On January 3rd, 2001, The Today Show first aired its broadcast “Lobkowicz Family Return to Bohemia” featuring Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, taking a guided tour of Nelahozeves Castle with Prince William Lobkowicz, a descendant of the Czech noble family forced into exile in 1948 following the nationalization of the family property.
The video is remarkable for telling the story behind the Lobkowicz family’s fairy-tale return to Prague to regain its collections and properties, while offering a behind-the-scenes look into the family’s not so fairy-tale home life in a modest Prague apartment.
Eagled-eyed viewers will also spot some footage of celebrity tourist, Gene Hackman, in the video. (Film geeks take note, Wes Anderson would later use a replica of a 17th-century boar painting on view in the castle’s hunting room in a scene from his 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel).
After the fall of the communist government, the Boston-born, Harvard-educated Lobkowicz and his wife Alexandra returned to the Czech Republic to manage the family’s property which includes castles in Nelahozeves, Roudnice nad Labem, and Střekov, as well as wine cellars and a brewery in Vysoký Chlumec in Příbram.
The most precious objects from the family castles all over Bohemia, known as the Lobkowicz Collections, were eventually brought to the ancestral Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle, where they were made available to the public in the family museum after more than 50 years.
The Lobkowicz Collections, the oldest and largest privately owned art collection in the Czech Republic comprises approximately 1,500 paintings, including works by Bruegel the Elder and Canaletto and manuscripts of Mozart and Beethoven compositions.
The Renaissance castle featured in the video, exhibits how a noble family lived in the 19th century. Twelve period decorated rooms containing works by Rubens, Veronese, and Cranach are part of its collection of artworks. It is located 25 km north of Prague.
The family is currently developing the Lobkowicz Library and Study Center, an international center for the study of European cultural heritage, in partnership with universities throughout the world.
The Lobkowicz name is also attached to the development of the Dvořák House and Music Academy, a museum dedicated to renowned Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904), who was born in the village of Nelahozeves in a Baroque house adjacent to the castle.
For more information about the Lobkowicz family history or to visit Nelahozeves Castle see here.