In memoriam HIRH Otto of Hapsburg-Lorraine (1912-2011)

July 4, 2011

His Imperial and Royal Highness Otto of Hapsburg-Lorraine passed away in the early hours of July 4.

Born on November 20, 1912, Archduke Otto of Austria was the firstborn of the last monarchs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Blessed Karl and Empress Zita.

As head of the Hapsburg imperial family, Archduke Otto presided over what Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira called “the first family of Christendom.”

As a young boy, he participated in his parents’ coronation ceremonies and then, some years later, he witnessed the political upheavals following Austria’s defeat in the First World War, his father’s abdication, exile, and untimely death from tuberculosis on the Portuguese island of Madeira in 1922.

As Nazism raised its heinous head, eventually swallowing up the land of his birth, Archduke Otto opposed Hitler and the Nazi ideology from exile, for which, in absentia, the tyrant sentenced him to death.

In 1951, he married Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen and Hildburghausen (1925-2010) and they had seven children.

Having lived most of his life in exile and, like all Hapsburg princes, barred from stepping on Austrian soil unless he renounced his claims to the throne, Archduke Otto regrettably signed a statement to this effect on May 31, 1961, a gesture he lamented bitterly at the end of his life.

Archduke Otto will be buried in the Imperial Crypt of the Church of St. Mary of the Angels (the Capuchin Church) in Vienna, on Saturday, July 16, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

He was succeeded as head of the Hapsburg imperial family by his eldest son, Archduke Karl.

 

Requiescat in pace

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