Today 90 years ago the unexpected news came of the death of the last Emperor
and King of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He had been forced to spend the last part
of his earthly life in exile on the island of Madeira, far away from his homeland.
News of this event was met all around with a sense of profound shock.
Yet even in his beloved native country, only a tiny number of people were
informed of the conditions and circumstances under which the light of this world was
extinguished from the eyes of this truly great man and Austrian.
This article intends to inform everyone, particularly those peoples whom the
dearly departed monarch once called “his peoples,” of what really happened.
As a devout Catholic, Emperor Karl overcame the trials and tribulations of life
with the greatest of joy and bitterest of sorrow. He was never greater, however, than
when he died a Christian death in an exemplary way.
His was the death “of a just man, precious in the eyes of the Lord.”
Archduke Karl of Austria was born at Persenbeug, a family estate, in 1887. At the time of his birth, Karl, who was a great-nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph, was fifth-in--line to the succession of the Austro-Hungarian throne. Ahead of him were: Crown Prince Rudolf, Archduke Karl Ludwig, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduke Otto, Karl's father.
A series of untimely deaths and a renunciation would propel the young man to succeed the old Emperor. Firstly, the Crown Prince committed suicide at Mayerlling in 1889. Secondly, Archduke Karl Ludwig, Karl's grandfather, renounced his rights and died (1896). Then Archduke Franz Ferdinand married morganatically in 1900 and renounced the rights of any children he may have from his married to Countess Sophie Chotek von Chotkova. Then in 1906, the debauched Archduke Otto, Karl's father, met ann untimely death brought about by a life dedicated to dissipation. By the age of 19 Karl knew that one day the Austro-Hungarian realm would land on his shoulders. A decade later he succeeded at a time when Austria-Hungary was enmeshed in a terrible conflict, the outcome of which would cost Karl his throne, livelihood and contribute to his own early death.
Today, in Madeira, members of the Habsburg family gathered to commemorate the life of a saintly man...
After the morganatic