An original love letter dated June 20, 1622 is displayed in a glass cabinet under a green velvet cover in The Lobkowicz Palace. Translated, it reads in part:
Zdenek Vojtech Popel, 1st Prince Lobkwicz to Polyxenia Lobkwicz
The good Capuchin friars are returning to Vienna so I have wanted to give them this letter, with which I kiss your hands, entrusting myself to you with Vaclav, and to know you are, my queen. Here, work seems to never end. It seems like a thousand years since I saw you: I wish I could make a quick trip to Vienna.
I have some things that the Governor of Bohemia has sent…
A kiss for Vaclav, and to all my regards; And have me, my only treasure, in your good graces. Don’t forget about me. May our Father bless you, and protect you one thousand years.
Your loyal husband, Zdenek
I have the privilege to see the letter and read the translation when I take one of Viking River Cruises specialized excursions in Prague.
After lunch in the Lobkowicz family’s original living quarters and a private concert in the baroque concert hall, I am allowed to roam through the palace. Each room is filled with the family’s priceless collection including paintings, decorative arts, weapons and tableware. An audio guide narrated by family members and the museum curator is provided making the experience even more personal.
The collection is the oldest and largest private collection in the Czech Republic. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the history of Europe through the perspective of the Lobkowicz family.
As described in museum literature: “Highlights from the Museum include works by masters such as Canaletto, Brueghel the Elder, Cranach, and Velázquez; an impressive display of family and royal portraits; fine porcelain, ceramics and rare decorative arts dating from the 13th to 20th centuries; an extensive collection of military and sporting rifles from the 16th to 18th centuries; and musical instruments and original scores and manuscripts by Beethoven and Mozart, including Beethoven’s 4th and 5th symphonies and Mozart’s re-orchestration of Handel’s Messiah.”
Each portrait of a Lobkowicz ancestor, items of religious significance, and other personal items lead to an understanding of European history and the 700 year history of the family.
The collection survived through the centuries including during the Nazi and Communist eras. The palace and collection was finally returned to the family in recent years.
It is a privilege to understand a little of the graciousness of the family and its importance in European history; a privilege, for an afternoon, to be a guest in this opulent palace.