Archduke Felix of Austria

Archduke Felix
Born (1916-05-31)31 May 1916
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
Died 6 September 2011(2011-09-06) (aged 95)
San Ángel, Mexico City[1]
Burial Muri Abbey
Spouse Princess & Duchess Anna-Eugénie of Arenberg
Issue Archduchess Maria del Pilar
Archduke Carl Philipp
Archduchess Kinga
Archduke Raimund
Archduchess Myriam
Archduke István
Archduchess Viridis
Full name
Felix Friedrich August Maria vom Siege Franz Joseph Peter Karl Anton Robert Otto Pius Michael Benedikt Sebastian Ignatius Marcus d'Aviano
House House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Charles I of Austria
Mother Zita of Bourbon-Parma

Archduke Felix of Austria (given names: Felix Friedrich August Maria vom Siege Franz Joseph Peter Karl Anton Robert Otto Pius Michael Benedikt Sebastian Ignatius Marcus d'Aviano; 31 May 1916 – 6 September 2011) was the last surviving child of the last Austrian Emperor Charles I and a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. He was a younger brother of former Crown Prince Otto of Austria, who predeceased Felix by two months.

Early life and exile

Archduke Felix was born in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna the third son of the then heir presumptive to the throne of Austria-Hungary the Archduke Charles and his wife Zita of Bourbon-Parma.[2] He was christened at Schönbrunn on 8 June 1916 in the presence of his great-grand uncle Emperor Franz Joseph while his godfather was his great-uncle King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, brother of his grandmother Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony.[3] On 21 November 1916 the Emperor Franz Joseph died and Felix's father succeeded as the new Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.

Archduke Felix was less than three years old when Austria-Hungary collapsed following its defeat in the First World War. As a result, republics were declared in the now-separate countries Austria and Hungary which led to exile of the Imperial Family. Originally exiled in Switzerland the Imperial Family were taken to Portuguese island of Madeira in 1921 after Archduke Felix's father's failed attempts to claim the throne in the Kingdom of Hungary from the regent Miklós Horthy. On 1 April 1922 his father Emperor Charles died in Madeira.

In the autumn of 1937 Archduke Felix was permitted to return to Austria, entering the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt. He became the first Habsburg since the abolition of the monarchy to pursue a career as an officer in the Austrian Army.[4] With the Anschluss approaching Archduke Felix, his sister Archduchess Adelheid and Archduke Eugen fled Austria crossing the border to Czechoslovakia.[5][6]

During the Second World War while in the United States, Felix and his brother Carl Ludwig volunteered to serve in the 101st Infantry Battalion known as the "Free Austria Battalion". However the battalion was disbanded when a number of exiled Jewish volunteers who made up the majority of force ultimately declined to confirm their enlistment.[7]

Return to Austria

Felix, unlike his brother Otto, always refused to renounce his rights to the Austrian throne and membership of the Habsburg family, saying that doing so would violate his human rights. As a result, he was banned from entering Austria except for a brief three-day stay in 1989 in order to attend his mother's funeral.[8] On 10 March 1996, after Austria had joined the European Union and the concurrent dropping of staffed border checkpoints between Austria and other EU countries, he crossed into the country from Germany and held a press conference the next day to announce his illegal arrival.[9] After his presence became known, he was warned by the Austrian government that he would face prosecution if he ever tried to enter the country illegally again.[10] Ultimately, a deal was reached between Felix, his brother Carl Ludwig and the Austrian government whereby they declared their allegiance to the republic without any reference being made to their rights to the throne or to their membership in the Imperial Family.[9]

In June 1998, in a joint action with his brother Carl Ludwig, Felix attempted to have the properties which were given to their ancestor Maria Theresa of Austria by her husband Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor restored to them after the properties had been taken from the Habsburg family by Adolf Hitler during the Anschluss.[11]

Felix built up a number of successful businesses in Mexico and Brussels[9] and worked as a marketing consultant.[12]

During his time in exile Archduke Felix lived in Portugal, Belgium, Mexico and the United States.[8] He lived in the colonia of San Ángel in Mexico City where he died 6 September 2011.[13] He was interred in the family crypt in Muri Abbey, near Zürich. The abbey is a favoured burial place of the Habsburg dynasty, and also contains the remains of his wife and the hearts of his parents.[14]

Marriage and children

Felix was married civilly on 18 November 1952 at Beaulieu, France, and religiously a day later, to Princess and Duchess Anna-Eugénie of Arenberg (1925–1997).[2] They had seven children, and twenty-two grandchildren.

As they all lived in Mexico, and some still do, they are called by the Spanish equivalent to their names.

Honours and patronages

Along with his brothers Otto and Rudolf, Archduke Felix was a patron for the revived Almanach de Gotha.[15]

Titles and styles



  1. Kaisersohn Felix Habsburg in Mexiko gestorben - Inland - › Inland
  2. 1 2 3 4 Lundy, Darryl. "Felix Ferdinand Erzherzog von Österreich". The Peerage. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  3. "Austrian Heir Given only fifteen names". The Day. 17 July 1916. p. 10.
  4. Lennhoff, Eugene (2007). The Last Five Hours of Austria. p. 258. ISBN 1-4067-2851-9.
  5. Harding, Bertita (2007). Lost Waltz – A Story of Exile. p. 256. ISBN 1-4067-3206-0.
  6. "Charge flight from Austria 'Fradulent'". Schenectady Gazette. 30 May 1938. p. 1.
  7. Brook-Shepherd, Gordon (2003). Uncrowned Emperor. Hambledon Continuum. p. 156. ISBN 1-85285-439-1.
  8. 1 2 Bridge, Adrian (1996-03-12). "Habsburg seeks right to return". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  9. 1 2 3 Gedye, Robin (1996-04-15). "Austria to end law barring Habsburgs from family home". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 4 September 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  10. "Habsburg row shakes Austria". The Independent. UK. 1996-03-14. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  11. Gimson, Andrew (1998-06-01). "Habsburgs seek property 'taken by Nazis'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  12. James, Barry (1996-03-12). "Son of Last Kaiser Meets Vienna Press : A Habsburg Defies Exile From Austria". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 1 December 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  13. Félix de Hapsburgo - El Mañana - Opinión
  14. Felix von Habsburg wird am Samstag in Klosterkiche Muri beerdigt - Freiamt - Aargau - Aargauer Zeitung
  15. "Comité de Patronage". Almanach de Gotha. Archived from the original on 2006-02-11. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
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