Today marks the Centenary of the Death of Emperor Karl of Austria, King of Hungary Bohemia, Galicia and Lodomeria, Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, who died on this day in 1922! The son of Archduke Otto of Austria and Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony, Archduke Charles grew up in Vienna and Reichenau an der Rax, the Archduke was privately educated but also attended a public gymnasium before entering the Army while studying Law and Political Science. Growing up in Vienna and Reichenau an der Rax, the Archduke was privately educated but also attended a public gymnasium before entering the Army while studying Law and Political Science. Despite being the heir presumptive when the children his uncle, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, were deemed morganatic, he had no insight into affairs of state. In 1911, Archduke Charles married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, and the couple eventually had eight children, including Archduke Otto and Archduke Robert.
Emperor Karl succeeded to the Austro-Hungarian Thrones after the death of Emperor Franz Joseph in November 1916 in the midst of the First World War, and made failed secret attempts in the Sixtus Affair to negotiate Austria-Hungary’s exit from WWI but was unsuccessful. Despite the Emperor’s efforts to preserve the empire by transforming it into a federal union, Austria-Hungary was disintegrated after the fall of the Monarchy in 1918. The Emperor “renounced participation” in state affairs, but did not abdicate, being formally dethroned exiled to Switzerland in 1919. He made two attempts to reclaim the Hungarian Throne in 1921, before being exiled for a second time to the Portuguese Island of Madeira, where the Emperor soon fell ill and died of respiratory failure in 1922. Empress Zita survived him for almost 70 years, passing away in 1989, and being buried on this day in 1989. Emperor Karl is venerated in the Catholic Church, having been Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004, and is known to the Catholic Church as Blessed Karl of Austria.