Once upon a time, not long ago, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria was one big monarchy known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled by the Habsburg family.

The Austro-Hungarian empire would be the last chapter of the Habsburg’s nearly 400-year reign over much of Europe. 

After their demise in World War I, the Habsburgs lost their power over their former empire and seemed to just disappear into the fog of war. However, remnants of their bloodline and dynasty managed to survive to this day. 

Four years after the assassination of his uncle Franz Ferdinand, Karl I, the last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire was exiled by the British to Madeira with his wife and seven kids. The family spent much of their wealth on campaigns to regain the throne in Hungary. Eventually, they ran out of money shortly before Karl died of pneumonia at age 35 in 1922. 

This left Karl’s wife Zita to be the new face of the dynasty, which continued to lobby for new Monarchist movements in Europe. 

While living in Belgium, the family barely escaped arrest by the German Gestapo, and ended up fleeing to France, before fleeing again, splitting up to the USA, Canada, Portugal, and Spain. Zita died at the age of 96 in Switzerland, and she and Karl’s eldest son Otto died at age 99 in Pöcking, Bavaria. 

At the time of his death, Otto had seven children, 22 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Otto’s eldest daughter Andrea married Hereditary Count Karl Eugen von Neipperg and had three sons and two daughters. Their son Dominik married Marie-Anna, Princess of Salm-Salm, a descendant of Friedrich, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont and his wife Princess Bathildis of Schaumburg-Lippe.

Five out of the other six children married counts, princes, princesses, baronesses, and archdukes from other royal families, quietly creating new European royal bloodlines that seem to fly under the radar.

So while they may have lost their full authority over a grand empire, they most certainly did not disappear. 

Featured image in public domain.

Alex Richardson

Alex Richardson

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Alex is a writer and trader living in Prague. He likes economics, anthropology, and cactuses.
Alex Richardson