Saturday, December 7, 2013

Die Fürstliche Familie von Liechtenstein Eine Photoreportage

Oh my!  My oh my! Die Fürstliche Familie von Liechtenstein Eine Fotoreportage (van eck Verlag: 42 Euros) is an absolutely splendid book. One of the best royal books of the year. 

Books about the Princely family of Liechtenstein are few and far between.  Books about the Prince Family of Liechtenstein with a German-English text is even more rare.  Yes, this nearly 300 page book is in German AND English!

Hip hip hooray for Liechtenstein publisher van Eck Verlag, which is the publisher of Uve Harder, a photographer who has spent many years taking photographs of the Princely family.

Harder was born in the Sudetenland in 1944, and immigrated to Liechtenstein with his family after the second world war.  At the local primary school in Vaduz, the young Harder shared a desk with the then Hereditary Prince Hans Adams.  They would meet again in St. Gallen, Switzerland, were the Prince was studying economics.  Harder was a student at the School of Fine Arts, majoring in photography.  He and Hans Adams lived on the same street.  (Harder includes a class photo from 4th grade where he and Prince Hans Adam both are sitting in the front row.)

The life long friendship between Prince Hans Adams and Ute Harder has led to this book, which chronicles three generations of the Princely family.

All of the photos are in black and white, and, naturally, the focus is on the Prince and Prince of Liechtenstein and their eldest son, Hereditary Prince Alois and his family.   Harder also includes a small selection of photos of Hans Adam's siblings and their families, and his younger children.   The final dozen pages honor the late Prince Franz Josef and Princess Gina, the parents of the reigning Sovereign Prince.   Franz Josef and Gina died within weeks of each other in the fall of 1989.

The focus on the main branch includes a selection of photos from the weddings of Hans Adam to Countess Marie Kinsky and Alois to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria.

Liechtenstein's National Day is celebrated on August 15, and members of the Princely Family play major roles in the national celebrations.  Harder and his camera are always present for these celebrations, and he has snapped the celebrations for some years.  Nearly 200 pages are devoted to photographs of the national celebrations, beginning with 1993 through 2012, although not all years are included.

The subtitle of the book is Eine fürstichle jedoch ganz normale Familie, which translates to "A princely, but perfectly normal family."

What makes this book truly special is that none of these photos are formal or official portraits.  Every photo is a open candid shot, not staged,  thus offering a view of a "perfectly normal family." 

This book is a true treasure, especially due to the limited number of books on the princely family of Liechtenstein.  If the book is a success, perhaps the publisher will do another  book on the Princely family.  I suggest a book on princely weddings.

The book is available from the American, British and German Amazon sites.  If you have an account on Amazon, you also can order from all the other Amazon sites.  The Dutch bookstore, Van Hoogstraten, also has copies for sale.   Type Liechtenstein into the search box.



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