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House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Haus Habsburg-Lothringen
Habsburg-Lorraine Tripartite Arms.svg
Parent houseHouse of Habsburg (enatic)
House of Lorraine (agnatic)
FounderMaria Theresa and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Current headKarl von Habsburg-Lothringen
Final rulerCharles I of Austria
Titles (see more)
Style(s)"Imperial and Royal Highness"
MottoA.E.I.O.U. and Viribus Unitis
1918 – Charles I & IV relinquished participation in state affairs following the end of World War I
Cadet branches

The House of Habsburg-Lorraine (German: Haus Habsburg-Lothringen) originated from the marriage in 1736 of Francis III, Duke of Lorraine and Bar, and Maria Theresa of Austria, later successively Queen of Bohemia, Queen of Hungary, Queen of Croatia and Archduchess of Austria. Its members are the legitimate surviving line of the House of Habsburg and the House of Lorraine, inheriting their patrimonial possessions and vocation to the Empire from the female descendants of the House of Habsburg and the male line of the House of Lorraine.

The branch of Vaudemont and Guise from the House of Lorraine become the major branch after a brief interlude in 1453–1473, when the duchy passed in right of Charles de Bourbon's daughter to her husband John of Calabria, a Capetian, Lorraine reverted to the House of Vaudemont, a junior branch of the House of Lorraine, in the person of René II, who later added to his titles that of Duke of Bar.

The House of Habsburg takes its name from Habsburg Castle, a fortress built in the 1020s by Count Radbot of Klettgau in Aargau, present-day Switzerland. His grandson, Otto II, was the first to take on the name of the fortress as his own, adding Graf von Habsburg ("Count of Habsburg") to his title. The House of Habsburg gathered dynastic momentum during the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, and in 1273, Radbot's seventh-generation descendant Rudolph of Habsburg became Roman-German King. He moved the family's power base to the Duchy of Austria, which the Habsburgs ruled until 1918.

The current house orders are the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Imperial and Royal Order of Saint George. The House of Habsburg-Lorraine still exists today and the current head of the family is Karl von Habsburg.[1]

History of the dynasty

See also: House of Habsburg

The first member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine to rule over the Holy Roman Empire was Joseph II, a sovereign raised during the Enlightenment. By the new ideals he brought, he implemented many reforms, most of which were to the detriment of the clergy. Upon his death in 1790, he was succeeded by his brother Leopold II, who in 1791 invited Europe's powers to help the French royal family to stifle the ideals of the revolution without military intervention. He died a few days before France declared war on Austria.

In 1792, Leopold's son, Francis II, was crowned emperor in Frankfurt. After the beheading of the French sovereigns, he, along with the other European sovereigns created the First Coalition against Revolutionary France. The coalition initially recorded some success, but soon began to withdraw, especially in Italy, where the Austrians were repeatedly defeated by the Corsican general Napoleon Bonaparte.

With the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, the Milanese were handed over to France, while the Austrians retained Veneto, Istria and Dalmatia. This pact was followed by others that reduced the dominion of the Habsburgs to Austria, Bohemia and Hungary; Francis II was also forced to renounce the imperial title, but he later proclaimed himself Emperor of Austria, to remedy this loss.

After the defeats at Leipzig (1813) and Waterloo (1815), Napoleon was exiled to the island of Saint Helena, where he died.

Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire and I of the Austrian Empire.

In the same year of Waterloo the Congress of Vienna was established with which the Restoration began. Congress demanded the restoration of the old regimesーAustria recovered all the Italian, Slavic and German territories that they had lost during the Napoleonic Wars, and the Holy Alliance was also established between Austria, Russia and Prussia, which had the task of suppressing all the pro-French or independence revolutionary movements that would have erupted in Europe.

In the years that followed, Francis II pursued a centralization policy, on the advice of Prime Minister Metternich; but precisely because of it, and emerging ideals of independence, the riots of 1848 broke out, which devastated all of Europe. This led to the expulsion of the Prime Minister from the Imperial Chancellery, and the rise of Franz Joseph, replacing Ferdinand I who was forced to abdicate in favour of the 18-year-old man.

End of the rule of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine in Europe

Franz Joseph I (1830–1916), was the last great personality of the House of Habsburg. Under his reign (1848–1916), Austria seemed to relive its great splendor and Vienna became the largest and most beautiful city in Middle Europe. The emperor, however, waged the Italian War of Independence and the Austro-Prussian war; both ended in defeats, putting an end to Austrian supremacy in Italy and Germany and accelerating the gradual decline of the dynasty.

In 1867 Franz Joseph granted effective autonomy to the Kingdom of Hungary within the Austrian Empire under the terms of the Ausgleich; politically and militarily they were united, but in terms of internal policy and administration they remained separate entities. The title of the Head of State became "Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary", although he was also referred to as "Emperor of Austria-Hungary".

With the growing interest of Austria-Hungary and Russia in the Balkans, strong tensions were created between the Habsburgs and Russia, eventually leading Austria to enter into alliance with Germany and Italy.

In 1914, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo the First World War broke out between the Central Powers of Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire and the Entente Powers—the British Empire, France, Russia, among others.

In 1916 Franz Joseph died and was succeeded by his grandnephew Charles I. Charles – the last sovereign – upon losing the war, renounced the exercise of power, but did not abdicate. He was forced into exile on April 3, 1919. The Habsburg dominions were subsequently divided into independent republics.

The House of Habsburg-Lorraine refused to swear its allegiance to the new Republic of Austria, therefore family members were forced into exile and their property was confiscated. The law of exile still applies to the descendants of Emperor Charles under the same conditions. In 1961, Otto von Habsburg, the late head of the House and formerly a member of the European Parliament, relinquished the monarchy and the succession rights of his descendants in exchange for an end to exile. He was known in the Republic of Austria as Dr. Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, since the Republic does not officially recognise titles of nobility.[citation needed]

The House of Habsburg-Lorraine today

The current leader of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine is Karl von Habsburg, who succeeded his father Otto as head of the royal house after his father renounced the role in 2007. Karl is the eldest grandson of the last emperor of Austria-Hungary, Charles I.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kaiser zu sein, ist kein Job, den man anstrebt“ (German: "To be emperor is not a job to strive for")
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XVI. "Haus Österreich". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2001, pp. 87-90, 119-120, 563, 568-569, 577. ISBN 978-3-7980-0824-3.


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