Principality Grieves as Prince Franz Josef II Buried
VADUZ, Liechtenstein (AP) _ Grieving residents filled the narrow streets of Liechtenstein’s capital Thursday as the tiny principality paid its last respects to Prince Franz Josef II.
Franz Josef, who ruled for 51 years, died Nov. 13. He was 83.
Prince Hans Adam II, who succeeded his father as head of state, led mourners, including European royal families and government leaders, at the 90- minute funeral in the small St. Florin Roman Catholic church in Vaduz.
In a sermon, Bishop Johannes Vonderach paid tribute to Franz Josef’s ″endurance, patience, trust and steadfastness.″
The bishop read a message of condolence from Pope John Paul II, expressing deep sympathy and recalling with gratitude his personal meeting with Franz Josef. The pope visited the predominantly Catholic country in 1985.
Hans Adam, 44, and other close family members led the cortege with the coffin out into the autumn sun. The coffin, draped with red, blue and gold national colors, was lowered into the family burial plot in the church grounds.
The British royal family was represented by Princess Diana. Queen Sofia of Spain, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium and Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands also were among the royal mourners.
Liechtenstein’s two neighbors, Switzerland and Austria were represented by their respective presidents, Jean-Pascale Delamuraz and Kurt Waldheim.
During Franz Josef’s rule, the 61-square mile principality rose from an underdeveloped country to a sophisticated industrialized nation with one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world.
He was the 12th ruler of the 270-year-old nation, the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, and was popular among its 28,000 inhabitants.
Despite his personal wealth, which included the family’s art collection of 1,400 Rubens, Van Dyck and other old master paintings worth an estimated $150 million, he stuck to a simple lifestyle that included Mass each morning.