Otto von Habsburg

The four-year-old Crown Prince Otto of Hungary in Budapest in 1916,
attending his parent's coronation as King and Queen of Hungary.


Otto von Habsburg

Otto of Habsburg was born on the 20th November 1912 and died on the 4th July 2011.

Archduke Otto of Habsburg was Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1916 until 1918.
He was the eldest son of Karl I, Emperor of Austria (Karl IV, King of Hungary) and his wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma.

After 1918, the young Otto grew up in Spain and was raised by his mother Empress Zita to become a future monarch.
He not only spoke German but also Croatian, English, French, Hungarian, and Spanish fluently. The following years of exile took him to Belgium, France, Madeira, Switzerland and the United States.

After 1954, he lived in Bavaria, Germany in his home ‘Villa Austria’.

In 1922, Otto of Habsburg became head of the Imperial House of Habsburg, and Sovereign of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He resigned as Sovereign of the Order of the Golden Fleece in the year 2000 and in 2007 he resigned as head of the Imperial House of Habsburg.

During the 1930s, Otto was involved in Austrian and European politics and after the annexation of Austria (Anschluss) by the German Third Reich in 1938, Otto fled to the United States and lived from 1940 until 1944 in Washington, D.C..
During the Second World War, Otto Habsburg opposed the annexation of Austria and supported international intervention.

Otto was sentenced to death by the National Socialist Government and his personal property and that of the House of Habsburg was confiscated by the regime. Otto's cousins Max, Duke of Hohenberg, and Prince Ernst of Hohenberg were arrested in Vienna and sent to Dachau concentration camp.

During his exile he gained support from the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for his idea for the restoration of Austria-Hungary (Danube Federation) but Stalin opposed these plans.

Otto von Habsburg

He was a supporter of the establishment of an Austrian government in exile and fought for the rights of the German speaking populations of South Tyrol, Bohemia and Eastern Europe.

In 1957, Otto von Habsburg became Vice President of the International Pan European Union and later became President of the Union from 1973 until 2004.

He served as a Member of the European Parliament (CSU) from 1979 until 1999. In 1979, Otto had a chair placed in European Parliament to represent those countries behind the so-called ‘Iron Curtain’.

Otto von Habsburg became known as a co-initiator of the ‘Pan-European Picnic’ in 1989 and in later years supported the membership of central and eastern European countries in the European Union.
Otto rarely appeared in public after the death of his wife, Regina in 2010.
He died on the 4th July 2011 at the age of 98 at his home in Pöcking, Germany. His funeral took place in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna on 16th July 2011 and was placed to rest in the Imperial Crypt, Vienna.

His heart is in buried in the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma in Hungary.

The British Honourable Artillery Company provided guards
for the funeral of Otto von Habsburg.


Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma in Hungary

Otto of Habsburg's heart is buried in the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma in Hungary.
The Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey of Pannonhalma was founded in 996 and is the second largest abbey of its kind in the world, after the one in Monte Cassino.

The Basilica and Crypt date back to the 13th century.