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Hans-Adam II (Johannes (Hans) Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marko d'Aviano Pius von und zu Liechtenstein; born 14 February 1945), is the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein. He is the son of Franz Joseph II, Prince of Liechtenstein (1906–1989) and his wife Countess Georgina von Wilczek (1921–1989). He also bears the titles Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count of Rietberg. He descends in the direct male line from merely three of the previous fourteen Princes of Liechtenstein, and of another (again from two of the above mentioned three) in the female line.
The Prince of Liechtenstein has broad powers; a referendum to adopt Hans-Adam's revision of the constitution to expand his powers passed in 2003. The changes also included a republican option, whereby the Prince was henceforth formally barred from vetoing any bill to establish a republic. In addition, the right of each of the parishes which make up the Principality to secede was recognised. Prince Hans-Adam had announced his intention that his family and he would move to Austria if the referendum failed. Despite opposition from Mario Frick, a former prime minister, the Prince's referendum motion was carried by the electorate.
On 15 August 2004 Prince Hans-Adam II formally turned the power of making day-to-day governmental decisions over to his eldest son, the Hereditary Prince Alois, as a way of beginning a dynastic transition to a new generation. Legally, Hans-Adam remains Head of State.
In July 2012 the people of Liechtenstein overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to curtail the political power of the princely family. Despite an almost year-long pro-democracy campaign, 76% of those voting in a referendum said Hereditary Prince Alois should be allowed to retain his power of veto over decisions made in nationwide ballots. Matters were brought to a head last September, ahead of a referendum on decriminalising abortion, in some cases, up to the 12th week of pregnancy. In Liechtenstein, abortion is strictly illegal. Women wanting to end a pregnancy have to travel to neighbouring Germany or Austria, and if found out, risk imprisonment. A few days before voters were due to cast their votes, Alois, announced that he would veto any relaxation of the ban on abortion, whatever the voters decided in the referendum. The proposal was, its supporters said, fairly modest. The princely veto would be removed only for nationwide referendums; the prince would still be able to veto parliamentary decisions. In the end, though, voters overwhelmingly backed the prince's powers, with barely 24% saying the veto should go. Legislators, who serve on a part-time basis, rose in the prince's defense on May 23, voting 18 to 7 against the citizens' initiative as part of the procedure to put the referendum on the veto power before the public. Prince Hans-Adam reacted to the result "It is with joy and gratitude that the Princely House of Liechtenstein has taken note that a large majority of the population would like to continue the hitherto so successful 300-year partnership between the people and the Princely House."
Prince Hans-Adam owns LGT banking group and has a family fortune of $7.6 billion and a personal fortune of about $4.0 billion, making him one of the world's richest heads of state, and Europe's wealthiest monarch. He owns an extensive art collection, which is displayed for the public at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.
Hans-Adam's native language is German, but he is also fluent in English and French.
On 30 July 1967, at Vaduz, Liechtenstein, he married his second cousin once-removed, Countess Marie Aglaë Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau (born 1940) who, upon her husband's accession to the throne, became Her Serene Highness The Princess of Liechtenstein. Their official residence is at Vaduz Castle, which overlooks the capital.
Their children are:
- Hereditary Prince Alois (b. Zürich, 11 June 1968) He married Duchess Sophie in Bavaria on 3 July 1993, 4 children:
- Prince Joseph Wenzel Maximilian Maria of Liechtenstein, Count of Rietberg (born 24 May 1995 in London)
- Princess Marie-Caroline Elisabeth Immaculata of Liechtenstein, Countess of Rietberg (born 17 October 1996 in Grabs, Switzerland)
- Prince Georg Antonius Constantin Maria of Liechtenstein, Count of Rietberg (born 20 April 1999 in Grabs)
- Prince Nikolaus Sebastian Alexander Maria of Liechtenstein, Count of Rietberg (born 6 December 2000, in Grabs)
- Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein (b. St Gallen, 16 May 1969) He married Angela Gisela Brown civilly in Vaduz on 21 January 2000 and religiously in New York City, New York, in the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer (New York), on 29 January 2000, 1 child:
- Prince Alfons Constantin Maria (b. London, 18 May 2001)
- Prince Constantin Ferdinand Maria (b. St Gallen, 15 March 1972), married civilly in Vaduz on 14 May 1999 and religiously in Číčov, Slovakia, on 18 July 1999 Countess Marie Gabriele Franziska Kálnoky de Kőröspatak (b. Graz, 16 July 1975), 3 children:
- Prince Moritz Emanuel Maria (b. New York City, 27 May 2003)
- Princess Georgina Maximiliana Tatiana Maria (b. Vienna, 23 July 2005)
- Prince Benedikt Ferdinand Hubertus Maria (b. Vienna, 18 May 2008)
- Princess Tatjana Nora Maria (b. St Gallen, 10 April 1973), married in Vaduz on 5 June 1999 Matthias Claus-Just Carl Philipp von Lattorff (b. Graz, 25 March 1968), 7 children:
- Lukas Marie von Lattorff (b. Wiesbaden, 13 May 2000)
- Elisabeth Maria Angela Tatjana von Lattorff (b. Grabs, 25 January 2002)
- Marie Teresa von Lattorff (b. Grabs, 18 January 2004)
- Camilla Maria Katharina von Lattorff (b. Monza, 4 November 2005)
- Anna Pia Theresia Maria von Lattorff (b. Goldgeben, 3 August 2007)
- Sophie Katharina Maria von Lattorff (b. Goldgeben, 30 October 2009)
- Maximilian von Lattorff (b. Goldgeben, 17 December 2011)
In 1969, Hans-Adam graduated from the University of St. Gallen with a Licentiate (equivalent to a Master's degree) in Business and Economic Studies.
The Prince is an honorary member of K.D.St.V. Nordgau Prag Stuttgart, a Catholic students' fraternity that is a member of the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. The Prince chairs the Advisory Council of the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-determination at Princeton University, LISD. In his childhood he joined the Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Liechtensteins in Vaduz. He is also a former member of the Vienese Scout Group "Wien 16-Schotten". He is a member of the World Scout Foundation.
Today he and his wife are patrons of Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Liechtensteins.
He is the 1,305th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Austria.
Viewpoints and book
Prince Hans-Adam II has written the political treatise The State in the Third Millennium (ISBN 9783905881042), which was published in late 2009. In it, he argues for the continued importance of the nation-state as a political actor. He makes the case for democracy as the best form of government, which he sees China and Russia as transitioning towards although the path will be difficult for these nations. He also declared his role in a royal family as something that has legitimacy only from the assent of the people. He stated that government should be limited to a small set of tasks and abilities, writing that people "have to free the state from all the unnecessary tasks and burdens with which it has been loaded during the last hundred years, which have distracted it from its two main tasks: maintenance of the rule of law and foreign policy.”
In an interview, recorded in November 2010, Hans-Adam said that he saw certain problems with aspects of the U.S. Constitution, such as the lack of direct democracy. He also said, "I am sitting here and that’s because Americans saved us during World War II and during the Cold War. So I am very grateful to them."
According to their House Laws, the Reigning Prince shall bear the title:
- Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count of Rietberg, Sovereign of the House of Liechtenstein
- Liechtenstein prince wins powers BBC News Online, 16 March 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
- Country profile: Liechtenstein - Leaders BBC News, 6 December 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
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- Liechtenstein redraws Europe map BBC News Online, 28 December 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
- Countly House of Kálnoky
- Fürst Hans-Adam II. Retrieved 29 January 2008.
- Brósch-Fohraheim, Eugen (October 2008). "Schwedischer König als Pfadfinder in Wien-Zusammenkunft der "Weltpfadfinderstiftung" in Wien 2008" (in German). 29 live: 21.
- Seine Majestät Carl XVI Gustaf König von Schweden zu Gast in Wien Retrieved 29 October 2008.
- "H.S.H. Prince Hans-Adam II – The State in the Third Millennium". Uncommon Knowledge. November 22, 2010. http://www.hoover.org/multimedia/uncommon-knowledge/57561. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
- "Liechtenstein House Laws". Fuerstenhaus.li. http://www.fuerstenhaus.li/en/fuerstenhaus/geschichte/hausgesetz.html. Retrieved 2012-05-17.