Franz Joseph of Liechtenstein - Honorary Knight
Franz Joseph II (Franz Josef Maria Aloys
Alfred Karl Johannes Heinrich Michael Georg Ignaz Benediktus Gerhardus Majella; 16 August 1906 – 13 November 1989)
was the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein from 1938 until his death. Franz Joseph was the son of Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein
and Archduchess Elisabeth Amalie of Austria. He succeeded his childless grand-uncle, Prince Franz
I, after his father renounced his right of succession in his favour in 1923. During his reign women received voting
rights for the first time, following a referendum on the topic (among men only) in 1984.
Franz Joseph was an extremely popular sovereign in Liechtenstein. He was the first ruling prince to live full-time in the
principality. He also oversaw the economic development of Liechtenstein from a poor agricultural backwater into one of the
richest countries (per capita) in the world. Liechtenstein remained neutral
throughout World War II, and its neutrality was not violated by any of the combatants. Just before the end of the war, the
Prince granted political asylum to 494 First Russian National Army pro-Axis pro-emperor Vladimir White emigres led by General
Boris Smyslovsky. Franz Joseph handed over most of his powers to
his son, Hans-Adam, on 26 August 1984. Franz Joseph II died on 13 November 1989, a mere twenty-six days after his wife. Ruling
Liechtenstein for 51 years, he was among the longest-ruling sovereigns in Europe and the longest-serving national leaders
in the world at the time of his death.
Marriage and children
On 7 March 1943, at St. Florin's in Vaduz, Franz Joseph II married Countess Georgina of Wilczek (24 October 1921
– 18 October 1989). They had five children, twelve grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren:
- Hans-Adam II, Prince of
Liechtenstein (14 February 1945, Zurich) he married Countess Marie Aglaë of Wchinitz
and Tettau on 30 July 1967. They have four children and fifteen grandchildren.
- Prince Philipp of Liechtenstein (19 August 1946, Zürich) he married Isabelle de l'Arbre de Malander on 11 September
1971. They have three sons and four grandchildren.
- Prince Nikolaus
of Liechtenstein (24 October 1947, Zurich) he married Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg on
20 March 1982. They have four children.
- Princess Norberta of Liechtenstein
(31 October 1950, Zurich) she married Don Vicente Sartorius y Cabeza
de Vaca, 3rd Marqués de Mariño on 11 June 1988. They have one daughter.
- Prince Franz Josef Wenceslaus of Liechtenstein (Zurich, 19 November
1962 – Vaduz, 28 February 1991). Died unmarried and without issue, at the age of twenty-eight.
- Liechtenstein: Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein, Grand
- Austrian Imperial and Royal family: 1, 240th Knight with Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece
- Austria: Grand Cross of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria, Grand Star
- Greek Royal Family: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Redeemer
- Iranian Imperial Family: Recipient of the Commemorative Medal of the 2,500 year Celebration
of the Persian Empire
- Vatican: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre
- Holy See: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Pope Pius IX