Liechtenstein Princely Family (March 2003-October 2004) Part 1
Prince tells voters to hand over power in Liechtenstein
Alison Langley Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Sunday March 9, 2003
High on a hill in a fourteenth century castle, Prince Hans Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein, Duke of Trappau and Jägerndorf and Count of Rietburg, literally and figuratively looks down on his subjects.
Clearly not amused with their shallow attempts at democracy, the prince wants his sovereign powers back and has asked the 17,000 voters of Liechtenstein to amend the 1921 constitution and allow him to become an absolute monarch again. His subjects might grant his wish.
The prince has said that if he isn't granted more powers, he and his family will leave the cold, dank confines of the castle and move to Vienna.
The people of the principality, between the mountains of Austria and Switzerland, are likely to choose monarchy over democracy because they love the princely family and are worried about the fate of the world's fourth smallest country if the family goes.
When the voters go to the polls next week, they will be asked to decide on two proposals. One would grant the prince the right to dissolve the government (he can already dismiss Parliament), control a committee appointing judges and uphold his veto power over legislation. The other would shore up the people's right to decide their destiny, by, among other things, allowing them to over-ride a princely veto.
The fight over the form of government in this country of 60 square miles has lasted 10 years and has divided the country's 33,000 inhabitants.
It has got so nasty that one former head of government, Mario Frick, a foe of the princely side, found a pig's nose nailed to his fence one morning. A legislator who voted against the prince's proposal in the Diet (Parliament) found a skinned cat in his backyard. Other opponents have been sent dead flowers, with sarcastic danke schoens for helping send the princely family away.
'It's absurd,' said Sigvard Wehlwett, who heads Secretary For Democracy, campaigning for a democratic alternative to the prince's proposal.
One woman said she refused to discuss the topic any more with her family. 'They try to change my mind, then comes the fight.' But she will vote to keep the prince, because she doesn't want to change the comfortable way of life in Liechtenstein.
It is uncertain what would happen if the prince and his family left, although he has never said he would give up his title or his current duties.
Liechtenstein does have a cushy way of life. It has an 18 per cent tax rate, unemployment at under 3 per cent and a thriving industry.
The princely family's mansion near Vienna is far more comfortable and better located for things cultural and social. If the family were to reign from there it would be nothing new: Hans Adam's father, Franz Josef II moved back to Liechtenstein in 1938, when Austria was annexed.
The country, once a backwater of dairy farmers, is now rich and famous as a tax haven and for its thriving stamp business (it is also the world leader in making false teeth).
Adam, 58, has been a brilliant businessman for the country and his family. His father, helpless in finance, had been selling the family jewels to survive. Forbes Magazine values the family fortune at $2 billion.
The Council of Europe has warned that Liechtenstein could lose its membership if it passes the prince's proposals saying they 'constitute a serious step backward', away from democracy.
Article From: The Guardian/The Observer
LIECHTENSTEIN GIVEN ROYAL ULTIMATUM
11 MARCH 2003
The people of Liechtenstein may soon be voting for the right not to vote any more. Prince Hans-Adam II has called on his subjects to give him back his sovereign powers, making the world's fourth smallest country an absolute monarchy once again.
The nation's 17,000 voters go to the polls next week to choose whether to amend the 1921 constitution and give their monarch the right to dissolve the government.
Hans-Adam has told the country's 33,000 inhabitants that if they do not comply, he will pack his bags and move to Vienna. Many of the locals fear for the future of their 62-square mile nation, should the prince decide to leave, and the row has developed into a bitter dispute amongst Liechtenstein's people.
Hans-Adam has turned the country into a wealthy tax haven and, unusually, the world's leading producer of false teeth. His family fortune is estimated at around $2 billion.
The 58-year-old's desire to assume total political control is resisted both domestically and internationally, however. The Council of Europe has warned that Liechtenstein may lose its membership if his proposals are passed.
Article From: Hello Magazine.com
....a bit older article
Pig's snout, dead cat, miffed monarch: Something is rotten in the princedom of Liechtenstein
Tue Mar 11, 9:11 PM ET
By CLARE NULLIS, Associated Press Writer
VADUZ, Liechtenstein - The air is clean, the Alpine vistas stunning. The people are rich, jobs are plentiful, the country has no enemies and crime is so rare that there wasn't even a jail until 10 years ago.
So what is Liechtenstein's problem? What has gotten people so steamed up that they're resorting to hate mail? Why would anyone leave a pig's snout and a disemboweled cat at their enemies' doors? And why is Liechtenstein's ruling prince threatening to emigrate if he doesn't get his way?
The answer is that at a time when monarchies all over Europe have been reduced to figurehead status, Prince Hans-Adam II wants more powers — chiefly, the right to fire governments and appoint interim ones.
A March 16 referendum will settle the question — probably in the prince's favor. But many people fear that whatever the outcome, their Washington, D.C.-sized country wedged between Austria and Switzerland will never be the same again.
The prince is sure the voters will support him, he said in reply to written questions from The Associated Press. "But in the event of a `no' vote, then our move would be a matter of weeks or months rather than years."
The prince's supporters maintain that his departure would drive away foreign investors and herald economic disaster. But critics like former Prime Minister Mario Frick say that if he does win the referendum it will be because of his "blackmailing threat to leave the country."
"Only a few will do so out of their hearts," says Frick, who helped set up the so-called Democracy Secretariat to support a rival proposal.
It was this mild-mannered 38-year-old lawyer who recently found a decomposed pig's snout and tail at his office door. The dead cat was sent to a different critic.
The culprits are unknown, and no one is suggesting the royal family is involved. But as the climate has grown ugly, 58-year-old Hans-Adam has done little to calm things down.
Instead he has come out fighting, implicitly likening his opponents to World War II traitors and threatening to leave his 13th-century castle and move with his family to Austria if the referendum goes against him.
Spared the rigors of world war, and steeped in a secretiveness that seems appropriate for a place that got rich as a tax haven, many in this country of 33,000 people are reluctant to answer strangers' questions. They tend to glance up nervously at the castle high over Vaduz, the capital, and the ubiquitous red-and-blue "Yes to the Royal Family" posters exhorting Liechtensteiners to back the prince.
Those who plan to vote against the constitutional change sometimes request anonymity saying they fear losing their jobs.
Still, Liechtenstein has good reason to feel indebted to the royal family that has ruled it for 284 years.
Prince Franz-Josef, the current prince's father, is credited with keeping Liechtenstein out of the Nazis' clutches. The country was so poor after World War II that he sold some of the family jewels to help bail it out. His billionaire son is quick to point out that he pays his own expenses rather than charge the taxpayer.
Under Franz-Josef's benevolent guidance, Liechtenstein, like other constitutionally quirky corners of Europe such as Monaco and the Isle of Man, became a low-tax, no-questions-asked banking center. Hans-Adam, who took over in 1989, led Liechtenstein into a loose economic treaty with Europe that brought banks and trust companies pouring in.
Today there are more companies registered in Liechtenstein than there are citizens, and its per capita income is as high as Switzerland's. At one point it was internationally blacklisted as a refuge for shady cash, but got a clean bill of health after the government passed new laws to curb money-laundering.
Although Vaduz is still affectionately known as Staedtle, or little town, it has undergone a building boom and opulent villas now line the hillsides. It boasts classy galleries and a sleek, black and ultramodern art museum containing some of the prince's priceless Old Masters.
The prison mostly holds white-collar criminals whose meals are delivered by a hotel known for gourmet cuisine.
The prince likes to hike, bike and ski, is a Roman Catholic and fiercely guards the privacy of his four adult children against the tabloid feeding frenzy that has devoured other European royals.
But although he has retained his father's tradition of inviting the entire population to the castle for drinks and snacks on Liechtenstein's national day, "He is more feared than respected and more respected than loved," says Frick, who as prime minister from 1993 to 2001 repeatedly clashed with Hans-Adam over the constitutional issue.
The 1921 constitution gives the monarch the final say on laws, and the right to dissolve parliament and call early elections. At the same time, anyone can force a referendum on a law simply by gathering 1,500 signatures.
Hans-Adam says he wants to iron out ambiguities in the constitution by making it stipulate that he can sack an ineffective government and appoint an interim one pending elections. He also wants the deciding vote in appointing judges, saying the process shouldn't be controlled by bickering political parties.
"The worst thing about his proposals is the whole question of power. In the future, the prince could snap his fingers and say, 'I've lost confidence in you,' and in a split second the government would vanish," said Frick.
Nonsense, counters the Prince, arguing that Liechtenstein's people already have more democratic powers than any other country, and that under his plans, 1,500 signatures on a petition would be enough to force a referendum on abolishing his own job.
However, an expert commission set up by the 44-nation Council of Europe, a watchdog body to which Liechtenstein belongs, has studied the prince's proposal and calls it "a serious step backward" that could "lead to the isolation of Liechtenstein within the European community of states."
In Parliament, the prince angrily slammed the report by the so-called Venice Commission as misinformed and one-sided.
Even in the unlikely event that Hans-Adam loses the vote and emigrates, he is expected to remain monarch on a symbolic basis or perhaps step aside in favor of Alois, his 36-year-old son.
"Like many Liechtensteiners," he told the AP, "I am convinced that if the prince and his family were to move abroad, this would be a disadvantage for the country and its people. ... But if the monarchy loses public confidence, then its up to the people to find a solution without the monarchy."
Article From: Yahoo News
Fur flies as Liechtenstein prince pushes for power
Thu Mar 13, 1:24 PM ET
By Tom Armitage
ZURICH (Reuters) - The country is divided, the ruler is threatening to leave and his critics have found severed animal parts and a dead cat on their doorsteps. Is there something rotten in the state of Liechtenstein?
After bubbling on for over a decade, a row over the tiny principality's constitution threatens to erupt this weekend as the nation's 17,000 voters decide in a referendum whether to accept or reject amendments put forward by the princely house.
His Supreme Highness Prince Hans Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein says the proposals would simply legitimise his role. But opponents say the changes, which have polarised opinion among citizens of Europe's fourth smallest state, would make him a despot.
"Mr Liechtenstein himself is damaging the reputation of the country," Sigvard Wohlwend of the opposition Secretariat for Democracy said. "Democracy is developing and we are about to abolish democracy in the centre of Europe. It is unimaginable."
Liechtenstein, bordered by Switzerland to the west and Austria to the east, faces a two-question referendum on changes to the 1921 constitution which pits the 300-year-old princely house against a counter-proposal by concerned residents of the 62 sq mile country.
The prince's proposals would allow him to veto parliament's decisions, nominate judges and sack the government. However, he notes that he would no longer be able to rule by emergency decree for an unlimited time or name government officials.
"It should not be said of us, even abroad, that we in Liechtenstein are clinging to power," Hans Adam said in a recent newspaper interview, referring to himself in the royal "we" and renewing his threat to leave for Vienna if he loses the vote.
Under the princely house's proposals, voters could also choose to end the monarchy by referendum.
But critics argue Hans Adam is stacking the deck even more in his favour, especially by giving the prince the duty of nominating judges rather than ratifying parliament's choices.
The counter-proposal would give the people the right to overrule the prince's decisions.
Whatever the outcome of Sunday's vote, things have turned increasingly nasty for the prince's opponents as anger over their apparent betrayal of the monarch comes to the fore.
One parliamentarian found a cut-up cat by his letter box while a former politician discovered a pig's tail and snout nailed to his fence with the note: "Shut your mouth and sling your hook."
"This is really archaic," Wohlwend said. "These are methods which were used hundreds of years ago."
"I fear that whatever the outcome will be on Sunday this could lead to an escalation, including physical harm. If the prince's initiative loses then all those hardcore monarchists will blame us for him leaving the country."
The plans have raised concerns at the European Commission (news - web sites) for Democracy through Law, which said in a report last year that Liechtenstein ran the risk of isolating itself in Europe.
The prince, who may abdicate after the vote and cede control of the country to his heir, Alois, has said the princely house does not want to accept a symbolic role and would decamp to Vienna if the changes are rejected.
Once a poor cousin of Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein has built a thriving economy, fattened by the cash deposits of foreigners seeking out its low taxes and bank secrecy rules, and joining the European Economic Area and the United Nations.
A successful businessman in his own right, the 58-year-old Hans Adam has said in the past that he enjoys making money in the morning and spending it in the afternoon, ruling over his 33,000 subjects.
Article From: Yahoo News
Liechtenstein prince wins powers
The people of Liechtenstein have voted to make their prince an absolute monarch again.
Early results showed nearly two-thirds of the tiny principality's electorate had agreed to back Hans-Adam II's demands.
Correspondents say there was a bitter campaign leading up to the vote.
Hans-Adam even threatened to quit the country his family have ruled for 300 years if he did not like the outcome.
But that appeared forgotten once the first votes were counted.
"It's an excellent result. We can be very pleased with it," the prince told local radio.
Hans-Adam - Crown Prince of Liechtenstein since 1989 - already had the right to dissolve parliament and call elections.
But he wanted the power to hire and fire governments for the 160-square-kilometre (62-square-mile) country - the sixth smallest in the world.
The prince's supporters claimed he simply wanted to iron out ambiguities in the constitution. But critics, like Sigvard Wolhwend of the Democratic Secretariat Party, warned that granting the prince more power could turn Liechtenstein into a dictatorship.
"He has more than enough power and it's not democratic to have the head of the state who is uncontrollable and has the power to dismiss parliament and government whenever he feels like it. I think that's the real, real bad thing."
The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby in the capital, Vaduz, says the people of Liechtenstein faced a difficult dilemma.
Although many citizens oppose an absolute monarchy, they are also very attached to the royal family, she says.
As such, they decided to grant Hans-Adam his wish rather than wait to find out if he would carry out his threat to leave Vaduz castle and move to his alternative residence in Austria.
Article From: BBC News
Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein at a news conference in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, following the constitutional vote Sunday, March 16, 2003. Prince Hans-Adam II won a huge majority on Sunday for a new constitution giving him sweeping powers and making Liechtenstein an absolute monarchy.
Liechtenstein voters give prince more powers after unusually bitter campaign
Sun Mar 16,12:10 PM ET
By CLARE NULLIS, Associated Press Writer
VADUZ, Liechtenstein - After a bitter campaign featuring mutilated animal corpses and hate mail, Liechtenstein's ruling prince won a huge majority Sunday for a new constitution giving him sweeping powers.
Final results showed that 64.3 percent of the electorate voted in favor of Hans-Adam II's proposed constitution. Among other new powers, he now has the right to dismiss governments he considers incompetent and to have the final say in the nomination of judges.
"It's a very, very pleasing result," said a relaxed and jovial Hans-Adam at a news conference Sunday evening. "It exceeded our expectations."
Just 35.7 percent voted 'no' — fewer than expected. Turnout among the 16,500 electorate was a massive 87.7 percent.
Hans-Adam dismissed findings of a Council of Europe commission which said earlier the referendum could isolate Liechtenstein from other European countries.
Having won the referendum after ten years of constitutional bickering, Hans-Adam said he would now start to hand over the reigns to his 36-year-old son, Alois, who is generally perceived as being less confrontational and divisive than his father.
"This was my last big duty," the 58-year-old prince said. "Now I would like to slowly withdraw," he said, though didn't give a date for stepping aside.
Hans-Adam had threatened to move to neighboring Austria with Alois, his wife, and the rest of the royal family, and become merely a symbolic monarch if he lost the referendum.
The family has resided in an austere 13th century castle overlooking Vaduz since 1938. Under its guidance, Liechtenstein has been transformed from a poor farming community to a fabulously wealthy tax haven. The tiny country, with just 33,000 inhabitants, is squashed between Austria and Switzerland.
A small crowd of well-wishers gathered outside the government headquarters to celebrate the outcome.
"The prince is simply the best for our country," said Martina Parente-Ender, a 27-year-old painter. "I feel proud, relieved and happy."
But the mood was grim in the cafe which acted as headquarters of the "Democracy Secretariat."
Mario Frick, a former prime minister who repeatedly clashed with the prince over the constitutional row, said the vote made the country into "an international laughing stock."
"People in Africa die for democracy and yet here we surrender it voluntarily because people are afraid that the prince might go and live in Austria," he said.
But the campaign looked set to leave deep scars behind. Frick found a rotting pig's snout and tail in front of his office during the campaign. Another critic received a disemboweled cat. People who voiced their concern about the prince's proposal in letters to the two local newspapers were sent dead flowers, and others received hate mail.
People who voiced their concern about the prince's proposal in letters to newspapers were sent dead flowers, and others received torrents of hate mail.
Although there was no suggestion that the prince's family was involved, Hans-Adam did little to calm the stormy waters. In a speech to parliament last month, the prince implicitly likened his opponents to World War II traitors and said they would need "integrating" after the vote.
The constitutional row erupted in the early 1990s because of differences over the exact limits of the prince's power — who already has far more authority than any other European monarch. The existing constitution, drawn up in 1921, gives him the final say on laws and the right to call early elections. It allows people to force a referendum on a law simply by gathering 1,500 signatures.
Under the revised constitution, he would be able to sack a government he perceives as ineffective and appoint an interim one pending elections. He would preside over a panel to select judges and have the deciding vote.
At the press conference, the prince said the Liechtenstein people already have huge say under the country's direct democracy.
"The democracy that we have here is without parallel anywhere else in the world," he said.
Article and Photo From: Yahoo News
Does anyone have any photos or information of Princess Angela of Liechtenstein and her family? She is an attractive woman and her husband seems to be very much in love with her.
:lol: I found a couple of photos of Angela for you.
December 22nd, 1999 - Official announcement of the engagement of Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein to Angela Brown. They are to be married on January 29th, 2000 in New York.
January 29 2000 - Maximilian Prince von und zu Liechtenstein and Angela Brown were wed.
The first son, Alfons Constantin Maria, was born inLondon 18 May 2001
Hier is de kleine Alfons
De nationale feestdag in Liechtenstein draaide voorbije maand uit op een gezellig familiefeest. Prins Maximilian, enige tijd terug gehuwd met de Panamese Angela, stelde voor het eerst zijn zoontje voor aan de bevolking: de kleine Alfons trok dan ook alle aandacht naar zich toe.
Nice! Are there any pictures of the son? And what about the children of Princess Tatiana? There doesn't seem to be too many pictures of the granchildren of Prince Hans Adam...
I have seen one or two pictures of the little Alfons, but I ám not sure if it was in the Internet. I´ll try to find them to you, when - and if - I have some time.
Thanks! Would appreciate that since I have NEVER seen pictures of Alfons...
If you go to Henri van Oene's website you will see a picture of the infant Prince Alfons.
Here is the link:
Here's a larger photo of Princess Angela at her wedding....
Birth in the princely house
Vaduz 28 May - The Princely couple von und zu Liechtenstein is very happy to be able to announce, that on Tuesday, 27 May 2003, Princess Marie, wife of Prince Constantin, gave birth to a healthy boy in New York.
Prince Constantin and Princess Marie von und zu Liechtenstein are very happy with the birth of their son, who will be christened as Moritz Emanuel Maria.
I know that this doesn't belong in this category, but I couldn't find any other category to place it in.
I am sorry, the picture above was not from corbis, it was from www.angelfire.com/de/verenasroyalty/ weddingphotos.html
Here is a link.
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