Fürst Franz Josef II 1938 - 1989
Prince Franz Josef was born on the 16th of August 1906 in the Frauenthal Castle in Styria as the first son of Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and Archduchess Elisabeth Amalie of Austria. Emperor Franz Josef I was godfather of the little prince.
Prince Franz Josef spent an untroubled youth in in Austria.Worth mentioning is especially the stay in the Gross-Ullersdorf Castle in Moravia (1911-1914), where the prince developed his passion for nature which influenced his further studies.
According to an education based on Liechtenstein traditions, Prince Franz Josef attended the Schotten Grammar School in Vienna, where he graduated in 1925.
His favourite subjects were mathematics, natural history and Greek. Due to his passion for nature he continued his studies at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Vienna (1925-1929).
In 1930 Prince Franz Josef graduated with distinction from the university as a forest engineer.
Skiing and mountain sports as well as swimming were among his favourite leisure time occupations. The young prince often travelled to Europe and overseas.
Prince Franz I turned over the regency to Prince Franz Josef on the 30th of March 1938.The same year, on the 25th of July, Franz I died and the designated regent prince took over the leadership of the affairs of the country. The homage of the Liechtenstein people towards its new prince took place on the 29th of May 1939.
Whilst the world was threatened by the hostile tendencies of the ''Third Reich'' this enunciation gained double significance: the people acknowledged the statehood under the leadership of its new prince Franz Josef II.
They had five children: Hereditary Prince Hans-Adam (born 14th of February 1945), Prince Phillip Erasmus (born 19th of August 1946), Prince Nikolaus Ferdinand (born on the 24th of October 1947), Princess Nora Elisabeth (born 31st of October 1950) and Prince Franz Josef Wenzel (born 19th of November 1962, died on the 28th of February 1991).
Prince Franz Josef II turned his attention especially to the fact of keeping Liechtenstein out of the Second World War. By speeches from the throne and messages the regent managed to maintain and strengthen the will of the people of Liechtenstein for union and independence from neighbouring Nazi Germany.
After the war Franz Josef II dedicated himself mainly to the economic, social and cultural progress of Liechtenstein. His efforts had as a result a modern Liechtenstein.
In 1984, the 45th year of his reign, Prince Franz Joseph II appointed Prince Hans-Adam II his permanent representative for exercising the sovereign powers due to him, in preparation for his succession to the throne. On 13th November 1989, following the death of Prince Franz Joseph II, Prince Hans-Adam II succeeded.