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The House of Habsburg-Lothringen (originally Austria-Lothringen ) was created in 1736 when Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria (1717–1780) married Duke Franz Stephan of Lothringen (1708–1765) from the House of Châtenois ( Vaudémont branch ).

Double-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire with Austria-Lorraine alliance coat of arms , on the lapel of a ducat of Joseph II. Obverse : portrait , A = Vienna. Obverse inscription: IOS [EPHUS] II D [EI] G [RATIA] R [OMANORVM] I [MPERATOR] S [EMPER] A [VGVSTVS] GE [RMANIÆ] HV [NGARIÆ] BO [HEMIÆ] REX. (Joseph II, by the grace of God Roman emperor , always a member of the empire , king of Germany , Hungary , Bohemia .) Reverse inscription: ARCH [IDVX] A [VSTRIÆ] D [VX] BVRG [VNDIÆ] LOTH [ARINGIÆ] M [ AGNUS] D [UX] H [ETRURIÆ] 1787. (Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy , Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany , 1787.)



After the Spanish line of the Casa de Austria had died out in 1700 with the death of King Charles II , it became extinct with the death of Emperor Charles VI. 1740 also the remaining Austrian branch in the male line. The inheritance came on the basis of a state and constitutional treaty, the Pragmatic Sanction , to Karl's eldest daughter Maria Theresa, who was married to Franz Stephan von Lothringen . In order to be able to enforce the claims of the House of Austria, namely to the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia as well as to the imperial title, the new dynasty was given the designation Austria-Lothringen (later Habsburg-Austria-Lothringen or Habsburg-Lothringen), although it was male Line represents the continuation of the House of Lorraine.

During the War of the Austrian Succession , Maria Theresa was able to largely enforce her claims, but the Duchy of Silesia was annexed by Frederick II of Prussia . When Franz Stephan married, under pressure from France, Franz Stephan had to exchange the inherited Duchy of Lorraine for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (see list of rulers of Tuscany ). Nevertheless, he was able to become Emperor Franz I in 1745 because he still owned the small county of Falkenstein in the empire . His legacy also included the obsolete title of King of Jerusalem .


Coat of arms Habsburg Austria Lorraine on double-headed eagle (1815)

In addition to Maria Theresa (1740–1780), a total of seven male members of the dynasty ruled in the remaining states of the House of Austria until the fall of the monarchy in 1918, among others the titles of Roman Emperor (until 1806) and Emperor of Austria (from 1804 ), King of Hungary (see List of Rulers of Hungary ) and King of Bohemia (see List of Bohemian Rulers ) wore:

  • Franz I, 1745–1765 as co-regent of Maria Theresa
  • Joseph II , eldest son of Franz I and Maria Theresa, 1765–1780 as co-regent of the mother, 1780–1790 as sole ruler
  • Leopold II , brother of Joseph II, 1790–1792
  • Franz II / I. , Son of Leopold II, 1792–1835
  • Ferdinand I. , son of Franz II./I., 1835–1848
  • Franz Joseph I , nephew of Ferdinand I, 1848–1916
  • Charles I./IV. , Great-nephew of Franz Joseph I, 1916–1918

The Austrian Empire, founded in 1804 as a unified state, was converted into the Real Union of Austria-Hungary (unofficially k. U. K. Dual monarchy) after its defeat in the Austro - Prussian War in 1867 .

Female members of the ore house married into numerous European ruling dynasties. So climbed Marie-Antoinette as Queen and Marie-Louise as Empress the throne of France, Maria Carolina as Queen the throne of Naples and Sicily and Maria Leopoldina as Empress to the throne of Brazil .

End of rule

family tree

The Real Union was terminated by the Kingdom of Hungary on October 31, 1918 a few days before the end of the First World War . In Vienna on November 11, 1918, Emperor Charles I renounced "any share in state affairs". As King Charles IV of Hungary, he renounced Eckartsau Castle on November 13, 1918 . Since the emperor did not want to abdicate, after his departure to Switzerland on April 3, 1919, the Austrian Habsburg law expelled him permanently.

When Karl tried twice in Hungary in 1921 to take the royal throne again, he was banished to Madeira by the Triple Entente , the victors of the First World War . In Hungary, the dynasty was permanently removed from the royal throne (which subsequently remained vacant) with the Dethronization Act passed in 1921.

Claims to power

Karl I's son Otto von Habsburg (1912–2011) called himself Archduke of Austria in his younger years, was perceived as a pretender to the throne and held talks about the future of the country in the USA during World War II. For him, the rule of the Habsburg Law applied that he was only allowed to enter Austria after renouncing claims to power. In 1961 he made his declaration of renunciation to the federal government and has been allowed to enter Austria since 1966. In 2007, Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, his official name in Austria, passed on his position as head of the family to his son Karl Habsburg-Lothringen (* 1961); Claims to power are no longer associated with it.

Unequal family members

According to the Supreme Family Statute (see Imperial Austrian Family Statute ), family members who go back to the morganatic marriage of an Archduke with a woman who was not befitting of her class were designated as “not equal” (only women from ruling or formerly ruling houses were befitting). The following cases are known:

  • Archduke Johann , son of Leopold II and brother Franz II / I, married the Styrian postmaster's daughter Anna Plochl in 1829 . Both son Franz was ennobled as Count of Meran by Johann's nephew Ferdinand I in 1844 , Anna Plochl, Baroness von Brandhofen since 1834, raised by Franz Joseph I to Countess of Meran in 1850. The conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt came from this family.
  • Archduke heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand married the Bohemian Countess Sophie Chotek von Chotkowa and Wognin in 1900 after strong resistance from Franz Joseph I. He had to renounce all succession rights for his three children born in the next few years in a solemn "act of renunciation". Countess Chotek was made princess, in 1909 Duchess of Hohenberg . She was murdered with Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo.
  • Franz Ferdinand's brother, Archduke Ferdinand Karl , secretly married the professor's daughter Berta Czuber in Switzerland in 1909. In 1911 he was forced to leave the House of Habsburg-Lothringen and then called himself Ferdinand Burg.
  • Archduke Johann Salvator of Austria-Tuscany asked to be released from the imperial family after a military career in 1889 and now called himself Johann Orth. In the same year he married the Viennese court opera dancer Milli Stubel in London, bought a ship and went on a sea voyage to South America with his wife. In 1890 the ship probably sank in a storm and the childless couple died.

A comparable case of a female family member was the morganatic marriage of Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria , Duchess of Parma and Piacenza, who married Count Adam Albert von Neipperg after the death of Napoleon I. From this marriage the house of Montenuovo emerged.

Dynasty coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Habsburg-Lothringen dynasty, established in 1806, is split twice; in front on a golden background a blue-crowned, blue-armored and blue-tongued red lion (Habsburg, Althabsburg ), in the middle on a red background a silver bar (Austria, binding shield , red-white-red ), behind on a golden background a red sloping bar, following the direction of the bar topped with three mutilated silver eagles (Lorraine). The coat of arms was carried on an imperial double-headed eagle and in this form, in addition to its function as a family coat of arms, since 1806 it was also the "small coat of arms" of the Austrian Empire .

See also