Franz Joseph II, Prince of Liechtenstein (Franz Josef Maria Aloys Alfred Karl Johannes Heinrich Michael Georg Ignaz Benediktus Gerhardus Majella; 16 August 1906 – 13 November 1989) was the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein from 1938 until his death.
Franz Joseph was the son of Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein and Archduchess Elisabeth Amalie of Austria. He succeeded his childless grand-uncle, Prince Franz I, after his father renounced his right of succession in his favour in 1923.
During his reign women received voting rights for the first time, following a referendum on the topic (among men only) in 1984.
Franz Joseph was an extremely popular sovereign in Liechtenstein. He was the first ruling prince to live full-time in the principality. He also oversaw the economic development of Liechtenstein from a poor agricultural backwater into one of the richest countries (per capita) in the world.
Liechtenstein remained neutral throughout World War II, and its neutrality was not violated by any of the combatants.
Just before the end of the war the Prince granted political asylum for 494 First Russian National Army pro-Axis pro-emperor Vladimir White emigres led by General Boris Smyslovsky.
On 7 March 1943, at Vaduz, Franz Joseph II married Countess Georgina von Wilczek (24 October 1921 – 18 October 1989). They had five children:
Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein (born 14 February 1945, Zurich), married Countess Marie Aglaë of Wchinitz and Tettau and had four children and fifteen grandchildren.
Prince Philipp Erasmus of Liechtenstein (born 19 August 1946, Zürich). Married in Brussels on 11 September 1971 Isabelle Fernande Ghislaine Guillemette Elisabeth de L’Arbre de Malander (born 24 November 1947, Ronse), daughter of Jean Baptiste de L’Arbre de Malander and wife Guillemette Grassal. They have three sons and four grandchildren:
Prince Alexander Wilhelm Hans Adam of Liechtenstein (born 19 May 1972, Basel). Married civilly in Vaduz on 24 January 2003 and religiously in Salzburg on 8 February 2003 Astrid Barbara Kohl (born 13 September 1968, Regensburg), daughter of Theodor Kohl and wife Ingrid Schlechta. They had one daughter:
Princess Theodora Alexandra Isabella Antonia Nora Marie of Liechtenstein (born 20 November 2004, Chêne-Bougeries, Geneva, Switzerland), founder of the Green Teen Team wildlife project.
Prince Wenzeslaus of Liechtenstein (born 12 May 1974, Uccle). He used to date model Adriana Lima.
Prince Rudolf Ferdinand of Liechtenstein (b. Uccle, 7 September 1975). Married in Istanbul on 20 April 2012 Miss Tilsim Tanberk.
Princess Alienor Faye of Liechtenstein (29 September 2014 – 13 December 2015)
Princess Laetitia of Liechtenstein (born 21 July 2016)
Prince Karl Ludwig of Liechtenstein (born 21 July 2016)
Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein (born 24 October 1947, Zurich), married Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg, and had four children.
Princess Nora of Liechtenstein (born 31 October 1950, Zurich), married in Vaduz civilly on 10 June 1988 and religiously on 11 June 1988 Vicente Sartorius y Cabeza de Vaca, 3rd Marqués de Mariño (Madrid, 30 November 1931 – Ibiza, 22 June 2002), and had an only daughter:
Doña María Teresa Sartorius y de Liechtenstein (b. Madrid, 21 November 1992).
Prince Franz Josef Wenceslas of Liechtenstein, known as “Wenzel” (Zurich, 19 November 1962 – Vaduz, 28 February 1991)
Franz Joseph handed over most of his powers to his son, Hans-Adam, on 26 August 1984. Franz Joseph II died on 13 November 1989, a mere twenty-six days after his wife. Ruling Liechtenstein for 51 years, he was among the longest-ruling sovereigns in Europe and the longest-serving national leaders in the world at the time of his death.