To mark the Principality of Liechtenstein’s 300th anniversary, Hereditary Princess Sophie has given an interview to Liechtenstein’s Vaterland to moving to Liechtenstein, her family, and her social work.
About her first trip to Liechtenstein, Her Royal Highness said, “My first visit was during a summer weekend in the early 90s. My husband invited me together with several friends. I really enjoyed the visit; I thought that the country is beautiful. To this day I am amazed every day by the wonderful view over the Rhine valley you have from the castle.”
She admitted that her meeting with Hereditary Prince Alois was not love at first sight, “It took a while, but after the sparks finally flew, everything went very quickly.”
The Hereditary Princess was also asked if it was hard to leave Bavaria behind when she married into the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, “No, that wasn’t hard for me. My mother is from Sweden, my paternal grandmother was from Hungary. So it was a pretty natural step for me to leave your native behind after a wedding. Of course, I’m happy to go back to Bavaria every once in a while and visit my family. Sometimes it would be nice if I could go more spontaneously for a quick visit. But it was never hard for me to leave Bavaria.”
Sophie also admitted that she admired Liechtensteiners humour and how she can go unnoticed in the streets of the country.
“I like the innovative energy and inventive spirit of Liechtensteiners, their diligence and awareness for quality. Things have rhyme and reason. I also appreciate the Liechtenstein humour, the straightforwardness and especially the easy-going informality. And, of course, the love for nature,” she remarked.
On how the people of Liechtenstein react when they see her, she stated, “There is no big reaction by Liechtensteiners. It’s normal for them that we also have to do our shopping. That’s exactly what I appreciate about Liechtensteiners. You nod, say hello and if you know someone you talk a bit. That’s all very uncomplicated, just how neighbours are. Sometimes there are some foreigners who actually react when they see you as they didn’t expect to meet you. But luckily they mostly don’t recognise us so you can go about your daily life and run your errands like everybody else.”
A proud mother, she, of course, spoke of her four children saying that they are all adults now and “are doing very well.” She even added about the complications they have had at different borders when border patrol sees their passports, as their last name is the name of the country. Her Royal Highness admitted their passports are “inspected thoroughly.”
The Hereditary Princess also spoke of being socially active and her thoughts on if Liechtenstein is socially active enough, “In countries like Liechtenstein, the state maybe does a bit less than in countries with higher taxes. That way the people are more independent what to do with their means. But this independence brings along responsibility. Our system makes it possible and easy for active and engaged citizens to be free with their own means but also be supportive the more vulnerable. There is a lot less bureaucracy, and so you can help quickly and solution-oriented. The responsibility lies with the people; the citizens don’t immediately call for the state to help. Maybe it’s even more social in the long-term instead of taking away the responsibility from the people. It seems important to me that people coming from abroad to live here need to be thoroughly informed about our approach.”
And what does she hope for the country in 50 years?
“Peace and safety for our country. Wisdom, foresight and humility of all policymakers. Serenity, confidence and, of course, God’s blessing for the people of Liechtenstein.”
Sophie was born as Her Royal Highness Princess Sophie of Bavaria in 1967, and later Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, Princess of Bavaria once her father had been adopted as heir by his great-uncle in 1973.
Although members of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein are styled as “Serene Highness”, she retained the higher status of “Royal Highness” that she held from birth upon her marriage to Hereditary Prince Alois.
For the entire interview, be sure to read Vaterland.