Zita from Bourbon-Parma
Zita Maria delle Grazie Habsburg-Lothringen, b. von Bourbon-Parma (* May 9, 1892 in Camaiore (Capezzano Pianore district), Italy , as Zita Maria delle Grazie Adelgonda Micaela Raffaela Gabriella Giuseppina Antonia Luisa Agnese; † March 14, 1989 in Zizers , Switzerland ), was the wife of Charles I ./IV. from 1916 to 1918 last empress (imperial wife) of Austria and until 1921 apostolic queen (king's wife ) of Hungary . Since the Nobility Repeal Act of April 1919, like all other members of the former Habsburg dynasty, she was legally known as the Habsburg-Lothringen family .
Zita's father, Robert of Parma , was the last Duke of Parma after his father's murder in 1854 . But since he was only six years old, his mother Louise Marie Thérèse d'Artois acted as regent. In 1859, in the course of the Italian unification movement ( Sardinian War ), she and her children had to move to Switzerland due to a lack of military backing from Austria. From there, she went into exile in Lower Austria , where Robert grew up.
After Robert's first marriage, which had twelve children, he married the Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal (1862-1959) in 1884 , daughter of King Michael I from the Braganza family and his wife Princess Adelheid von Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg . With her he again had twelve children; the fifth was Zita. The family lived in their own castle in Schwarzau am Steinfeld near Neunkirchen in southern Lower Austria.
Zita's brother Franz Xavier of Bourbon-Parma (Francisco Javier) became head of the Carlist movement after the Carlist branch of the Spanish Bourbons died out in 1936 . In 1952 he himself laid claim to the Spanish crown, with which he founded the second Carlist dynasty under the name of Javier (I) as pretender to the throne .
Childhood and youth
Zita von Bourbon-Parma was born on May 9, 1892 in the Villa Borbone delle Pianore ( Camaiore near Lucca , Italy. Together with her siblings, she grew up multilingual. The colloquial language at home was French, but Italian was often spoken with her father and German with her mother at times. The extended family always spent the first half of the year in Pianore, the second in Schwarzau. Zita's father answered her question about the nationality of the family with: We are French princes who ruled in Italy .) in
The German language they perfected later in the Salesian Sisters - Konvikt monastery Zangberg , Upper Bavaria ; as empress, she had a perfect command of the spoken and written language. From 1903 to 1908 she attended the school of the nuns. During her years in the Salesianerinnenkonvikt she was not only taught in the modern foreign languages that she already knew from home, but also in mathematics, geography, history, natural history and music according to the Bavarian grammar school curriculum. Activities such as mending, darning and sewing as well as physical education were also on the curriculum.
After visiting the Konviktes she spent a short time with her family and then perfected her education on the British Channel Island of Wight in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Cécile . At that time the prioress of the monastery was Princess Adelheid von Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg , her maternal grandmother. In this strict monastery she devoted herself to theology and philosophy and perfected her English. She was introduced to Gregorian choral singing and began playing the organ. However, the hard study and the climate affected her health so much that after a visit by her aunt Archduchess Maria Theresia , who was dismayed by her pale appearance, her daughter Archduchess Maria Annunziata picked her up for a spa stay in the Bohemian Franzensbad .
There Zita got to know Archduke Karl better in 1908. She already knew him from childhood. He had never paid much attention to her during his vacation stays at the castles of Schwarzau and Frohsdorf ( Lanzenkirchen municipality , Lower Austria). In 1910, however, Karl was apparently very taken with the 18-year-old.
Life with the last emperor
Marriage and starting a family
When Emperor Franz Joseph I inquired about Karl's marriage plans, which were of great importance to the dynasty and which seemed to be looking for a partner for Karl himself, Karl called on his grandmother, Archduchess Maria Theresia, who was also related to Zita, to find the desired relationship to make Zita official. Since she was a princess befitting her rank and, since her family no longer ruled, there were no problems with other states to fear, the emperor agreed to the marriage.
On June 13, 1911, the 19-year-old princess was engaged to the 24-year-old Archduke in Viareggio near Lucca , where Zita was born , in his father's Villa Pianore , who after the death of his father, Archduke Otto in 1906, to number 2 in the line of succession after Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este . The wedding was celebrated on October 21, 1911 in Schloss Schwarzau am Steinfeld . High-ranking guests were Emperor Franz Joseph I , who made a toast to the couple, and Archduke heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand . Karl's choice of bride also met with friendly approval from Franz Ferdinand, who acted as best man. If Karl did not die before Franz Ferdinand, the young couple would be the imperial couple after Franz Ferdinand's death, since Franz Ferdinand's children were not heirs to the throne because of his morganatic marriage . The church wedding was performed by Gaetano Bisleti in his capacity as papal majordomo on November 20, 1911.
On November 20, 1912, Zitas and Karl's first son, Archduke Otto , was born in the Villa Wartholz near Reichenau an der Rax . As the archducal couple, the two had three other children; one was born to the imperial couple, three more children followed in exile. In 1913 the emperor assigned them Hetzendorf Castle in Vienna- Meidling as a residence so that Karl could be closer to the emperor and the heir to the throne.
Wife of the heir to the throne
After the murder of Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo , Karl was automatically heir to the throne. The emperor was almost 84 years old. Suddenly it was a fact that Karl and Zita would head the state decades earlier than previously assumed. The two were now under constant public attention. When Franz Joseph I. Karl, after his declaration of war, which led to World War I , transferred tasks to the Austro-Hungarian Army in August 1914 , which repeatedly took him away from Vienna for long periods, the Emperor brought Zita and the children to his home, allegedly for security reasons to Schönbrunn Palace . He expressed deep pessimism to Zita about the future of the monarchy.
Empress and Queen
When Franz Joseph died on November 21, 1916, Karl ex lege was Emperor of Austria (Karl I.) and King of Hungary and Bohemia. On December 30, 1916, at the request of the Hungarian government in Budapest , Emperor Charles I was crowned Apostolic King Charles IV of Hungary , and Zita was simultaneously crowned Queen. Zitas and Karl's first-born, the four-year-old Archduke / Föherczeg Otto , was now Crown Prince of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary.
Subsequently, Zita was ascribed significant influence on the emperor, which was perceived as unusual in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy: Empress Elisabeth , apart from her commitment to inner peace with Hungary, had mostly stayed away from the court; no one could remember any empresses before 1848. The verdict on how Zita's influence on Karl I./IV. is to be assessed, remained controversial to this day. The positive reading assumes that Zita influenced Karl by consolidating his often fluctuating willpower. In any case, according to her memories, she was informed in detail by Karl about all important political issues and incidents. The young empress not only possessed energy and tenacity, she was also perceived as a constantly controlled, calm and beautiful woman who was socially committed.
Zita's brother as a messenger to the Entente
In order to prevent the collapse of the multi-ethnic state, Charles I and Zita made a secret attempt in the spring of 1917 to negotiate a peace treaty with the Entente powers without the specific involvement of the German Reich as their closest ally . A public misinformation from the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Ottokar von Czernin provoked the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau to publish a secret letter from Charles I, called the Sixtus Letter after Zita's brother, who acted as the messenger . As a result, the emperor was exposed especially to the Germans in Austria and the German Empire. Czernin, who was now a liar in public, wanted to extort a declaration of honor from the emperor. Since Charles I developed heart problems, Czernin negotiated with Zita for over an hour in Baden near Vienna .
The German national word of mouth in Austria now described Zita as an Italian traitor and Karl as a slippery hero delivered to high women of Welsh descent . The Chief of Staff Conrad , who was ousted by the Kaiser in 1917, later criticized the defeatism that had broken down in Austria-Hungary in his memoirs and wrote:
- Particularly dangerous in this regard were the machinations that Empress Zita carried out hand in hand with her brother Sixtus and into which the weak emperor allowed himself to be drawn, whereby he was not spared from falling into a crooked position with Germany. A textbook example of what happens when women's hands, even if guided by the best of intentions, intermingle in serious political or military affairs.
Attitude to Karl's declaration of renunciation
On November 11, 1918, two days after the announcement of the abdication of the German Emperor Wilhelm II , the Imperial and Royal Prime Minister Heinrich Lammasch presented to Karl I the draft agreed with the German-Austrian Council of State for the Emperor to waive any share in state affairs. This was to avoid a legal clash of the old order with the republic to be proclaimed the next day. The irritant word abdication was avoided. Zita considered the conciliatory waiver to be an abdication and protested:
- No way! A ruler can lose his sovereign rights. That is then violence that excludes recognition. Never abdicate - I'd rather fall with you right here - then Otto will come, and even if we should all fall - there are still other Habsburgs.
Despite Zita's concerns, Charles I signed the declaration on the urgent advice of the last imperial government, but in his own opinion did not abdicate and, encouraged by Zita, continued to support the Emperor of Austria .
The imperial family left Schönbrunn Palace on the evening of November 11th because Karl no longer wanted to stay in the palace, which belonged to the court arist and thus to the state, after he had renounced all state functions. They moved to Schloss Eckartsau in Marchfeld near Vienna, at that time owned by the imperial family fund. On November 12th, German Austria was declared a republic by the Provisional National Assembly . On November 13, 1918, Karl signed a waiver for Hungary in Eckartsau.
Exile in Switzerland and Madeira
On March 23, 1919, Karl and Zita Habsburg-Lothringen and their von Eckartsau family left for exile in Switzerland with the former imperial court procession and with military honors , and arrived there on March 24. According to the advice of the British "honorary cavalier" Colonel Edward Lisle Strutt, this was intended to avoid the internment of Charles, which threatened him because he refused to abdicate. On leaving Austria, Karl, prepared in Eckartsau, revoked his declaration of renunciation in the so-called Feldkircher Manifesto. However, the manifesto was not published in Austria.
On April 3, 1919, the Constituent National Assembly of German Austria passed the Habsburg Law , according to which Charles for life and all other members of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen , insofar as they did not renounce their membership of the ruling house and confessed to being loyal citizens of the Republic, from German Austria were referred. At the same time, the Habsburg family funds, but not verifiably personal property, were confiscated.
Initially the family stayed at Schloss Wartegg near Rorschach on Lake Constance , which Zita's father, Duke Robert, had bought in the 1860s. On May 20, 1919, at the request of the Swiss government, she moved to a place further away from Austria, to Prangins on Lake Geneva . Zita saw regaining the throne as a divinely imposed duty, encouraged Karl not to give up, and supported him in his attempts at restoration.
In October 1921 it accompanied Karl by plane to his second attempt at restoration in Hungary. After its failure, both were brought to the Portuguese island of Madeira on behalf of the victorious powers from November 1 for the purpose of exile from Baja on the Danube with British warships , where they arrived on November 19, 1921. At the end of January 1922, the pregnant Zita was allowed to bring her children from Switzerland. She returned to Funchal on February 2, 1922, with all of the children except Robert.
When the family no longer had enough money for hotel rooms, Karl, Zita and their children were privately given the Villa Quinta do Monte on a hill above the island's capital Funchal as a place to stay, where they moved in February.
Exile in Spain, Belgium and Canada
On April 1, 1922, Karl died of complications from pneumonia . From then on, Zita only wore black clothes. Zita became the guardian of the new pretender to the throne, Otto . The now thirty-year-old widow had to look after her seven children alone (the eighth child was born two months after Karl's death). With Karl's death, exile had become obsolete. On May 31, 1922, Zita and the children moved to Villa Uribarren in Lequeitio in the Spanish Basque Country .
From 1929 she lived in Ham Castle in Steenokkerzeel near Leuven ( Belgium ), where her son Otto then studied. In 1935 Otto negotiated with the dictatorial Chancellor Schuschnigg about the repeal of the Habsburg law and the re-establishment of the monarchy in Austria. The Habsburg law of 1919 was partially repealed and the family fund was to be returned. However , when Austria was annexed to Hitler's Germany on March 13, 1938, all prospects for restoration were ruined. Hitler had the family fund withdrawn.
In May 1940, after the attack by the German Reich on Belgium and France , Zita and her family fled via Dunkirk , Paris and Bordeaux to Spain and later to Portugal . In July 1940 Zita and her children traveled from there to the American continent. While Zita and her younger children settled in the Canadian city of Québec (more precisely in the Villa Bagatelle in the then independent suburb of Sillery ), the rest of the family moved to the USA . Otto established himself in New York . Zita met three times with President Roosevelt to seek a better understanding of her homeland. After the end of the war, she and her family organized CARE package campaigns .
Return to Europe
When the beatification process for Karl, which had been running since 1928 , was opened in 1949 , Zita traveled to Europe several times to collect documents for the process. In 1953 she returned to Europe and settled in Luxembourg with her brother Felix . In 1962 Zita moved to St.-Johannes-Stift in Zizers (Switzerland) to be close to her children and numerous grandchildren.
In 1966 Otto Habsburg-Lothringen was able to return to Austria for the first time after a decision by the Administrative Court that was in his favor. On May 31, 1961 - against the will of the " matriarch " - he had renounced his personal rights to the throne and membership of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen in order to be allowed to return to Austria.
In the spring of 1982, on the occasion of Zita's 90th birthday, the Spanish King Juan Carlos held a conference with the then Austrian Chancellor Kreisky ( SPÖ ) in his holiday home on Mallorca in order to make it possible for Zita, who still categorically refused to submit a waiver, to return to Austria. In the Federal Chancellery , the constitutional lawyers found the right loophole in the law. They “found out” that Zita, as the emperor's in-law, had no right of succession and that she could therefore not possibly be subject to the Habsburg law. In November 1982 the time had come. The border officials were instructed to allow Zita to enter the country without a waiver, and the ninety-year-old returned to the country she had left in 1919 after sixty-three years of exile. On November 13, 1982, Cardinal Archbishop Franz König celebrated her thanksgiving mass in St. Stephen's Cathedral and blessed her head, as was customary in the past with empresses.
Death and burial
After her death in 1989, the coffin with the embalmed body of Zitas was transferred to Austria and solemnly buried in the Vienna Capuchin Crypt. Her heart is buried with that of her husband in the Loreto Chapel of the Muri Monastery in Switzerland, where the family crypt of their descendants is also located. On December 10, 2009 , the beatification process began for Zita Habsburg-Lothringen under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Le Mans, Yves Le Saux , whereby she is referred to in the Catholic Church as " Servant of God ".
As Empress, Zita of Bourbon-Parma had the full title: Zita, Empress of Austria , crowned Queen of Hungary , Queen of Bohemia , Dalmatia , Croatia, Slavonia , Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria , Queen of Jerusalem , Archduchess of Austria , Grand Duchess of Tuscany and from Krakow , Duchess of Lorraine and Bar , from Salzburg , Steyer , Carinthia , Carniola and Bukowina , Grand Duchess of Transylvania , Margravine of Moravia , Duchess of Upper and Lower Silesia , of Modena , Piacenza and Guastalla , of Auschwitz and Zator , Teschen , Friuli , Ragusa and Zara , prince countess of Habsburg and Tyrol , of Kyburg , Görz and Gradisca , princess of Trient and Brixen , margravine of Upper and Lower Lusatia and Istria , countess of Hohenems , Feldkirch , Bregenz and Sonnenberg , mistress of Trieste , from Cattaro and on the Windische Mark , Großvojvodin of the Voivodeship of Serbia , Infanta of Spain, Princess of Portugal and of Parma . Most of these titles expired with the end of the monarchy in Austria.
- The asteroid Zita was discovered in 1909 by the astronomer Johann Palisa and named in her honor.
- The Kärntner Ring in Vienna was called Kaiserin-Zita-Ring from 1917 to 1919 . In the French commune of Villard-de-Lans , the Avenue Impératrice Zita commemorates them.
- On January 29, 1917, Zita was appointed colonel owner of the 16th Hussar Regiment . Along with Maria Theresa, she was the only female head of the regiment in Austrian army history.
- On the occasion of a troop visit by Zitas to the Austrian troops stationed in the Gailtal near Hermagor , a memorial stone with the inscription: In memory of the high visit / Her Majesty / Empress Zita / was erected on June 4, 1917 . Later this was removed from the pedestal by the National Socialists and thrown into the Jenigbach, where it was salvaged by the citizen Zankl after the end of the war and housed in a nearby mill. When this had to give way to road construction in 1972, committed citizens prompted the then community of Rattendorf to have the memorial stone restored and put back on the base that had been preserved at the original location.
- Also in 1917, a small neo-Gothic chapel was dedicated to Zita near Wolfsbach in what is now the Italian part of the Canal Valley . It was erected by soldiers during the Mountain War on the edge of a war cemetery at an altitude of 1515 meters on the Kleiner Mittagskofel . An annual commemoration ceremony for those who fell in the war takes place at the chapel, which has been preserved in its original condition and restored in 1984 .
- In 1987, the German rose breeding company W. Kordes' Söhne brought a light pink flowering hybrid tea rose with a light fragrance on the market under the name Kaiserin Zita .
- At a side entrance of the former St.-Johannes- Stift in Zizers , Zita's retirement home from 1962 to 1989, a marble plaque commemorates the prominent resident.
|Pedigree of Zita of Bourbon-Parma|
Prince Konstantin zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1802–1838)
- Otto von Habsburg (born November 20, 1912 - † July 4, 2011), baptized Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius
- Adelheid (born January 3, 1914 - † October 2, 1971), baptized Adelheid Maria Josepha Sixta Antonia Roberta Ottonia Zita Charlotte Luise Immakulata Pia Theresia Beatrix Franziska Isabella Henrietta Maximiliana Genoveva Ignatia Marcus d'Aviano
- Robert (February 8, 1915 - February 7, 1996), baptized Robert Karl Ludwig Maximilian Michael Maria Anton Franz Ferdinand Joseph Otto Hubert Georg Pius Johannes Marcus d'Aviano
- Felix (born May 31, 1916 - September 6, 2011), baptized Felix Friedrich August Maria vom Siege Franz Joseph Peter Karl Anton Robert Otto Pius Michael Benedikt Sebastian Ignatius Marcus d'Aviano
- Carl Ludwig Habsburg-Lothringen (March 10, 1918 - December 11, 2007), baptized Karl Ludwig Maria Franz Joseph Michael Gabriel Anton Robert Stephan Pius Gregor Ignatius Marcus d'Aviano
- Rudolph Habsburg-Lothringen (September 5, 1919 - May 15, 2010), baptized Rudolph Syringus Peter Karl Franz Joseph Robert Otto Antonius Maria Pius Benedikt Ignatius Laurentius Justitiani Marcus d'Aviano
- Charlotte (March 1, 1921 - July 23, 1989), baptized Charlotte Hedwig Franziska Josephina Maria Antonia Roberta Ottonia Pia Anna Ignatia Marcus d'Aviano
- Elisabeth (* May 31, 1922; † January 6, 1993), baptized Elisabeth Charlotte Alphonsa Christina Theresia Antonia Josephina Roberta Ottonia Franziska Isabella Pia Marcus d'Aviano et omnes Sancti
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- Emperor Felix Habsburg died in Mexico. In: ORF .at, September 8, 2011. Retrieved on September 9, 2011. (“Felix Habsburg-Lothringen, the third son of the last Austrian Emperor Karl I, died on September 6, 95 years old in San Angel, Mexico . ")
|Elisabeth in Bavaria||Empress of Austria
|SURNAME||Bourbon Parma, Zita of|
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Bourbon-Parma, Zita Maria delle Grazie by (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||last Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 9, 1892|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Camaiore (district Capezzano Pianore), Italy ,|
|DATE OF DEATH||March 14, 1989|
|Place of death||Zizers , Switzerland|