17th century

Prince Karl I.

1606 – 1627

Prince Karl (life dates: 1569-1627) was the first member of the family to be raised to the hereditary princely state. He received a Protestant upbringing and a first-class education in a school of the "Bohemian Brothers". In 1599, he converted to the Catholic faith. Shortly afterwards, Emperor Rudolf II appointed him to the highest office at court as Obersthofmeister, with which he also took over the chairmanship of the Privy Council. Prince Karl exercised these courtly functions with interruptions until 1607.

In the same year, Prince Karl I also received the great palatinate, which, among other things, established the minting sovereignty that was subsequently continuously exercised. In the "Habsburg fraternal quarrel" between Emperor Rudolf II and his younger brother Archduke Matthias, he joined the party of Archduke Matthias, who elevated him in recognition of his merits and achievements on 20 December 1606 to hereditary princely status. After Prince Karl I had temporarily withdrawn from the political arena, in 1614 Archduke Matthias, who had been elected Emperor after the death of his brother Rudolf in 1612, awarded him the Silesian Duchy of Troppau (Opava). Since then Prince Karl I also held the title of duke.

Governor and Viceroy of Bohemia

After the victory of the allied imperial and ligiste armies in the Battle of White Mountain near Prague (November 1620), in which Karl and his brother Maximilian had taken part in leading positions, Emperor Ferdinand II appointed him first provisionally and on 17 January 1622 definitively as ordinary governor ("viceroy") of Bohemia. In 1622, the emperor appointed him as ordinary governor and viceroy of Bohemia. In the same year, he was the first member of the family to receive the Order of the Golden Fleece, and just one year later he was enfeoffed with the Silesian duchy of Jägerndorf (Krnov), which, together with Troppau, represented a property equivalent to the dignity of prince.

After Karl's death in 1627, the succession regulations and division of property, which had already been laid down in 1606 in an agreement between him and his brothers Maximilian and Gundaker at Feldsberg Castle (Valtice), were applied for the first time.

Prince Karl Eusebius

1627 - 1684

Prince Karl Eusebius I succeeded in rehabilitating the possessions of the house after the devastating Thirty Years' War, thus creating the conditions for the spectacular rise of the princely house in the age of the Baroque.

Prince Karl Eusebius I (life dates: 1611-1684) initially came under the guardianship of his uncle, Prince Maximilian. In 1632, following the obligatory cavalier tour for high noblemen of his time, the tributes of the estates of the Duchies of Troppau and Jägerndorf took place.

Only for a short time was the Prince also entrusted with public duties. From 1639 to 1641 he held the office of royal chief governor of the Silesian duchies. First and foremost, however, Prince Karl Eusebius I strove to consolidate and rebuild his possessions, which had been devastated by the Thirty Years' War.

However, financial difficulties also arose for him from various estates that his father had once acquired and whose legal validity the Court Chamber doubted. The resulting claims for damages amounted to around 1.7 million guilders. Only after Karl Eusebius had agreed to pay a significant war loan did the long process end in 1665 with the granting of a "general absolution" by Emperor Leopold I.

Founder of the Princely Liechtenstein Collections

Despite these financial burdens, Prince Karl Eusebius I found ways and means to invest considerable sums in his personal cultural inclinations. He acquired selected paintings, bronzes, rifles or precious arts and crafts exhibits and thus laid the foundation for the Princely Collections.

Prince Karl Eusebius I also pursued other, very diverse interests. He received widespread recognition, for example for his horse breeding or the design of the park at Eisgrub Castle and showed a strong interest in architecture, which he documented in a treatise on architectural theory.

Prince Johann Adam Andreas

1684 – 1712

Prince Johann Adam Andreas I was one of the most important patrons and builders of his time. Among other things, he had the two magnificent Viennese palaces built: The City Palace in Bankgasse and the Garden Palace in the suburb of Rossau.

Prince Johann Adam Andreas I (life dates: 1657-1712) created lasting merits for himself by reorganising the whole princely administration and reorganising the family's finances. In 1687, he was appointed Privy Councillor and six years later, he received the Order of the Golden Fleece.

He also put his financial policy skills at the service of the imperial house. However, a project he presented to rationalise the cameral administration failed in 1699 due to the tenacious resistance of the civil service. The foundation of the Vienna Girobank, of which he was president from 1703 to 1705, also failed to meet with the expected success. In 1707, the Prince travelled to the Hungarian Diet in Pressburg (Bratislava) as an imperial commissioner.

Acquisition of the estates of Vaduz and Schellenberg

The acquisition of the Lordship of Schellenberg and the County of Vaduz, both situated on the river Rhine, in 1699 and 1712 was to have far-reaching consequences for the family. With these acquisitions, the Princely House gained direct Imperial property for the first time and crucially moved closer to the goal they had been pursuing for almost a century, namely a seat in the Imperial Council of Princes.