Franz I, Prince of Liechtenstein

Franz I, Prince of Liechtenstein, born Franz de Paula Maria Karl August (28 August 1853 – 25 July 1938), was the Prince of Liechtenstein between 1929 and 1938.

Franz I
Franz I ambassador.png
Prince of Liechtenstein
Reign11 February 1929 – 25 July 1938
PredecessorJohann II
SuccessorFranz Josef II
Born(1853-08-28)August 28, 1853
Liechtenstein Castle, Austrian Empire
DiedJuly 25, 1938(1938-07-25) (aged 84)
Feldberg, Czechoslovakia
Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Brno, Czechoslovakia
SpouseElisabeth von Gutmann
Franz de Paula Maria Karl August
FatherAloys II
MotherFranziska Kinsky
SignatureFranz I's signature

Early lifeEdit

Franz de Paula Maria Karl August was born on 28 August 1853, to Aloys II and Franziska Kinsky in Liechtenstein Castle. He attended the University of Vienna and the University of Prague before serving as the successor to Count Anton Graf von Wolkenstein-Trostburg as the Austro-Hungarian ambassador to the Russian Empire from 1894 to 1898.[1] He was the 1,204th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Austria.[2]

He fell in love with Elisabeth von Gutmann, a widow who had converted to Roman Catholicism from Judaism in 1899, but his brother Johann disapproved of the relationship and refused to consent to it. In 1919, he secretly married Gutmann in Salzberg and remarried her following Johann's death on 22 July 1929.[3][4] In 1937, Franz founded the Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein on the anniversary of his marriage.[5]


On 11 February 1929, Johann II died passing the title of Prince of Liechtenstein to Franz. A few weeks after he took the title 395,360 acres of land belonging to the Liechtenstein family was seized by Czechoslovakia. A delegation of farmers petitioned him to establish a republic in Liechtenstein, but ended their attempts when he stated that he would not give any his money towards the country forcing it to rely solely on taxation.[6]

In 1937, Prime Minister Josef Hoop admitted that Austrian pretender Otto von Habsburg was living in Liechtenstein Castle as a guest of Franz I in order to be closer to Austria rather than in his previous residence of Steenokkerzeel, Belgium.[7] An extradition treaty was also signed between Liechtenstein and the United States.[8]

He had no children so his nephew Prince Aloys was heir presumptive, but Aloys removed himself from the line of succession in favor of his son, Franz Joseph, in 1923.[2]

On 31 March 1938, he made his grandnephew Franz Joseph his regent following the Anschluss of Austria. After making his grandnephew regent he moved to Feldberg, Czechoslovakia and on 25 July, he died while at one of his family's castles, Castle Feldberg, and Franz Joseph formally succeeded him as the Prince of Liechtenstein.[9][10]

Although Franz stated that he had given the regency to Franz Joseph due to his old age it was speculated that he did not wish to remain in control of the principality if Nazi Germany were to invade.[3]



  1. ^ "Prince Franz Liechtenstein". The Times. 19 October 1894. p. 3. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020 – via
  2. ^ a b "Prince Franz von Liechtenstein The Hall of Holography Collection".
  3. ^ a b "Prince Franz of the 'Postage Stamp State' Retires". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1 May 1938. p. 76. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020 – via
  4. ^ "Intrigue Suspected In Royal Romance". Daily News. 12 June 1938. p. 5. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020 – via
  5. ^ Megan C. Robertson (9 August 2008). "Principality of Liechtenstein: Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein". Medals of the World. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Prince Franz". The Evening Sun. 22 March 1938. p. 3. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020 – via
  7. ^ "Nearer to Goal". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 16 December 1937. p. 4. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020 – via
  8. ^ "U.S. And Liechtenstein Sign Extradition Pact". The Morning Post. 21 May 1936. p. 6. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020 – via
  9. ^ "Prince Franz to Return to Estate". Daily News. 1 April 1938. p. 216. Archived from the original on 20 April 2020 – via
  10. ^ "Oldest Former Ruler Succumbs". Kenosha News. 26 July 1938. p. 1. Archived from the original on 20 April 2020 – via

External linksEdit

Franz I, Prince of Liechtenstein
Born: 28 August 1853 Died: 25 July 1938
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Johann II
Prince of Liechtenstein
Succeeded by
Franz Joseph II