Princess Gina von und zu Liechtenstein, née Countess Georgine von Wilczek (born on 24 October 1921 in Vienna; died on 18 October 1989 in Grabs, Switzerland) was the Princess Consort of Liechtenstein from 1943 until her death in 1989, as wife of the then Reigning Prince Franz Josef II.
Family Background, Childhood, and Education
Princess Gina was born Countess Georgine “Gina” Norberte Johanna Franziska Antonie Marie Raphaela von Wilczek on 24 October 1921 in Graz, Austria; she was the only child of Count Ferdinand von Wilczek and his wife Countess Norbertine, born Countess Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau. Her father was the son of Austrian Count Joseph von Wilczek and his wife Countess Elisabeth, née Countess Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau; her mother was a daughter of Count Zdenko Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau and his wife Countess Georgine, née Countess Festetics von Tolna. Thus Gina was related to the most illustrious Austro-Hungarian and Czech noble families.
Gina’s mother, Countess Norbertine, died in 1923, when her daughter was only 17 months old. The future princess was brought up in Vienna, Austria, by her father. After graduating from secondary school, Countess Gina attended the university in Vienna, where she studied to become an interpreter. Growing up, she became a very expansive and outgoing person, with warm and cordial manners – all qualities which turned out to be very useful for her role as Princess of Liechtenstein.
Princess of Liechtenstein
In 1942 the 21-year-old Countess Gina met her distant cousin (on the paternal and maternal sides) Prince Franz Josef II von und zu Liechtenstein, who was 15 years older. They were married the following year, on 7 March 1943, in Vaduz, when Gina became Princess Consort (in German, Fürstin) of Liechtenstein. Franz Josef and Gina became the parents of five children. The eldest and heir was Hans-Adam, born on 14 February 1945, who married Countess Marie Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau in 1967; they have four children. Hans-Adam succeeded his father as Reigning Prince in 1989. The next was Philipp, born on 19 August 1946, who married Isabelle de l’Arbre de Malander in 1971 (they have three sons); he is the chairman of LGT Group. The next is Nikolaus, born on 24 October 1947, who married Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg in 1982 (they became parents of four children, the eldest of whom died soon after birth); Nikolaus is the Ambassador of the principality to Belgium and the Holy See. Then came Nora, born on 31 October 1950, who in 1988 became the second wife Don Vicente Sartorius y Cabeza de Vaca, Marques of Marino, who died in 2002 (they had a daughter together); Princess Nora is a member of the IOC). The youngest child was Franz Josef Wenzeslaus, nicknamed Wenzel, born on 19 November 1962, who tragically died on 28 February 1991.
Unlike all their predecessors, who used to live in Austria and Bohemia, Franz Josef and Gina resided full-time in Liechtenstein, in Vaduz Castle, which became the seat of the princely family. This enabled the princely couple – as well as their family – to be actively present in the life of the Principality, greatly increasing their popularity with the people.
Princess Gina devoted her life to her family and people, being a very active member and promoter of numerous charitable institutions whose aims were to aid families, disabled people, elderly persons and refugees.
She also was one of the founders of the Liechtensteinisches Rotes Kreuz (Red Cross of Liechtenstein) in 1945; she held the presidency from then until 1985, when she passed it to her daughter-in-law, the then Hereditary Princess Marie.
Later Life and Death
On 15 August 1984, after having reigned for 46 years, Prince Franz Josef turned over his executive powers to his eldest son, Hans-Adam, but he retained his charge of Head of State. He and Princess Gina remained very active in the social life of the Principality.
In September 1989, the 67-year-old Princess Gina was hospitalized in Grabs, Switzerland, for treatment of cancer; on 16 October her conditions suddenly worsened and two days later she passed away, in the presence of her husband and family, less then a week before her 68th birthday.
Her funeral was conducted in Vaduz Cathedral on 24 October 1989; Prince Franz Josef, her husband for 46 years, did not attend due to a collapse he suffered while at her deathbed. He died the following month, on 13 November; they are buried in two adjacent niches in the Princely Vault in Vaduz.
Official press photo by Presse- und Informationsamt, Vaduz; used with permission.