His full name is Karel Jan Nepomuk Josef Norbert Bedřich Antonín Vratislav Menas Prince of Schwarzenberg and he is a member of the Schwarzenberg family. His hereditary title is Prince Schwarzenberg, Duke of Krumlov, Count of Sulz and Landgrave in Klettgau. How did his parents raise him and who in his opinion was the best Czech president? He revealed all this and much more to us in our interview.
They are swearing like troopers about it.
In part, yes. We have to admit that we are doing superbly from an economic point of view. Our country really is prospering. On the other hand, no political culture exists and people do feel that.
I have struggled with that issue a lot in the past and still do to this very day. Unfortunately, he fulfilled the very worst of our expectations.
I had better not say. Or, you know what … What should I say to you about a man who, in his capacity as minister of finance, distributed grants and according to the reports he has published, the Agrofert group received more in grants than it paid in tax. What should I think about a man like that.
People tend to succumb to a leader, a lothario. In Germany it was Hitler, we succumbed to the communists in the forties, now we have Babiš.
That would be a close-run competition. From the Czechoslovak ones, of course Kléma (Klement Gottwald – editor’s note), because he really was a murderer. He murdered his opponents and then his own companions. He really was terrible, by far the worst.
Here the most, but I do admit that I feel at home in various different places. I lived for a long time in Austria, in Styria and I also feel at home in Vienna. But I always wanted to return here and I managed to do so. I longed to do so for forty-one years and then it was a great miracle in my life … You don’t know what it means when you manage to do something like that after so many years. It really is a miracle for you.
As a matter of course. I was born that way and that is what I am. I don’t deny it. It goes without saying just like the fact that I have brown eyes, I don’t know, you know what I mean...
It cannot be claimed that the older line of the Schwarzenbergs was not Czech, they always supported Czech state rights, uncle Adolf donated considerable funds to wartime fortifications. He was forced to emigrate and even Jan Masaryk confirmed that he always supported the Czech government in exile in London. It must be emphasised that both lines were Czech.
Sometimes it has, other times it has been to my benefit.
I don’t think about other aristocrats, but about individual people. I can’t generalise. It depends who the person is.
I didn’t have golden cutlery as a child, but I do admit it was silver. At Orlík. Until I was twenty, while we were still at Orlík and in Čimelice. That ended after emigration.
Strict, thank goodness.
Yes, I am very grateful.
Well, a little less strictly, because I was always travelling. I have to manage property in Styria, Germany and Vienna.... My wife took on that job – raising the children I mean.
I am a grandfather who sees his grandchildren too little (laughs). They are in Austria and I am here. I really love them, but when we manage to get together it is a kind of celebration.
I don’t think so.
There was no romance in that act anymore.
The first was a proper wedding, the second was a registry office affair.
Why am I here? If I didn’t like it here best, I wouldn’t be living here (laughs).
I in fact only know three – Czech, German and English. I understand a bit of French, but I only speak those three.
Which language do you like the best?
Czech of course. It is the language of my childhood. I grew up with Czech.
I never had a talent for languages. I learned Russian, but I don’t remember much of that, which is a shame because Russian is a beautiful language and I unfortunately also don’t speak much French. I never learned French properly. My dad tried to teach me when I was a child, but then didn’t have time for it.
I would probably get bored.
I don’t have much time to relax, but when I do, I read. If I find time at the weekend, I visit my children and grandchildren.
No, I have been in politics all my life. People have been talking about politics in my family since I was a child, it surrounded me. In fact, I grew up in politics.