Today the Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein celebrate fifty years of marriage with small celebrations to be held within the tiny German-speaking principality. The then Hereditary Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein married his second cousin twice removed, born Countess Marie Aglaë Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau, in a widely-attended ceremony within the Cathedral of St Florin Church, Vadun, on this day in 1967.
His Serene Highness spoke of his marriage to his wife of fifty years in an interview with the Liechtensteiner Volksblatt, one of two national newspapers. Meeting Countess Marie for the first time at Vaduz Castle at the tender age of sixteen, he remarked that he knew at once he wished to marry her. The task was made rather difficult, as the young Countess had already gathered a small crowd of admirers within whom the Hereditary Prince had to compete for attention.
The Countess at the time was working as a commercial artist for a printer in West Germany, her family having fled their native Prague during the Nazi-occupation and being unable to return after the country fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. She recalled that at the time of their first meeting she and her family were holidaying in Vaduz and were invited to the Castle by Princess Georgina, Prince Hans-Adam II’s mother. With a degree of mirth, she said that the Prince fell in love with her almost immediately.
Eventually, the Prince’s courtship paid off, and the two were engaged five years later in 1965.
The Volksblatt at the time reported that after the ceremony in Vaduz the couple emerged to a crowd numbering thousands, an impressive number for a town that houses just 5000 residents itself. In an “unprecedented” move, the princely couple moved through the residents towards the town hall at the centre of town, where they were greeted with cheers, salutary shots and cries for their good health. The event is still fondly remembered by those present to witness it today.
There have already been numerous gestures marking the anniversary, such as a commemorative stamp released earlier this year, and the Princely Family itself celebrated the anniversary amongst close family in the neighbouring Austrian state of Styria.
Prince Hans Adam II is remarkable in being one of the last executive monarchs on the European continent, after a referendum to curtail his political powers was overwhelmingly rejected by the Liechtensteiner populace in 2012. His popularity with the people remains at a high, although in recent decades he has begun the process of passing many of his duties and responsibilities to his son, Hereditary Prince Alois.