Archduke Rainer Ferdinand of Austria

Kaiserliche und königliche Hoheit
Erzherzog Rainer Ferdinand von Österreich
3rd Chairman of the Austrian Ministers' Conference
In office
4 February 1861  26 June 1865
Monarch Francis Joseph I
Preceded by Johann Bernhard Graf von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen
Succeeded by Alexander Graf von Mensdorff-Pouilly
Personal details
Born (1827-01-11)11 January 1827
Milan, Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, Austrian Empire
Died 27 January 1913(1913-01-27) (aged 86)
Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Spouse(s) Archduchess Maria Karoline of Austria
Parents Archduke Rainer Joseph of Austria
Princess Elisabeth of Savoy
Religion Roman Catholic

Archduke Rainer Ferdinand Maria Johann Evangelist Franz Ignaz of Austria (11 January 1827 – 27 January 1913), a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and nephew of Emperor Francis I, was an Austrian politician who served as Minister-President of Austria from 1861 to 1865.


Born in Milan, the capital of the Austrian Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, he was a son of Viceroy Archduke Rainer Joseph of Austria (1783–1853) and his consort Princess Elisabeth of Savoy (1800–1856). Rainer Ferdinand spent most of his youth at the Royal Villa of Monza. He studied law at the University of Vienna and in 1843 joined the Austrian Imperial Army in the rank of an Oberst (Colonel).

Archduke Rainer and Maria, 1902

In 1852, he married his cousin Archduchess Maria Karoline of Austria (1825-1915), a daughter of Archduke Charles, known for his victory at the 1809 Battle of Aspern. The marriage was a very happy one, and, with numerous public appearances and charitable activities, the couple was probably the most popular amongst the Habsburg family. The lavish celebration of their diamond wedding in 1912 was rated as one of the last great events of the dissolving Austro-Hungarian Monarchy before World War I. However, the marriage remained childless.

In 1854 Rainer achieved the rank of Generalmajor in the Imperial Army and in 1861 was raised to Feldmarschall-Leutnant (Field marshal lieutenant). Beside his military career, he was also interested in art and science, in particular the emerging Papyrology. In 1899 he donated his extensive Faiyum papyrus collection to the Austrian National Library, part the UNESCO Memory of the World Register since 2001.

Already in 1857, Archduke Rainer was appointed president of the Austrian Imperial Council by Emperor Francis Joseph I. In the course of the implementation of the 1861 February Patent constitution, he took up office as nominal Minister-President chairing the liberal cabinet of State Minster Anton von Schmerling.


Preceded by
Johann Bernhard von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen
Minister-President of Austria
4 February 1861 - 26 June 1865
Succeeded by
Alexander von Mensdorff-Pouilly
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