Archduke Karl married Princess Zita von Bourbon-Parma of Parma (1892-1989). in 1911. er parents were Duke of Bourbon-Parma (1848- ) and Maria Antonia de Bragança of Portugal (1862- ). I know little about Princess Zita at this time. Karl and Zita had eight children. The oldest who became Crown Prince was Otto. She became emperess during World war I when her husband replace Franz Joseph as Emperor (1916) She was involved in children's charities. She agreed with her husband that the War had to be resolved with a negotiated settlement. They hoped to use her brother, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma as an intermediary. Her husband failed in his efforts to end the War and as a result he was forced to abdigate.
Princess Zita's fther was the Duke of Bourbon-Parma (1848- ). His parents were Charles III de Bourbon of Parma (1823- ) and Louise du Berry (1819- ).
Zita's mother was Princess Maria Antonia de Bragança of Portugal (1862- ).
Her parents were King Miguel I de Bragança (1802) and Adelheid Rosenberg (1831- ).
Crown Prince Rudolf and Baroness Marie Vetsera committed suiside at mayerling in one of the great love tragedies of the 19th century (1889). Runors abound as to what actually occurred. Empress Zita was one of many who proposed conspiratorial theories. She was convinced that the death of Rudolf and Marie wre the result of an international conspiracy orchestrated by Georges Clemenceau, the French Prime Minister. Zita could not understand how Rudolf destined to become emperor would have shot himself. According to Zita, Clemenceau was plotting to overthrow Emperor Franz Joseph so that germanophobe Rudolf would become emperor. This would have allowed Austria to break the German alliance and sign a new alliance with France. Zita insisted that Rudolf refused to participate and was murdered to ensure that he would not leak details of the plot. We know of no evidence to support that such a plot actully took place.
Charles I or Karl I (Charles IV of Hungary) (1887-1922) was another of Francis Joseph's nephews. At thectime Karl and Zita met, neither thoufht that he woyld one day be emperor. He was only sixth in line to inherit the throne, but the more senior family members invalidated their claims by marrying commoners or were not suitable. Karl served in the Army, but favored a negotiated end to the War. He was to be the last Habsburg ruller of Austria.
Karl and Zita had eight children. The eldest were two boys (Otto and Robert) and a girl (Adelheid). The eldest was Prince Otto (named after his grandfather) who was born in 1912. Grand Duchness Adelheid was born a year later in 1913, and Robert the second son was born in 1915. Charles and Zita's children came about one a year.
I have no information at his time
on the Emperess or on her relationship with the children. Judging from the available photographs she was very much involved with the children and their upbringing. He married Princess Zita . I know little about Princess Zita at this time.
The royal family raised their eight children in a deeply religious Catholic environment. The family had to deal with war, revolution, and exile which would fundamentlly change the Hapsburg family and Austria itself. Religion was an important part of the royal family's life. Karl and Zita held family devotions, including the Rosary, novenas, and Scripture readings. There were family catechism lessons, daily Mass, and various pious practices that had been developed by the Habsburg family over its long history. These included Pietas Austriaca (devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Cross, the Immaculate Conception, and Corpus Christi). It was a close family with the Emperor and Empress deeply devoted to their children. The photographic record provide some tendender images of the parents with their children and of the children playing hapily together.
Zita appears to have been a very fashionably lady. She dressed very stylishly and insisted on stylish clothes for the children. Her flare for fashion is readily observable in the children's clothes. They were much more fashionably dressed than the children of German Emperor Wilhelm II. She commonly dressed the children in identical or coordinated outfits.
Emperess Zita believed in lon hair styles for her children, especially the boys. I am not sure if Emperor Karl agreed pr discussed the issue with his wife, but he apparently acquiesed in the matter. This as especially the case for Crown Prince Otto. He wore his hair long for severl year after breaching, even apparently as a yoing teenager. His mother nev curled his hair, but it was left quite long. Otto in many photographs hs longer haot than his sisters. It was quite common in the early 20th century for mother who kept their sons hair long to style the hair of sons and daughters differently. It was, however, not that common to have longer styles for boys than girls.
Zita became emperess during World War I when her husband replace Franz Joseph as Emperor (1916)
Emperess Zita was involved in children's charities during World war I. She helped raise funds with a lottery, The 1916 lottery ticket here has the portrait of her elest son--Archduke Otto. I am not sure when Kindetag (Children's Day) was or what transpired on that day. Zita agreed with her husband that the War had to be resolved with a negotiated settlement. They hoped to use her brother, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma as an intermediary. Her husband failed in his efforts to end the War and as a result he was forced to abdigate. She did agree with her husband that the War had to be resolved with a negotiated settlement. As a result of the French ties of her family, Emperor Karl hoped to use her brother, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma as an intermediary. As a result of the War, Emperor Karl had to addigate the throne.
Karl's effort to restablish a monarch failed (1921). The British exiled him to Maderia whre he died. Zita was left with the resonsibility of raising their children. We note the family living with the Emperor in Switzerland and Portugal (Maderia). The Habsburg Law of 1918 stated that Emperor Karl's descendants could not return to Austria until they renounced their royal claims and accepted the status of private citizens in the Austrian republic. We have some information on where the family lived, but we are not yet sure about 1923 (figure 1). The photographer was based in Vienna, but we are not suire where he took the photograph.
King Alfonso's of Spain stepped into to assist the widi\owed Emperess Zita and the chukdren. He made the Palacio Uribarren at Lekeitio on the Bay of Biscay available to them They lived there for the next 6 years. She focused on the children and gave great attention to the children. She ensured that a strict regime, was observed. They did not attend a school, but were educated in the Palacio by tutors. Special attention was given to Otto. Zita loved to have them photographed all together. Sometimes she lined them all up in prder og height which meant Ottom would be ar one end and Elizabeth at the other. While they lived in the Palacio, money was still scarce. They had some income from property the family owned in Austria. There was also some income from a vineyard in Johannisberg and voluntary collections. They had enough for their own upkeep, but Zita received countless pleas for money from other exiled Habsburg family members as well as former Imperial officials who had served the family.
The family moved to Steenokkerzeel, a small Belgian town iutsude Brussels (1929). The family had close relatives in Belgium. And the older children entered the university there.
The Royal Family was forced to flee Belgium when the Germans invaded (May 10, 1940). German bombers hit the castle where they were staying. I do not know that this was an attemopt to kill the royal family, but they were outspoken anti-NAZIs. Perhaps readers will know the details of this incident. The family fled south to France. Zita's brother Prince Xavier put them up in a castle located in Bostz. Unlike World War I, this time there was no miracle on the Marne. Marshal Philippe Petain took power and moved to sign an armistice with the Germans. This meant that they would not be safe in France. Zita and the children headed for the Spanish frontier which they reached (May 18). They continued on to Portugal. The U.S. Government granted the family entry visas (July 9). After a perilous sea journey through U-boat infested waters, they reached New York (July 27). They had relatives in Long Island and Newark, New Jersey. They lived for a time as house-guests in Tuxedo Park, Suffern, New York.
Emperess Zita eventuallydecided to settle the family in Quebec (??? 1940). Quebec had the advantage of being French-speaking. The younger children in particular were still learning English. Almost all of their income was cut iff by the NAZIs. As a result, money was very short. Often there was little money even for food. Tghe boys, however, joined the U.S. Army and thus some funds were available. They settled in Quebec City and they live as the Family De Koninck. This family is well known in Québec. Some of the children attended the Université Laval. The Education Pavillion is named De Koninck and their surnames are a kind of dedication the the imperial family of Austria (Rodolphe and Zita).
The royal family was staunchly anti-NAZI. The NAZIs hoped to arrest Otto and execute him. Felix, Karl, and Rudolf were briefly training with a U.S. Army Free Austria Brigade. Otto promoted the idea of a Hapsburg role in Europe after the War. He met with President Roosevelt on several occassions. Robert was the Habsburg representative in London. Carl Ludwig and Felix joined the United States Army. They served with several American-raised relatives of the Mauerer line. Zita began to promote the Brigade as a U.S. effort to restore Otto to the throne. When the idea of the Brigade proved unpopular, the Army quietely dropped it. Rudolf entered Austria in the final days of the war to help organize the resistance.
Jacobs, Tevie. "When The Grand Dukes Drilled In Indiana," The Indianapolis Star Sunday Magazine, August 15, 1971.
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