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European Royals

The life of a fleeing Countess who became a Princess

Marie, Princess of Liechtenstein
Presse- und Informationsamt, Vaduz, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

The Principality of Liechtenstein is grieving after the death, at 4:43 pm on the 21st of August, of Her Serene Highness Princess Marie in a hospital in Grabs, Switzerland, following a stroke. 

The Princess, wife of Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam, was born in Prague as Countess Marie Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau on the 14th of April 1940, as World War II entered its crucial stages. She was the fourth of seven children born to Count Ferdinand Carl Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau and Countess Henriette Caroline of Ledebur-Wicheln. At the time, Prague was part of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, run by the Nazis – its territory is more or less equivalent to modern day Czech Republic. 

In 1945, at the end of the war, her family was expelled from what in the meantime had become Czecoslovakia and was forced to flee to Germany. It is in Ering am Inn, Bavaria, that the young Countess began her education, attending primary school from 1946 to 1949. She then transferred to Baden-Württemberg, where she attended the Lion Sisters’s boarding school located within the Wald Monastery until eight years later. In 1957, she spent some time in the United Kingdom to perfect her English, graduating the following year from the boarding school. She then went on to Munich University, where she was in the Academy of Applied Graphics programme, from which she graduated in 1961, after six semesters. After a stay in Paris to improve her French, she moved to Dachau, Germany, where she worked as a commercial artist in a print shop until her engagement to Prince Hans-Adam in 1965. 

The Countess married then-Hereditary Prince Hans-Adam in St Florin Cathedral, in Liechtenstein’s capital Vaduz, on the 30th of July 1967, after a two-year long engagement. The couple had four children: Prince Alois, who has been serving as Regent since 2004, Prince Maximilian, Prince Constantin and Princess Tatjana. Seen as though the Liechtenstein constitution doesn’t allow female descendants of the sovereign to have access to the throne, Princess Tatjana is not in the line of succession. 

Princess Marie has had a number of patronages throughout her life as Princess Consort, and her focus was on culture, education, the arts and healthcare. Among others, she was president of the Liechtenstein Red Cross from 1985 to 2015, and President of the Orthopedic Aid Society from 1983 to 2005, after which she served as patron. She was the patron of Verein für Heilpädagogische Hilfe, a foundation that focuses on education paths for children with special needs, and Verband Liechtensteinischer Familienhilfen, a family support organisation. She was also a member of Liechtensteinische Gesellschaft für Umweltschutz, an association for environmental protection, and a member of the Liechtenstein Historical Society. 

Together with her husband and her four children, she will be mourned by her fifteen grandchildren: Prince Joseph, Princess Marie-Caroline, Prince Georg, Prince Nikolaus (children of Prince Alois), Prince Alfons (son of Prince Maximilian), Prince Moritz, Princess Georgina and Prince Benedikt (children of Prince Constantin), Lukas, Elisabeth, Marie Teresa, Camilla, Anna, Sophie and Maximilian (children of Princess Tatjana).