20th Death Anniversary of Fürstin Gina vuz Liechtenstein
20 years ago, on the 18th of October 1989, Her Serene Highness Fürstin Gina von und zu Liechtenstein died in Grabs, Switzerland, aged 67. She had been for 46 years the wife of Fürst Franz Josef II, and therefore the mother of the present Fürst Hans Adam II.
Countess Georgine “Gina” Norberte Johanna Franziska Antonie Marie Raphaela von Wilczek was born on 24 October 1921 in Graz, the only daughter and child of Count Ferdinand von Wilczek and his wife, born Countess Norbertine Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau; her mother died when Gina was only 17 months.
The then Countess grew up in Austria, and studied at the university in Vienna to become an interpreter.
In 1942 she met Fürst Franz Josef II von und zu Liechtenstein, who was a fourth cousin of Gina, and they married in Vaduz the following year, on 7 March 1943; Franz Josef was 36 years old, Gina only 21; together they had five children, four sons and a daughter: Hans Adam, the present Fürst von und zu Liechtenstein, born in 1945; Philipp, born in 1946; Nikolaus, born in 1947; Norberta “Nora”, born in 1950, and twelve years later, in 1962, Franz Josef Wenzeslaus “Wenzel”. All their children except Wenzel, who has tragically died unmarried in 1991, have married and have children.
Franz Josef and Gina were very loved among the people in Liechtenstein: they were the first princely couple to live full-time in the little Country, and under the reign of Franz Josef the economy of the Principality developed, making Liechtenstein a very rich contry. Moreover the two Princes were somehow complementary: while Franz Josef was a very friendly but shy person, Gina was very warm, cordial, expansive and sociable, helping the Princely Family to be more popular among the people.
In 1945 Fürstin Gina was among the founders of the Liechtensteinisches Rotes Kreuz (Red Cross of Liechtenstein), of whom she was the president from the establishment to 1985, when she gave the presidency to her daughter-in-law, the Hereditary Princess Marie; she was also very active in several charitable institutions, helping the families, disabled people, old people and refugees.
In 1984, after having ruled for 46 years, Fürst Franz Josef, although retaining his titles of Fürst and Head of State, turned over most of his powers to their eldest son, Hans Adam.
In September 1989 Fürstin Gina was hospitalized for treatment of cancer; on 16 October her health conditions suddenly worsened, and she died two days later, on 18 October, six days before her 68th birthday. She was survived by her 83-years-old husband, by their five children and by ten grandchildren; another granddaughter was born three years later, while a grandson had died soon after his birth in 1984.
Fürst Franz Josef died only 26 days after his wife; the loss of the Princely Couple was felt by the people of Liechtenstein as the end of a long era, lived together with their beloved Princes.
More info about Fürst Franz Josef II and Fürstin Gina can be found in this thread.Filed under Historical Royals, Liechtenstein
Tagged Anniversary, Biography, Death, Georgina von Wilczek.