Archduke Felix
Born(1916-05-31)31 May 1916
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died6 September 2011(2011-09-06) (aged 95)
San Ángel, Mexico City, Mexico[1]
SpousePrincess & Duchess Anna-Eugénie of Arenberg
IssueMaria del Pilar
Carlos Felipe
Felix Friedrich August Maria vom Siege Franz Joseph Peter Karl Anton Robert Otto Pius Michael Benedikt Sebastian Ignatius Marcus d'Aviano
FatherCharles I of Austria
MotherPrincess Zita of Bourbon-Parma

Archduke Felix of Austria (given names: Felix Friedrich August Maria vom Siege Franz Joseph Peter Karl Anton Robert Otto Pius Michael Benedikt Sebastian Ignatius Marcus d'Aviano; 31 May 1916 – 6 September 2011) was the last-surviving child of Charles I, the last Emperor of Austria, and a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. He was a younger brother of former Crown Prince Otto of Austria, who predeceased Felix by two months.

Early life and exile

Archduke Felix was born in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna the third son of the then heir presumptive to the throne of Austria-Hungary, the Archduke Charles and his wife Zita of Bourbon-Parma. He was christened at Schönbrunn on 8 June 1916 in the presence of his great-grand uncle Emperor Franz Joseph while his godfather was his great-uncle King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, brother of his grandmother Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony.[2] On 21 November 1916 the Emperor Franz Joseph died and Felix's father succeeded as the new Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.

Archduke Felix was less than three years old when Austria-Hungary collapsed following its defeat in the First World War. As a result, republics were declared in the now-separate countries Austria and Hungary which led to exile of the Imperial Family. Originally exiled in Switzerland the Imperial Family were taken to Portuguese island of Madeira in 1921 after Archduke Felix's father's failed attempts to claim the throne in the Kingdom of Hungary from the regent Miklós Horthy. On 1 April 1922 his father Emperor Charles died in Madeira.

In the autumn of 1937, Archduke Felix was permitted to return to Austria, entering the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt. He became the first Habsburg since the abolition of the monarchy to pursue a career as an officer in the Austrian Army.[3] With the Anschluss approaching Archduke Felix, his sister Archduchess Adelheid and Archduke Eugen fled Austria crossing the border to Czechoslovakia.[4][5]

During the Second World War while in the United States, Felix and his brother Carl Ludwig volunteered to serve in the 101st Infantry Battalion, known as the "Free Austria Battalion". However, the battalion was disbanded when a number of exiled Jewish volunteers who made up the majority of the force ultimately declined to confirm their enlistment.[6]

Return to Austria

Felix, unlike his brother Otto, always refused to renounce his rights to the Austrian throne and membership of the Habsburg family, saying that doing so would violate his human rights. As a result, he was banned from entering Austria except for a brief three-day stay in 1989 in order to attend his mother's funeral.[7] On 10 March 1996, after Austria had joined the European Union and the concurrent dropping of staffed border checkpoints between Austria and other EU countries, he crossed into the country from Germany and held a press conference the next day to announce his illegal arrival.[8] After his presence became known, he was warned by the Austrian government that he would face prosecution if he ever tried to enter the country illegally again.[9] Ultimately, a deal was reached between Felix, his brother Carl Ludwig and the Austrian government whereby they declared their allegiance to the republic without any reference being made to their rights to the throne or to their membership in the Imperial Family.[8]

In June 1998, in a joint action with his brother Carl Ludwig, Felix attempted to have the properties which were given to their ancestor Maria Theresa of Austria by her husband Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor restored to them after the properties had been taken from the Habsburg family by Adolf Hitler during the Anschluss.[10]

Felix built up a number of successful businesses in Mexico and Brussels,[8] and he worked as a marketing consultant.[11]

During his time in exile, Archduke Felix lived in Portugal, Belgium, Mexico and the United States.[7] He lived in the colonia of San Ángel in Mexico City, where he died 6 September 2011.[12] He was interred in the family crypt at Muri Abbey, near Zürich. The abbey is a favoured burial place of the Habsburg dynasty, and it also contains the remains of his wife and the hearts of his parents.[13]

Marriage and children

Felix was married civilly on 18 November 1952 at Beaulieu, France, and religiously a day later, to Princess and Duchess Anna-Eugénie of Arenberg (1925–1997), a descendant of the 7th Duke of Arenberg. They had seven children, and twenty-six grandchildren. As they all lived in Mexico, and some still do, they are called by the Spanish equivalent of their names:[14]

Titles and styles

Honours and patronages

Along with his brothers Otto and Rudolf, Archduke Felix was a patron for the revived Almanach de Gotha.[20]



  1. ^ "Kaisersohn Felix Habsburg in Mexiko gestorben". (in German). Austria Press Agency. 8 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Austrian Heir Given only fifteen names". The Day. 17 July 1916. p. 10.
  3. ^ Lennhoff, Eugene (2007). The Last Five Hours of Austria. Read Books. p. 258. ISBN 978-1-4067-2851-4.
  4. ^ Harding, Bertita (2007). Lost Waltz – A Story of Exile. Read Books. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-4067-3206-1.
  5. ^ "Charge flight from Austria 'Fraudulent'". Schenectady Gazette. 30 May 1938. p. 1.
  6. ^ Brook-Shepherd, Gordon (2003). Uncrowned Emperor. Hambledon Continuum. p. 156. ISBN 1-85285-439-1.
  7. ^ a b Bridge, Adrian (12 March 1996). "Habsburg seeks right to return". The Independent. UK. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  8. ^ a b c Gedye, Robin (15 April 1996). "Austria to end law barring Habsburgs from family home". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 4 September 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  9. ^ "Habsburg row shakes Austria". The Independent. UK. 14 March 1996. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  10. ^ Gimson, Andrew (1 June 1998). "Habsburgs seek property 'taken by Nazis'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 February 2008.[dead link]
  11. ^ James, Barry (12 March 1996). "Son of Last Kaiser Meets Vienna Press : A Habsburg Defies Exile From Austria". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 1 December 2006. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  12. ^ Félix de Hapsburgo – El Mañana – Opinión Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Felix von Habsburg wird am Samstag in Klosterkiche Muri beerdigt – Freiamt – Aargau – Aargauer Zeitung". Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Hijo Del último Emperador - ID:5ea893c718827". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Fallece madame Fanny Lacrambe, suegra de Carlos Felipe de Austria". Clase (in Spanish). 31 August 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Archiduques de Habsburgo regresan a Chapultepec". El Siglo (in European Spanish). 15 July 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  17. ^ "LADY MARY ACHESON ENGAGED TO MARRY; Earl of Gosfofd's Daughter to Be Bride of Don Fernando Corcuera y de Mier". The New York Times. 7 November 1941. Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  18. ^ Kaiser Joseph II. harmonische Wahlkapitulation mit allen den vorhergehenden Wahlkapitulationen der vorigen Kaiser und Könige. Since 1780 official title used for princes ("zu Ungarn, Böhmen, Dalmatien, Kroatien, Slawonien, Königlicher Erbprinz")
  19. ^ Almanach de Gotha Annual Genealogical Reference · Volume 1 (2004), University of California, Pg.25.
  20. ^ "Comité de Patronage". Almanach de Gotha. Archived from the original on 11 February 2006. Retrieved 9 August 2008.