The Royal Household of Liechtenstein

The Princely House of Liechtenstein is one of the oldest noble families of the old Austrian Empire.

Princes of Liechtenstein Coat of ArmsThe nobleman, Hugo of Liechtenstein, is first mentioned in 1136. He named himself after Liechtenstein Castle, lying to the south of Vienna. The early Liechtenstein family owned estates near their family castle and on the north-eastern border of Lower Austria. The uninterrupted Liechtenstein line of descent began with Heinrich I of Liechtenstein (died 1265/66), who bought the Lordship of Nikolsburg in South Moravia as free property.

The acquisition was of great political significance, since the family obtained a substantial possession within the territory of the Wenzel Crown. The importance of this acquisition was demonstrated in 1394, when Johann I of Liechtenstein, Chamberlain to the Royal Household of the Hapsburg Duke Albrecht III, after nearly 30 years of conducting government business on the Duke's behalf, became a victim of the power-political efforts of the Hapsburg and fell from favour. Together with his family, he was forced to renounce a part of the family's possessions, mainly those south of the Danube. During the following decades, the family strove, by means of new acquisitions, to consolidate its possessions in Lower Austria. The domain was extended in South Moravia in particular.

In the thirteenth century the family divided into three lines, the Liechtenstein, the Rohrauer and the Petroneller. The latter two lines died out in the next generation and consequently a great deal of the family property was again lost. A further division of the family line took place at the beginning of the 16th century when the Family Covenant of 1504 formed three lines, a Steyregger, a Feldsberger and a Nikolsburger line. Only the Feldsberger line survived longer than a few generations, but this time, well-considered family laws ensured that the property of the lines devolved to the surviving line. For information on the ruling family, please click on the genealogy pages.


Karl I - Karl Eusebius - Hans Adam I - Anton Florian - Josef I - Johann Nepomuk - Josef Wenzel - Franz Josef I - Alois I - Johann I - Alois II - Johann II - Franz - Franz Josef II - Hans Adam II - The Future - Alois