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European Royals

Liechtenstein celebrates 300th birthday

By Michael Gredenberg - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Liechtenstein’s royal family raised a glass with their people Thursday to mark the principality’s 300th birthday, holding a party in the gardens of Schloss Vaduz Castle.

Average citizens enjoyed beers alongside the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, Prince Hans-Adam II at the celebration. And whilst drinking with a monarch might sound unusual, this tiny nation with a population of around 38,000 sees itself as one big family.

“At the core of this party stands the idea to give every participant the feeling that he/she is an individuum which is part of a big community,” says the Liechtenstein 300 website. “Everybody shall perceive himself/herself as part of a whole. As individuals, every person is, he/she is a precious part of the society.”

As a constitutional hereditary monarchy based on democratic and parliamentary principles, the Princely House is one of the few in Europe who actually plays a part in politics.

Liechtenstein was founded on 15 August 1719 when the shire of Vaduz and the lordship of Schellenberg were united under the decree of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI into the Principality of Liechtenstein.

The principality is the world’s sixth-smallest country with just 160 square km and sits in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria.

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Prince Hans-Adam II is the first reigning prince to have grown up in the country. He has four children with his wife, Princess Marie-Aglaé, and their eldest son, 51-year-old Hereditary Prince Alois, has served as acting head of state and heir to the throne since 2004 and 1989, respectively.

Alois is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and has four children with his wife, Hereditary Princess Sophie.

“Our country is among the safest places in the world. The rule of law is firmly established. There is hardly any other country where the individual has as much say in politics,” Prince Alois said in a speech. “We enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.”

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The birthday celebrations this week marked the culmination of a year of events to mark the 300-year anniversary around Liechtenstein.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.