A Biography of Prince Anton Florian I

Liechtenstein is a is a German speaking microstate situated in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland. It is widely known as the sixth smallest nation in the world. Liechtenstein is also one of the few remaining nationalities governed by a monarch. Liechtenstein is the only currently existing monarchy of the Holy Roman Empire. One of the most renowned political figures of Liechtenstein was Prince Anton Florian I.

Prince Anton Florian I’s background & education

Anton Florian was the prince of Liechtenstein between 1718 and 1721. He was born in Wilfersdorf, currently known as Lower Austria in 1656. Prince Anton Florian I was prepared for political leadership and responsibility from childhood. For this reason, he received excellent education and always knew what his future held and the direction it would take.

The beginning of his political journey

In 1676, a twenty-year-old Anton entered imperial services in the role of a Chamberlain. This was the beginning of his political journey and highly successful career. Eleven years later, in 1687, Anton received the Hungarian Indigenate. A couple of years later, the emperor appointed Anton a Privy Counselor and sent him to Rome where he became the first lay person to Rome’s Papal Court. While in Rome, Prince Anton Florian I initially worked as an extraordinary envoy. However, in 1691, he became an ambassador.

The beginning of his political path with Emperor Karl VI

He relocated to Spain during the war of the Spanish Succession war. Anton Florian was the Chief Intendant and Prime Minister of the Archduke of Karl, who later became the Emperor Karl VI.  Anton was entrusted with the direction of the education of the Archduke Karl, thanks to his extensive political knowledge, education, and experience. He performed his role successfully and led the Archduke towards a successful political career. In 1697, Prince Anton Florian I received the Order of the Golden Fleece. From 1703, Anton Florian accompanied Archduke Karl as the Lord Chamberlain and the First Minister in the war of the Spanish succession. He was awarded the Spanish Grande title.

After the Archduke’s elevation to Emperor Karl VI

In 1711, the archduke Karl was elected as the new Holy Roman Emperor after his elder brother’s sudden death. After Emperor Karl VI’s appointment, Anton Florian became the head of the imperial government. He served as the chairman of the council of state and Emperor Karl VI’s Chief Chamberlain until his demise.

How Anton Florian gained the Prince title

Upon his return to Liechtenstein, Prince Anton Florian I assumed government leadership as the chairman of the council of state. His influence at the court allowed him to retain his position as the Chief Intendant. In 1713, Anton Florian gained admission to the Imperial Council of Princes. The admission would benefit him and his heirs. However, he had to agree to the term of a solid piece of territory directly subordinate to the emperor. With that, Anton Florian became the Prince Anton Florian I, a sovereign member of state of the Holy Roman Empire.

Prince Anton Florian I becoming Lord Chamberlain

In 1712, Prince Anton was to become a Lord, when the emperor Karl VI appointed Lord Chamberlain. The following year, he was appointed as the headmaster commissioner at the Moravian Diet.

Prince Anton Florian I’s elevation to Liechtenstein’s Imperial Principality

Prince Anton struck a deal with his nephew Joseph Wenzel that allowed Anton’s acquisition of the Vaduz and Schellenberg territories in exchange of land. In return, Joseph Wenzel received the wealthy Rumburg dominion in Bohemia. Joseph Wenzel had inherited the land from his late Hans-Adam I, who was the Prince of Liechtenstein and Florian’s nephew. His successful territory acquisition persuaded the emperor to approve is lobby for their elevation to the Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein in 1719.

Therefore, Anton Florian’s political influence at Vienna’s Imperial court helped the emperor Karl VI elevate the Vaduz County and the Schellenberg Lordship to the Liechtenstein Imperial Principality in 1719.

The creation of the new Liechtenstein principality from the acquired domains was done to promote Anton Florian’s admission to the Reichstag. The Reichstag demanded that all its members owned land only subordinate to the emperor instead of high nobles. The land that Anton acquired was previously owned by the Liechtenstein family.

Prince Anton Florian’s Personal Life

Anton Florian married Countess Eleonore Barbara von Thun-Hohenstein, the daughter of Count Michael Oswald Von Thun and countess Elizabeth Von Lodron. The two had eleven kids (5 sons and 5 daughters), most of whom passed away in infancy or early childhood. One of his surviving daughters, Princess Anna Maria Antonie, Married Anton’s nephew, John Wenzel.

Karl’s coronation prompted Anton Florian’s relocation to Vienna. He lived in Vienna and served the Emperor until his demise in 1721. Prince Anton Florian I died at the age of 65. He was buried in Moravia (now Czech Republic) in the Old Crypt at the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

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