Hans-Adam remained the official head of state.
Prince Alois and his wife, Sophie, have four children: Prince Joseph Wenzel, born in 1995; Princess Marie Caroline, born in 1996; Prince Georg, born in 1999; and Prince Nikolaus, born in 2000.
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December 1, 2013
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Liechtenstein: A Modern History by David Beattie. Liechtenstein's history has been dramatic. Several times it was in danger of vanishing from the map. This book reveals how country's rulers have ensured its survival.
Valley of Peace by Barbara Greene tells the story of Liechtenstein. Published in 1947. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Liechtenstein: History and Institutions of the Principality by Pierre Raton. Published in 1970. From Alibris.
Fragmentation and the International Relations of Micro-states by Jorri Duursma. About Liechtenstein, Vatican City, Monaco, and other tiny countries. Sometimes available from Alibris.
Masterpieces From the Collection of the Princes of Liechtenstein by Reinhold Baumstark. Color reproductions of paintings, mostly great masters. Italian, Flemish, Dutch, German, and French. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Great Country Houses of the Czech Republic and Slovakia by Lord Michael Pratt, photographs by Gerhard Trumler. Includes photos of the twin chateaux of Valtice and Lednice in the Czech Republic. The lords of these castles still remain as the ruling house of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
H.R.H. by Danielle Steel. Novel about the fictional Princess Christianna of Liechtenstein, who volunteers for the Red Cross in East Africa until the pressures of royal life beckon her home.
Furstentum Liechtenstein (official royal site)