Austrian Royalty: Arch Duke Karl Ludwig (1833-96)

Archduke Karl Ludwig was Emperor Francis Joseph's younger brother. As Crown Prince Rudolph, the Emperor's only son, committed suicide and his other brother Maximillian was killed by Mexican revolutionaries, Karl Ludwig was in line to succeed the Emperor. When Karl Ludwig died in Italy (1896), the line of succession went to Karl-Ludwig's descendants, including Francis Ferdinand, his eldest son.


Karl Ludwig was a descendent of one of Europe's most important royal families--the Hapsburgs.


Karl Ludwig's father was Arch Duke Franz Karl (1802). Franz Karl's parents were Emperor Francis II (1768- ) and Maria Theresa of Naples (1772- ). Karl Ludwig's mother was Princess Sophie (Wittelsbach) of Bavaria (1805- ). Sophie's parents were King Maximilian I Joseph (Wittelsbach) King of Bavaria (1756- ) amd Catharine (Zähringen) of Baden (1776- ).


Karl Ludwig (1833-1906) was the youngest son. He had two brothers all three realtively close in age.
Francis Joseph (1830-1816): 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.
Maximillian (1832-67): One brother was the ill-fated Maximilian who the French attempted to install as Emperor of Mexico in 1863. He was shot by Mexican Republican forces in 1867 after the Emperor Napoleon III withdrew French forces.
Karl Ludwig (1833-1906): Karl Ludwig was the youngest brother.


Karl Ludwig was born in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. We have no information on Karl-Ludwig's childhhod at this time.



He had to be exiled after being convicted of taking gross indecencies with a boy at a public bath.

Figure 1.--Emperor Karl I, the son of Arch Duke Otto, is pictured here with his wife and son Prince Otto, at Emperor Francis Joseph's funeral in 1916. Prince Otto wears a white dress with a black morning band. He carries a large floppy whiye hat in his hand.


Archduke Karl Ludwig married three times.

Margaretha of Saxony (1856)

Karl Ludwig's first wife was his first cousin Margaretha of Saxony (1840-1858). Her father was Johann of Saxony (1801-1873) and Amalie Auguste of Bavaria (1801-1877). They married when she was still quite young. The ceremony took place in Dresden (1856). She died 2 years later (1858). Rhere were no children.

Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1862)

Karl Ludwig's second wife was Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1843-1871). Her father was Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies (1810-1859) and Maria Theresa of Austria (1816-1867). They married by proxy in Rome (1862). And later in person in Venice, which at the time was an Austrian possession. They had three sons: Franz-Ferdinand, of a sickly complexion, Otto, of a wild and debauched nature, and Ferdinand-Karl.
Franz-Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand with the suiside of his cousin Crown Prince Rudolf and the death of his father in 1896 stood to inherit the Austro-Hungarian throne. Franz Ferdinand fell in love with Countess Sophie Chotek who was lady-in-waiting to the Archduchess Isabella. The Countess and the Archduke had a secret love-affair, but at Pressburg everything was discovered through a lost locket which contained a photograph of Franz Ferdinand. He then insisted on marrting her. Franz-Ferdinand contracted a morganatic marriage in 1900 with Countess Sophie Chotek. The marriage was a matter of sharp disagreement between Emperoer Franz Josef and his nephew which destoyed their relsationship. Archduke Fran Fedinand een after he became emperor could not inherit the throne. He was killed by Serbian nationalists during a visit to Bosnia setting in motion World War I (1914).
Otto: Otto in comparison to his brother was a handsome young man. his chsracter, however has been variously described. One author phrases it as a wild and debauched nature. Otto married Princess Maria-Jose of Saxony to satisfy the dynasty's pressing need for heirs. The marriage was loveless, and even though two children were born of it, Emperor Karl I and Archduke Ferdinand. Otto never stopped womanizing and enjoying all the pleasures that Vienna offered to a handsome member of the Habsburg dynasty. There were many reports of scandekous behavior. After Franz-Joseph's death in 1916, it was Archduke Otto's son Karl who finally inherited the crown. Archduke Karl in fact was the sixth heir-presumptive to Franz Joseph's throne.
Ferdinand Karl: Ferdinand Karl joined the family's opposition to his older brotger's decesion to marry countess Sophie Chotek. We are not sure about his reasons. Surely the Emperor's decesion was primary. It sestroyed, however, his relationship with his brother. Ironically Ferdinand Karl would face the same problen with the woman that he fell in love with. Facing the precexdent that he supported, he gave up his imperial rights and became a commoner under the name Ferdinand Burg.

Maria Theresa of Portugal (1873)

Karl Ludwig's third wife was Maria Theresa of Portugal (1855-1944). Her father was King Miguel I of Portugal (1802-1866) and Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1831-1909). King Miguel was forced to abdicate at Evoramonte after 3 years of civil war which was won by elder brother, king Pedro IV. Miguel was sent into exile (1834). He at the age of 48 married 20-year old Princess Adelheid of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1851). They had a son and six daughters, including Maria Theresa. Karl Ludwig and Maria Theresa married at Kleinheubach (1873). She was by all accounts a good stepmother and the children by Karl Ludwig's previous marriage were still quite young. Franz Ferdinand, was 10 years old; Otto Franz Josef was 8 years old; Ferdinand Karl Ludwig was 6 years old and Margaretha Sophia was only 3 years old. They all became very close to her. They also became fond of their step sisters when they arrived. The marriage of Karl Ludwig and Maria Annunziata was not a happy one. A close observer describes the marriage, "The Archduke Karl Ludwig, who was a fat old man of brutish instincts, married the Infanta Marie Th^rese of Portugal as his third wife. She was a lovely woman, 15 years younger than her husband, whose chief recreations were riding, shooting, and ill-treating her. When the Archduke died it was generally supposed that his widow would marry her chamberlain, Count Cavriani, and there was a tremendous fuss about it." [Countess Marie Larisch] Even so, Karl Ludwig and Maria Theresa had two girls of their own. Archduchess Maria Annunziata of Austria (1876-1961) became Abbess of the Theresia Convent in the Hradschin, Prague. Archduchess Elisabeth Amalie of Austria (1878-1960) married Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein. Their children included Franz Joseph II of Liechtenstein. Franz Ferdinand became devoted of his step-mother. Maria Teresa was very supportive of her step son when he became enfactuated with Countess Sophia Chotek. Maria Theresa Maria Teresa with her daughters Annunziata and Elisabeth attended the wedding with the Emperor refused to attend.


Archduke Karl Ludwig although unwill traveled to the Holylands. There he apparently drank water which made him ill while on a 3-day horse back expecition to the Dead Sea. It is belived that he alreadt has tuburculosis. He returned home although the sickness was not believed to be critical. He died of typhoid at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna (1896) His widow, Maria Teresa, survided him and died decades later (1944).


While Karl Ludwig played only a minor role in Austrian affairs, he himself became very important in terms of dynastic succession. When Francis Joseph's only son Crown Prince Rudolf killed himself in 1889, the succession then went to Arch Duke Karl Ludwig and after his death in 1896 to his discendents. His eldest son was Franz Ferdinand who became heir to the throne, but was assasinated by Serbian revolutionaries in 1914, setting off World War I.


Countess Marie Larisch. My Past (London 1913). (Nee Baroness von Wallersee). She was the niece of the Emperess Elizabeth and daughter if Duke Ludwig of Bavaria.)


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Created: February 26, 1999
Last updated: 8:03 PM 5/19/2011