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Otto von Habsburg

From Academic Kids

Otto von Habsburg (referred to as Otto Habsburg-Lothringen by the Austrian government, although this is not his legal name, as he is a German citizen), sometimes known as Archduke Otto of Austria (Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Ren Ludwig Gaetano Pius Ignazius von Habsburg), born November 20, 1912, is the current head of the Habsburg family and the eldest son of Karl, the last Emperor of Austria and the last King of Hungary, and Empress/Queen Zita.

Otto and his great-granduncle Francis Joseph
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Otto and his great-granduncle Francis Joseph
Contents

Basic biography

Early life

Otto was born in Reichenau an der Rax, Lower Austria. In November 1916, Otto's father, Archduke Charles, on the death of his granduncle Franz Josef I, ascended to the throne and become Emperor Charles I of Austria and King Charles IV of Hungary while Otto himself, at the age of four, became Crown Prince of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. However, in 1918, at the end of the First World War, Karl had to abdicate, both monarchies were abolished, the Republics of Austria and Hungary founded instead, and the family were forced into exile. It should be noted that Hungary did become a kingdom again but that Karl was never to rule it. Instead Mikls Horthy ruled as a regent until the 1940s.

Years in exile

Otto spent the following years in Switzerland and in Madeira, where Karl died prematurely in 1922, making Otto pretender to the throne at the age of ten. Meanwhile, the Austrian parliament had officially expelled the Habsburg dynasty and confiscated all the official property (Habsburgergesetz of April 3, 1919). In 1935 he graduated from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, having studied social and political science.

Opposed Nazi government

Otto spent most of the war years in Washington, D.C. (1940-1944), after escaping from Austria to Portugal with a visa issued by the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux Aristides Sousa Mendes. A fervent patriot, he had opposed the Nazi "Anschluss" of Austria of 1938 and also fought Hitler's regime from America. After the war, he lived in exile in France and Spain.

Early advocate of a United Europe

Well after the end of the Second World War, Otto finally renounced all claims to the Austrian throne (1961) and was eventually allowed to return to his home country in 1966. An early advocate of a unified Europe, he served from 1979 till 1999 as a Member of the European Parliament for the conservative German CSU party.

Family life

Otto has been married since 1951 to Regina von Sachsen-Meiningen, Princess of Saxe-Meiningen, Duchess of Saxony. The couple have seven children and 22 grandchildren:

  • Andrea (1953). Married Karl Hereditary Count von Neipperg.
  • Monika (1954). Married Don Luis Gonzaga de Casanova-Crdenas y Barn Duke de Santangelo, Marquess de Elche, Count de Lodosa. Has issue.
  • Michaela (1954). Monika's twin sister. Married 1st Eric Teran d'Antin and 2nd Hubertus Count von Kageneck. Has issue from 1st marriage.
  • Gabriela (1956). Married Christian Meister in 1978, divorced in 1997. Has issue.
  • Walburga (1958). Married Archibald Count Douglas and has issue.
  • Karl (born January 11, 1961), who is to be the future head of the Habsburg family, married Baroness Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza (daughter of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza) in 1993. They have three children and currently live in Salzburg, Austria.
  • Georg (1964). Married Eilika Duchess von Oldenburg and has issue.

Otto and his wife reside at the "Villa Austria" in Pcking, Bavaria, Germany.

External links

Preceded by:
Karl of Austria
Head of the House of Habsburg Succeeded by:
Current head
de:Otto von Habsburg

fr:Otto von Habsburg hu:Habsburg Ott nl:Kroonprins Otto van Oostenrijk ja:オットー・フォン・ハプスブルク no:Otto von Habsburg pl:Otto von Habsburg sv:Otto von Habsburg

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