Heritage

Meet the First European Princess of African Descent, Angela of Liechtenstein

Angela Gisela Brown was born in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
IMAGE INSTAGRAM @luispoloroa/ trolvag/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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While many might mistake Meghan Markle as the first woman with African heritage to marry into a European royal family. In reality, the first to do so was Angela Gisela Brown, who was born in Toro, Panama and married into the Liechtenstein throne. What’s there to know about the royal family of Liechtenstein? Well, the Principality of Liechtenstein is a small European country nestled between Switzerland and Austria, and is the sixth smallest country in the world.

It is a constitutional hereditary monarchy, which means that the Reigning Prince (currently Prince Hans-Adam II) and the people exercise the authority of state together. Princess Angela is married to Prince Maximilian, the second son of Prince Hans-Adam II. Learn more about the first European princess of African heritage:

She is of Afro-Panamanian descent.

Angela Gisela Brown was born of African heritage and bloodline in Bocas del Toro, Panama on February 3, 1958 to Javier Francisco Brown and Silvia Maritza Burke. The Brown family moved to New York when she was a child, and she received her primary and secondary school education in the city.

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She studied at the Parsons School of Design.

After completing her fashion degree at the acclaimed school, she created her own design company called A. Brown and worked with American fashion designer Adrienne Vittadini. She and Prince Maximilian met at a private party in New York in 1997.

She married Prince Maximilian in 2001.

After a civil ceremony on January 21, 2000 in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, the couple also married at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York City on January 29, 2000.

She designed her own wedding gown.

Princess Angela wore a gown she designed for herself, as well as the Kinsky tiara previously worn by Princess Tatjana of Liechtenstein on her wedding day.

She’s 11 years older than Prince Maximilian.

The Prince was born on May 16, 1969 in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

They have one child together.

Prince Alfons was born on May 18, 2001 in London, England. He is currently sixth in line to the Liechtenstein throne.

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She is part of one of the world’s oldest and wealthiest European noble families.

The first ever recorded mention of the name “Liechtenstein” was in 1136. The family line starts with Heinrich I von Liechtenstein, who obtained lordship over Nikolsburg in South Moravia and ultimately gave the family ownership over several lands within the territory of the Wenzel Crown.

Today, they own the Liechtenstein Global Trust (the largest family-owned private wealth firm in Europe), a 400-year-old art collection (which features works from Rembrandt and Rubens), and a host of castles and lands. They are also reportedly wealthier than Queen Elizabeth since her personal wealth does not include the monarchy’s assets such as the Buckingham Palace.

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Paulina Paras
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