Today in History / On This Day - August 17th. 1887 - Charles I of Austria

August 17th.1887 marks the birth of Charles (in German: Karl) of
Austria. His parents were Archduke Otto Franz of Austria and
Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony. This event took place at the
Castle of Persenbeug.

Charles was privately educated but he attended the gymnasium for
the sake of demonstrations in scientific subjects. Later he entered the
army. From 1906 until 1908 Charles was an officer chiefly in Prague.
Meanwhile he studied law and political science.

Source picture: Wikipedia

On October 21st.  1911 Charles married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma.
The two met each other as children, but then they did not see another for
almost 10 years.However in 1909 Charles visited her family and it was
then that he met her again. Their wedding was attended by the 81 year old
emperor Franz Joseph. The couple would have 8 children. They would
became the grandparents of inter alia Prince Lorenz of Belgium.

On this Youtube link you can see a movie of the wedding of Charles
and Zita.

By the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in 1914,
which led to the start of World War I, Charles became heir presumptive.
Charles also became Generalfeldmarshall in the Austro-Hungarian army.

After the death of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1916, Charles became
the new emperor. In 1917 he wanted peace and started negotiations
secretly with France. Charles used therefore Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-
Parma, who was his brother-in-law and an officer in the Belgian Army
as well.

Source picture: Wikipedia

Unfortunately Georges Clemenceau published the letters signed by
Charles. This forced Austria-Hungary in a difficult position in his
ally with Germany.

In the dominions of Austria-Hungary there were a lot of troubles too
between the ethnic groups. US president Woodrow Wilson issued his
14 points in which he asked the empire to allow autonomy and self-
determination for his people.One by one the nationalities proclaimed

On November 11th. 1911 the armistice ended World War I and
Charles issued a proclamation in which he recognized the right
for the Austrian people to reform the state. The same day the
Imperial family left Schönbrunn Castle.

On November 12th. 1912, one day after the proclamation the
independent republic of German-Austria was formed, followed by the
Hungarian Democratic Republic (November 16th.).

Charles tried to win back his right to the throne but on April 3rd. 1919
Charles, Zita and other members of the House of Habsburg were banned
out of Austria.

The Royal Family first moved to Switzerland. Later Charles tried to
claim his rights on the Hungarian throne, but this plan failed too.

The last Emperor from the House of Habsburg-Lorraine died in exile
at Madeira on April 1st. 1922, surrounded by his


Catholic Church Leaders praised Charles for his peace negotiations
during World War I and putting his faith first, while making political
decisions. Pope John Paul II declared him as blessed in a ceremony
held on October 3rd. 2004.

So, I think, this will be continued ...

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