HSH Prince Karel VII of Schwarzenberg

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On 9 January 2007, HSH Prince Karel VII of Schwarzenberg was appointed as the new minister of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic.

He was born on 10 December 1937, the eldest son of HSH Prince Karel VI of Schwarzenberg (1911–1986). In 1948 the family emigrated, living abroad as Swiss citizens during the communist régime of Czechoslovakia from 1948-1989. They remained loyal to their home country throughout this exile and continued to be politically active, including assuming the presidency of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights in the 1980s.

A graduate in law (Vienna) and engineering (Munich), Prince Karel returned to the Czech Republic after the Velvet Revolution. He was appointed as Chancellor of President Václav Havel from 1990-1992 and was elected as a member of the Senate of the Czech Republic in 2004.

The Prince's family have long been supporters of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, his father having refounded the Grand Priory of Bohemia in 1937 and continued as Grand Prior in exile from 1948-1972, when he was succeeded by Radslav Count Kinský. Count Kinský retired as Grand Prior in 2004, handing over to Prince Karel's cousin, Jan Count Dobrzenský z Dobrzenicz.

During the last visit of the Order's 49th Grand Master to Prague in September 2006, the two princes - whose families have been close friends for many decades - met at the Schwarzenberg Palace to discuss the future development of the Order of Saint Lazarus in Europe.
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