European Royalty: Austria


Figure 1.--Sailor suits were popular among royalty all over Europe, even in countries like Austria-Hingary with small navies. This picture was taken about 1881 and shows Karl, the future Charles I--the last Emperor of the Austian-Hungarian Empire. Note the striped dicky which is characterictic of Austrian sailor suits.

One of the longest ruling European royal families and the most powerful were the Hapsburgs. This renowened family of German origins was in various periods the ruling family of Germany, as a separate family and as part of the Holy Roman Empire. They also ruled Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Spain, and many smaller Euroean realms. The story of the Hapsburgs was in fact the history of Europe for centuries. Some of the most powerful Hapsburgs were the Spanish kings, Charles I (Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor), Philip I, Philip II, and Philip III. The Holy Roman Empire was disbanded in 1806 to ensure that Napoleon couldn't ascend the throne. We have some information about the family of the last Habsburg Emperor of Austria Hungary. The dress of the Austrian royal family appears to have influenced how wealthy families dressed boys within the Empire, but in recentb years do not seem to have had any great influence on European styles in general or on the clothes of other social strata.

The Hapsburgs

One of the longest ruling European royal families and the most powerful were the Hapsburgs. The Hapsburgs often dominated European history from the 16th to the 19th century. Even in their declining years of Hapsburg rule, the family played a key role in the 20th century. It was the assasination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand that was to lead to World War I. Like the Hohenzollerns, the Hapsburgs took their name from a family castle in Medieval Germany. This renowened family of German origins was in various periods the ruling family of Germany, as a separate family and as part of the Holy Roman Empire. It was the Hapsburgs who stopped the advance of the Ottimans into Christain Europe. The heighth of the dynasty's powers came in the 15th and 16th centuries with Philip I and Charles V who united Germany and Spain making the Hapsburgs the doiminate power in Europe. His son Philip II comanded vast armies and navies, but their blind religious faith was to lead to devestating religious wars in Germany and Spain becoming a backwater of Europe. Most European ruling families are associated primarily with one coutry. The Hapsburgs, while of German roots, ruled over many European countries. The Hapsburgs ruled Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, the Netherland, Spain, and many smaller European principalities--not to mention Mexico for a few years. The story of the Hapsburgs is in fact the history of Europe for centuries.

Historical Background

The history of the Austrian Empire and subsequently the Austro-Hungarian Empire is difficult to write. This is because modern histofrianns and readers are used to history through an often highly colored national lens. The Austrian/Austro-Hungarian Empire in contrast was a polugot construction of peoples with different cultureas, religion, ethnicity, and historical experiences. These people had national experiences before they were bsorbed by Hapsburg Austria and then after World War I once sparated from the Hapsburgs. The Hapsburgs were able to acquire the title of emperor through their preminent position within the Holy Roman Empire. Only with Maria Theresa, who could not be the Holy Roman Emperor because of her gender, did the Austria Empire come into existence. And then with Austra's defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, constitutional changes forged the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The rising nationlist tensions within the Empire led to World War I and the destruction of the Empire. This left the relatively small German portion of the Empire to declare the Austrian Republic.

Curse of the Hapsburgs

Many would have said that the unprecdented list of family disasters that was to torment the last major Hapsburg, Francis Joseph, was due to the curse of the Hapsburgs. The curse was uttered by the aging Countess Carolyn Korolyi, whose son was executed for participating in the Hungarian national auprising of 1848. (The Hungarians were trying to break away from the Ausrto-Hungarian Empire.) The Countess called on "... heven and hell to blast the happiness of the emperor, to strike him through those that he loved, to wreck his life and ruin his children."

Hapsburg Monarchs


Maria Theresa (1740-1780)

Maria Theresia was born in 1717. She played a central part in the history of the 18th century. She became Archduchess of Austria at the death of her father Charles VI when she was only 23. She also became Queen of Hungary in 1741 and Queen of Bohemia in 1743. During her reign she was always actively involved in state affairs and Austria went through major social and economic reforms. Austria under Maria Thresa lost several military engagements with the expanding Prussian power to the north, especially during the reign of Frederick the Great. The Emperess had to make territorial concessions. She married Francis of Lotharingen in 1736. He was elected Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and crowned in Frankfurt during 1745. They had 16 children, prividing numerous dynastic links to the royal houses throughout Europe. One of her children was the unfortunate Marie-Antoinette who mairred Louis XVI of France. Maria Theresia is also remembered as the monarch before whom the prodigy Mozart performed in 1762.

Emperor Josef II (1765-90)

Josef was born in 1741 the oldest son of Maria Theresa and her husband Francis. He ruled jointly with his mother when he became emperor (1765).

Emperor Leopold II (1790-92)

Leopold was born in 1747. The second son of Mperess Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. Leopold married Maria Luisa de Bourbon of Spain in 1765. They had seven children, including Emperor Francis /Franz II who played a major role in the Napoleonic Wars. Austria in the 18th century controlled large areas of northern Italy. Leopold as the younger brother of Maria Theresa was made Duke of Tuscany which he rules from Florence. Historians generally favorably evaluate Leopold's rule in Tuscany. He appearss to have been a progressive ruler, initiating many reforms. Leopold was emperor for a brief period, however, he ruled in tumultous times. He became emperir a year after the French Revolution. Leopold became Emperor on the death of his older brother Joseph II (1790). Upon becoming Emperor, Leopold cancelled many reforms instituted by his brother. Leopold played a major role in launching the wars of the French Revolution. Queen Marie Antoinette in France was his sister. To assist her and his brother-in law King Louis XVI, when he helped organize the Declaration of Pillnitz.

Francis II (1792-1835)

Franceis was born in 1768. His father was Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor (1747- ). His mother was Maria Luisa of Spain (Bourbon) (1745- ). He acceded to the throne in 1792. He abdicated as Holy Roman Emperor in 1806 and Austrian Emperor 1804. He mairred Elizabeth Wilhelmine von Wurttemberg (1788- ). They had one child: Ludovika (1790- ). He then married Maria Theresa of Naples (1790- ). They had 13 children: Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria (1791- ), Eperor Ferdinand I (1793- ), Caroline (1794- ), Caroline (1795- ), Leopoldine (1797- ), Clementine (1798- ), Joseph (1799- ), Caroline (1801- ), Arch Duke Franz Karl (1802- ), Marie Anna (1804- ), Johann (1805- ), and Amalie (1807- ). Frances married twice more to Marie Ludovika in 1808 and Charlotte of Bavaria in 1816, but had no more children. Two of the children are notable. Ferdinand succeeded his father. Marie Louise married Napoleon I after he divorced Josiphine.

Ferdinand I (1835-1848)

Ferdinand was born in 1793. His father was Holy Roman/Austrian Emperor Francis II (1768- ) and his mother was Maria Theresa of Naplesv (1772- ). He married Maria-Anne-Caroline-Pié in 1831, but had no children. He acceded to the trone in 1835, but abdicated in 1848. He died in 1875.

Franz Karl

Franz Karl was born in 1802. His father was Habsburg-Lotharingen, Francis II, Holy Roman/Austrian Emperor (1768-1878). His mother was Emoperess Maria Theresa (1772- ). He married Sophie Wittelsbach of Bavaria in 1824. They had three children. Franz Josef (1830- ) became Emperor of Austria. Maximilian (1832- ) became Emperor of Mexico. Karl Ludwig (1833- ) became Archduke of Austria. Arch Duke Karl Ludwig married Margaret of Saxony (Wettin) in 1856, but had no children. He then married Annunciata of Sicily (Bourbon) in 1862. They had two children: Francis Ferdinand (1863-1914) and Otto (1865- ). Arch Duke Karl Ludwig married a third time to Maria Teresa da Imaculda (Kleinheubach to de Bragança) in 1873. They had one child, Elisabeth Amalia (1878- ).

Francis Joseph I (1848-1916)

Of all the Hapsburgs, one of the longest ruling was Francis Joseph I (1830-1916). He also proved to be end of the reining monarchs. By uniting himself with the conservative absolutist foces, he preserved the monarchy for over a half century. In the end, however, his refusal to allow basic democratic reforms would eventually lead tonthe end of the monarchy a few years after his death in 1916. Francis Joseph may indeed be the most tragic figure in the twilight of European monarchies. While he reigned for 7 tumultuous decades, his life was filled with tragedy. His brother Maximilian was executed in Mexico. His sonv Rudolf, a man of liberal ideals who might have saved the monarchy, commited suiside in a torrid love affair. His beloved wife Sisi was stabbed by an anarchist. His heir Francis Ferdinand was assasinated. His Empire had alrady begun to crumble in World War I, even before his death. Francis Joseph's rule was both magnificent and at the same time pathetic. The Austrian monarchy was one of the most prestiogious in Europe. The Emperor himself was the most long-lived soverign. Yet he lived to see Austria reduced to a second rate power by Germany, his loved ones die in tragic circumstances, and his Empire begin to desintegrate.


Figure 1.--Crown Prince Rudolf was often photographed in uniform including several ecuestrian photographs like the one here in 1858. She was about 10 years old. teen.

Crown Prince Rudolf

Crown Prince Rudolf was the only son of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth, one of Europe's most beautiful princesses. Rudolf was born on August 21, 1858. I'm not sure how he was dressed as a boy. He was a patron of literature and the arts. He was constantly frustrated by his reactionary father. He colaborated with noted with prominent Austrian scholars in writing the definitive history Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Rudolf married Princess Stephanie of Belgium in 1881. Their marriage, as it happened frequently in the house of Habsburg, was arranged and involved little love between the young couple. Rudolf needed a wife with a more interesting than that of his child-bride. Stephanie was not even 17 years of age at the time of her wedding and she failed to keep her husband from wandering the streets of Vienna in search of licentious enjoyments. Not only did Stephanie have to deal with that problem, but she also encountered the displeaure of the Emperess. Rudolf subsequently became ardently enamored of a beautiful young lady in the court, the Baroness Marie Vetsera, spawning one of the most notorious love affairs of the 19th century. Rudolf was a sick and depressed young man in an uncertain postion, a loveless marriage, wanted love from a distant mother, and felt afraid and unworthy of his father. The Crown Price began the plan to his suicide. At the Christmas Eve celebrations Rudolf created a weeping emotional scene, crying in his mothers arms, he would not stop and he frightened her but she tried to dismiss it. He gave his mother an expensive and heartfelt gift to prove is adoration and love he had for her. She passed it off lightly because she was so preoccupied with Marie Valeries wedding plans. No one took seriously the 31 year old princes frequent mentions of his imminent death . It seemed odd that for a women who was so sympathic and sentive to others could not comrehend or would remain so blind to the cries her her own children. Rufolf's relationship wiyh the Baroness ended tragically when the Crown Prince probably shot himself. It was presumably a mutual suicide of lovers. In appears to have been one of the world's great love tragedies, the couple committed suicide in a hunting lodge at his country estate, Mayerling in 1889. Many theories of international intrigue, however, surrond the affair. The Austrian Government officially announced the lovers were in dispair because the Emperor ordered them to terminate the affair. All investigation were supressed and rumors of foul play have persisted to this day. The deaths at Mayerling took away the security of the imperial succession that Franz-Joseph had provided. Mayerling will forever hold the sign of tragedy and despair that later engulfed the Habsburg family. Rudolf's death brought ruin to his parents' marriage, uncertainty over the imperial succession, and ultimately the end of the ancient house of Habsburg. If he had not met with an untimely demise, Europe's history would have been tremendously different. Mayerling not only meant the death of two love struck people, it also robbed the Habsburgs of the one person who seemed most capable of keeping the tattered multinational monarchy from its eventual disintegration and collapse.

Archduke Karl Lugwig

Next in line to the Austrian succession was Franz Josef's brother Karl Ludwig (1833- ). (He is commonly called Charles Louis in English. With the seath of Franz Joseph's only son, the line of secession reverted to the Emperor's brothers. Maximillian was executed by firing squad in Mexico. This left Karl Ludwig as heir apparent. He renounced his succession rights after only a few days in favour of his eldest son Franz Ferdinand. Karl Ludwig married three times. The first marriage was with his first cousin Margaretha of Saxony (1840-1858) (1856). She was the daughter of Johann of Saxony (1801-1873) and Amalie Auguste of Bavaria (1801-77). She died only 2 years later and they had no children. The most important marriage was with Annunciata of Sicily de Bourbon in 1862. The royal couple had four children. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (1863-1914) married morganatically to Sophie Chotek. Archduke Otto Franz of Austria (1865-1906) married Maria Josepha of Saxony. Their children included the future Emperor Karl I of Austria. Archduke Ferdinand Karl of Austria (1868-1915) married morganatically to Bertha Czuber. Archduchess Margarete Sophie of Austria (1870-1902) married Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg. Maria Annunziata died (May 4, 1871. Archduke Karl Ludwig married again (1873). His third wife was Maria Theresa of Portugal (1855-1944), daughter of King Miguel I of Portugal (1802-1866) and Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1831-1909). They had two daughters. Archduchess Maria Annunziata of Austria (1876-1961) became Abbess of the Theresia Convent in the Hradschin, Prague. Archduchess Elisabeth Amalie of Austria (1878-1960) m Married Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein. They had three children, including Franz Joseph II of Liechtenstein. Archduke Karl Ludwig had to be exiled by his brother because of a scandal. Karl Ludwig died in 1896.


Figure 2.--The Arch Duke Francis Ferdinand is shown here with his family. His sons wore longpants sailor suits. They were denined any rights of sucessuon they might have had because the Emperor considered Countess Sophia a commoner. Note the younger boy's long hair.

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Joseph's nephew Franz Ferdinand was made heir to the throne after the untimely death of Archduke Rudolf. I know little of his childhood or how he was dressed as a boy. Historians have written a great deal about Franz Ferdinand and very little of it has been very positive. Franz Ferdinand has been referred to as a miser, a bigot, and a spoiled child. He was shunned by the elite of Viennese society. One observer called "the loneliest man in Vienna". Francis Ferdinand appears to have lacked the two key elements for success in political life--charm and elegance. His Family life, however, appears to have been surprisingly better. His marriage to Countess Sophia von Chotkowa und Wognin, Duchess of Hohenburg in 1900 was called one of the world's great love affairs. Unfortunately the Emperor considered the Duchess a commoner and tried to convince Franz Ferdinand he was marrying beneath his station. They went through with the marriage against the Emperor's wishes but had to renounce rights of rank and succession for their children. In the years to come, Sophie would not be allowed to ride in the same car with her husband during affairs of state. I do not yet have details on Francis Ferdinand and Sofia's children. There was at least two boys and a girl. Theboys were often dresses alike. Sofia seems to have liked sailor suits even though Austria had only a small navy. The Archduke and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, their 14th wedding anniversary, by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. The Archduke's role of Inspector General of the Austrian army had brought him to Sarajevo for the summer maneuvers. Neither Emperor Franz Josef or the Kaiser saw fit to attend the funeral. A strange reaction when in reaction to the assasination, they were to plunge Europe into the First World War which would result in the end of both the Austrian and German monarchies. Franz Ferdinand was third in line to the throne at one point, he became heir through two untimely deaths. The first was of the Emperor's son, Crown Prince Rudolph, who killed himself (and his 16 year old mistress) in 1889. The second was the death of his father, Archduke Charles Louis, in 1896. After which it was Franz Ferdinand that would be next in line for the Austrian crown.

Karl-Ludwig

The Austro-Hungarian crown would therefore pass to the Emperor's brother, Karl-Ludwig, and eventually to this archduke's descendants. Karl-Ludwig had three sons: Franz-Ferdinand, of a sickly complexion, Otto, of a wild and debauched nature, and Ferdinand-Karl, who was only too ready to give up his imperial rights and become a commoner under the name Ferdinand Burg. Franz-Ferdinand contracted a morganatic marriage in 1900 with Countess Sophie Chotek, his children could not inherit the throne.


Figure 3.--Emperor Charles, Emperess Zita, and Archduke (Crown Prince Otto) are pictured here in their coronation robes in 1916.

Karl I (1916-18)

Charles Francis Joseph, Charles I or Karl I (Charles IV of Hungary) (1887-1922), was another of Francis Joseph's nephews (figure 1). I have few details about how Charles was dressed as a boy. He seems to have passed out of dresses by about 4 yeas of age as he is pictured in a sailor suit with knee pants rather than a skirt in a photograph taken with his mother about 1891. Karl replaced Francis Joseph when the Emperor died in 1916 (figure 4). Even before his death, Francis Joseph had planned to confer the rights of co-regent on Charles. Karl I was the last of the Hapsburg rulers. Although he was the eldest son of the Archduke Otto (and nephew of Francis Ferdinand), he was little known in Europe until he married Princess Zita of Parma. Durng the War he commanded an Austrian Army on the Transylvanian front (Romania), but returned to Vienna to rule after Francis Joseph's death. Both Otto and Zita favored a negotiated end to the War. He favored the French claim, for example to Alsace-Loraine. Their efforts at diplomacy to end the War, however, only allienated their German allies and bear no real fruits. Charles I had many children, the eldest were two boys (Otto and Robert) and a girl (Adelheid) (figure 3). 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 I believe in 1914. Charles and Zita's children came about one a year. Prince Otto was probably the most stylishly dressed boy in Europe. He wore frilly white dresses and short pants suit while a young prince. After the fall of the monarchy, his younger brothers were dressed much more plainly--looking like a typical affluent middle class family.


Figure 4.--Kronprinz (Crown Prince) Otto and Princess Adeleid taken in 1916 before the death of Franz Joesph. Notice the little bows on the dress. Not a very boyish touch. I'm not sure about the color, either white or a pastel.

Otto

Otto was to be the heir to the Hapburg throne. The children were very smartly dressed in many formal and informal photographs. Otto is pictured in a variety of outfits. As a small boy he wore dresses. A family portrait taken when he was about 3 years old shows him wearing a dress. He also wore a dress for the emperor's funeral in 1916 when he was about 4 years old. By about 5 years of age, probably in 1917, Otto began to wear short pants, usually with white ankel socks. Despite beginning to wear knee pants, his mother did not have his curly hair cut until much later. In one photograph he wears a white suit with short pants and a very long blouse with a fancy ruffled collar, white socks and shoes and a straw hat with a ribbon band (figure 5). I don't believe American or British boys wore such long blouses. Their blouses either tucked into or buttoned on to the pants. Empress Zita appears to have liked dressing the children in similar outfits, with Otto in short pants and his sister wearing a skirt. Otto and Adelheid appear in a 1919-20 photograph dressed in blue sailor suits (figure 6). Otto still has his long curls. A photograph taken in Switzerland shows the children fishing with their father in Switzerland during 1920.

Unknown Hapsburgs

We have acquired several portraits of Hapsburgs which we cannot at this timeconnencr to the ruling monarchs. This includes both arch dukes and arch duchesses. We know the names, it is just that we do not know their ancestry so we can connect them with the reigning monarch pages around whom our royalty pages are organized. We would greatly appreace any leads that our readers may have so that we can add the appropriate links. We assume that these unlinked Hap[sburgs are related to younger brothers and sisters of reigning monarchs.

Modern Generation

Time has apparently not been kind to the Habsurgs. Some details about the current generation of Habsburgs include:

Duke Ernst August

The German newspaper Bild reported on February 1, 1999, that Duke Ernst August of Braunschweig and Lueneburg profited from business dealings with the Nazis in the 1930s. The duke's grandson, Prince Ernst of Hanover, issued a statement denying the allegations.

Karl Habsburgs

Karl Habsburg, grandson of last Austro-Hungarian emperor Karl I, On Devecember 1, 1998, denied charges that he deliberately diverted money from the charity World Vision to his political Paneuropa movement. Habsburg, 38, is a member of the European Parliament.

Karl Habsburg-Lothringen

Karl Habsburg-Lothringen, a grandson of Emperor Karl I, was found guilty on July 21, 1998, of attempting to smuggle an antique diadem into Austria. The diadem was discovered in Habsburg-Lothringen's luggage at an Austrian airport in 1996. Habsburg-Lothringen, who was ordered to pay 180,000 schillings (over $14,000) in fines, says he will appeal the verdict.

Austrian Aristocracy

The Austrian nobility (österreichischer Adelis) a very complicated topic in tht Austria is a very small place, but the territiry ruled by the Hpsburgs became a large empire which at times include the Holy Roman Empire, essentially all of modern Germany. nd the Hapsburgs at times ruled pat\rts or all of Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Dalmatia and other territories. Thus many non-Austrian and non-German nobilities were included in what is commonly called the Austrian nobility. It inclluded nobles living in the Habsburg-ruled lands and who owed their allegiance to the Hapsburg dynasty and Emperor. This included many different ethnicities which complicate the topic, especially as ethnicity with is nationalist connottions became increasingly important after the French Revolution. A noble from Galicia (Austrian-controlled Poland), for example, could call himself a Polish noble, but he rightfully belonged to the Austrian nobility as he had to swear allegince to the H[sburg Emperor. World War I brought and end to the Austro-Hungarian Empire abd Hapsburg Monarchy. It was abolished an a small Austrian republic declared after the War. The nobility was also officially abolished (1919). They lost their legal privilges, but remained a respected status group. Austria's system of nobility today is similar to that of Germany, largely owing to the fact that as both countries were for centuries aart of the Holy Roman Empire. Today it is mostly actual Austrian nationals that regard themselves to be part of the Austrian nobility.

Sources

Basic information on Austria-Hungaria is necessary to filly understand the Hapsburg royal family and its collapse it 1918. A excellent German-language source is Mark Cornwall's The Undermining of Austria-Hungary: The Battle for Hearts and Minds (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), 485 pp--ISBN 0-312-23151-2. Guenther Kronenbitter's review proviodes some useful information.






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Created: February 26, 1999
Last updated: 2:10 AM 6/6/2013