Archduke Franz-Ferdinand: Children

Figure 1.--This is Franz Ferdinand's family, we think in 1913 or 14. Prince Sophia is dressed like her brothers in a sailor suit. We are nor sure who the older woman is betweem Countess Sophie and the Archduke, perhapd Sophie's mother. Notice how happy Sophie and the children look.

HBRC does not yet have much information on Archduke Francis Ferdinand and Sofia's children. We know that the royal couple had four children. They were styled von Hohenberg, the title given to their mother. Because of their mother's low rank, the children were not given royal status. There father was in line to inheit the imperil throne after Emperor Franz Joseph. The children were, however, excluded from the sucession. We have little information about the children or what happened to them after their parents were assasinated (1914). Of course their parents morgatic marriage would have been reen to have been a great tragedy for them, but within only a few yearts the Austro-Hungarian Empire would be gone and all dynasstic claims meaningless

The Children

Archduke France Ferdinand and Countess Sophia had four children, three boys a a girl. WE do not know a great deal about them, but have some basic information. Like many European royals, their live were significantky disrupted by World War I. In their case they were orphaned. Their mother was shunned by the Hapsburgs and their status did not improve after their oarents were assasinated. They did not fare well after the Anschluss during the NAZI era. As Duke Maximillian was an outspoke crtic of the NAZIs they were arrested and interned in Caccau. Some of their children were killed during World War II serving with the German military.

Princess Sophie von Hohenberg (1901-90)

Princess Sophie von Hohenberg (1901-90) was the oldest child. Sophie was born at Konopiste (1901). Her father doted on her just as he did his wife. She married Count Friedrich von Nostitz-Rieneck (1891-1973) after the War. He was the son of Count Erwein Felix von Nostitz-Rieneck and Countess Amalia von Podstatzky-Lichtenstein. This made her Gräfin von Nostitz-Rieneck. They had four children. Count Erwein Maximilian Franz Peter Paul Hubertus Konrad Maria von Nostitz-Rieneck (1921–1949) was captured by the Soviets during World War II. He died in a Soviet POW camp in Wysoki, Russia (1949). Count Franz von Assisi Friedrich Ernst Leopold Josef Maria von Nostitz-Rieneck (1923–1945) was killed on the Eastern Front at the end if World War II. Count Aloys Karl Joseph Maria von Nostitz-Rieneck (1925–2003) married Countess Theresia von Waldburg-Zeil (1931- ) (1962). She was the daughter of Erichs von Waldburg. Countess Sophie Amalia Theresia Quirinia Henriette Lucretia Magdalena Maria Ignatia von Nostitz-Rieneck (1929- ) married Baron Ernst von Gudenus (1916–1972) (1953).

Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg (1902-62)

Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg (1902-62), married Countess Elisabeth von Waldburg zu Wolfegg und Waldsee (1904-93) (1926). They had six children, all sons guven the rank of with the rank of Serene Highness. Franz, Duke of Hohenberg, (1927-77) married Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg and Bourbon-Parma (1922--). He became duke (1962). They had two children. Georg, Duke of Hohenberg, (1929- ) married Princess Eleonore von Auersperg-Breunner (1928- ). He became Austrian Ambassador to the Holy See. He became duke (1977). They had three children. Prince Albrecht von Hohenberg (1931- ) married Countess Leontine von Cassis-Faraone. They had two children. Prince Johannes von Hohenberg (1933-2003) married Elisabeth Meilinger-Rehrl (1947-). They had children. Prince Peter von Hohenberg (1936- ) married Christine-Maria Meilinger-Rehrl (born Bramberg-Weyerhof, 1945). He was a Knight of Malta, KCSG. They had children. Prince Gerhard von Hohenberg was born (1941). He did not have children. .

Prince Ernst von Hohenberg (1904-54)

Prince Ernst von Hohenberg (1904-54), married Marie-Therese Wood (1910-85) (1936). The couple had two children. HSH Prince Franz Ferdinand Maximilian Georg Ernst Maria Josef Zacharius Ignaz von Hohenberg (1937-78) married Heide Zechling. Their son HSH Prince Franz Ferdinand Karl Georg Ernst von Hohenberg (1969- ) married Christiane Pirker. Tere were no children. HSH Prince Ernst Georg Elemer Albert Josef Antonius Peregrinus Rupertus Maria von Hohenberg (1944- ) married Patricia Anette Caesar (1973). They divorced (1999) They had children. He married Margareta Anna Ndisi (2007). HSH Princess Eva Anne Maria von Hohenberg (1974- ). Prince Ernst died at Graz in 1954, aged 49 years.

Stillborn Son (1908)

There was also a stillborn son (1908)..

After the Assaination (1914-18)

The children were kept together for many years after the assasination. As a result of the tension caused by his marriage, Franz Ferdinand preferred to stay at Konopiste rather than at his official residence, the Belvedere in Vienna. When he and his wife left for Sarajevo that fateful June, they intended to return in just a few days. The children were left behind in the care of nannies. But Franz Ferdinand and Sophie died at Sarajevo and his children inherited Konopiste Castle, which he had bought with money from the sale of properties in Italy that he had inherited from his uncle, Francesco V d’Este. Sophie and her brothers (Maximilian and Ernst) after the assasination of their parentswere orphans. Their parents were not popular at Court. They were taken in by their father's close friend and shooting partner Prince Jaroslav von Thun und Hohenstein. Their parents had property, but with the disolution of the Empire at the end if World war I, the new Czech Repubic expropriated their properties in Czechoslovakia including Konopiště and Chlumec nad Cidlinou.

After the War (1919)

The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye carved up the old Hapsburg empire into new states: Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and parts of Poland (1919). The Hapsburg family, which had ruled that part of Europe for more than 600 years, was stripped of its properties and titles. Franz Ferdinand’s children had already been turned out of their parents’ beloved home, Konopiste Castle, in the empire’s province of Bohemia, now the Czech Republic. It was taken by the state. They had to leave Konopiste with a small little suitcase and the suitcase was searched to be sure that they didn’t take any valuable items. The family tried at one time to recover some of the family’s personal belongings but was refused. The family whole history, their private history, the letters, the photos, was all left at Konopiste. The new Republic of Austria seized all of the Hapsburg palaces there but left Franz Ferdinand’s children with the Hohenberg properties, which included the Arstetten Castle where Franz Ferdinand and his wife are buried and where Princess von Hohenberg’s sister, Anita, lives today. The children were sent to live in Arstetten Castle. The eldest, Sophie, was 17 at the time. The children moved to Vienna and lived in Schloß Artstetten. All three children married and made a new life in Austria.

NAZI Anschluss and Daccau (1938)

Duke Maximilian was an ardent Austrian nationalist. He was a prominant public opponent to the NAZIs and the Anschluss. The NAZI Anschluss thus affected their status when Austria suddenly became at of the Third Reich. The NAZIs had a list of individuals to settle scores with with when they marched into Austria. We are not sure just who was arrested. We know the Gestapo arrested Duke Maximilian and Erest in Vienna. I think they arrested Sophia as well. We are less sure about their families. Two of Sophia's boys were killed in the War. The NAZIs tried to arrest other Hapsburgs. Crown-Prince Otto spent most of the war years in Washington, D.C. (1940–44), after escaping from Belgium to Paris with his mother, former Empress Zita. They NAZIS interned the Hohenbergs in Dachau concentration camp for 7 years. Their Austrian properties were confiscated in 1939. Daccau in Bacaria was of course a deadly place. It was the first NAZI concentration camp and the template for the entire NAZI system of concentratiion camps. Most vocal opponents of the NAZIs did not survive. Thousands were simplly killed there. Conditions were so severe that most individuals for any time died there even if not executed. There were accomodations in Daccau for high-value individuals that were held in conditions that were survivable. Several other royals and other prominnt individuals were held sat Daccau. We do not have details on their experiences, Maximilian had a son in 1941, presumably at Daccau. One report says that they never really recovered fully from the experience. Ernest in particular died at a realitively young age. Their properties were returned after the end of the War and the demise of the NAZIs (1945).


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Created: January 28, 2003
Last updated: 11:41 PM 5/18/2011