July 24, 2017

Last heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire dies

Otto von Habsburg - the last link with the old European order dies.

Otto von Habsburg the eldest son of Charles I, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian empire has died in Germany at the age of 98.

Otto von Habsburg was born in 1912, four years before his father ascended the throne. His father was deposed at the end of World War 1 and died in exile of complications from severe pneumonia in 1922 at the youngage of 34.

The Habsburgs had ruled Austria and its empire for over 400 years, making them the oldest ruling family in Europe at the time.

Otto von Habsbug only officially relinquished his claim to inherit the empire in 1961 and five years later was allowed to return to Austria for the first time since the family fled in 1919.

Mr Habsburg was an opponent of the Nazis and spoke out against Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938.

After World War II, he became a champion of European unity during its Cold War division.

He served as a member of the European parliament for two decades. He is to be buried in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

In 1989 he helped organise the Pan-European Picnic demonstration on the border of Austria and Hungary.

The border was briefly opened, an event credited with helping usher in the fall of the Berlin Wall weeks later.

Mr Habsburg then dedicated himself to having the former communist-ruled states of eastern Europe brought into the European Union.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso paid tribute to him as “a great European… who gave an important impetus to the European project throughout his rich life”.

It must have been an interesting life for Otto, born into immnese wealth nad priviledge only to lose it all while still a child and have to assume leadership of the family at the age of nine.

Yet rather than fade away in quiet bitterness in a forgotten corner of Europe, Otto reinvented himself as a champion of European unity and excepted the new non-royalist landscape that Europe had become.

Otto’s wife Princess Regina died only last year. They had been married for 59 years and had seven children.

Newswarped can’t close the article without giving you Otto’s full name. Obviously when a family has been ruling an empire for hundreds of years there are countless naming traditions – especially for heirs to the throne. Otto is no exception.

He was christened – Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius von Habsburg.

Try fitting that on a modern day birth certificate.