Gabriela von Habsburg

Archduchess Gabriela
Ambassador of Georgia to the Federal Republic of Germany
In office 6 November 2009 - 15 January 2013
Predecessor Levan Duchidze
Successor Vladimer Chanturia
Born (1955-10-14) 14 October 1955
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Spouse Christian Meister
(m. 1978; div. 1997)
Issue Severin Meister
Lioba Meister
Alena Meister
Full name
Gabriela Maria Charlotte Felicitas Elisabeth Antonia
House Habsburg
Father Crown Prince Otto of Austria
Mother Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen
Religion Roman Catholic
Austrian Imperial Family

HI&RH Archduke Karl
HI&RH Archduchess Francesca

Gabriela von Habsburg, (born 14 October 1956), also known as Archduchess Gabriela of Austria, is the granddaughter of Charles I, the last Emperor of Austria. She is also a prolific abstract sculptor, working mainly in stainless steel as well as stone-printed lithography. She was the Ambassador of Georgia to Germany from 2009[1] to 2013.[2]

Upbringing and education

Gabriela von Habsburg was born in Luxembourg, the fourth child of Otto von Habsburg, the erstwhile crown prince of Austria, and his wife, Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen. She was baptised with the names Gabriela Maria Charlotte Felicitas Elisabeth Antonia. According to her birth certificate, her last name is "of Austria-Hungary" (von Österreich-Ungarn).[3]

She was raised at her parents' home in exile, Villa Austria, in Pöcking, Bavaria. As a result of the Habsburgs' banishment from Austria, she feels that she grew up deprived of any sense of pride of country, evolving instead a self-concept as a "European".[4] She believes that her dynasty's role in history shaped her upbringing, "I grew up in a family where we never spoke about anything at mealtimes except politics," she recalls.[4]

After graduating in 1976, Gabriela von Habsburg studied philosophy for two years at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. From 1978 to 1982, she studied art at the Munich Academy of Arts with Robert Jacobsen and Eduardo Paolozzi.

She does not use her ancestral titles as a member of the House of Habsburg: "Princess Imperial and Archduchess of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia", with the style of Imperial and Royal Highness."[4][5] The use of such titles is illegal in Hungary and Austria.[6]


Since 2001, she has been an art professor at the Academy of Arts of Tbilisi, Georgia while also teaching at the Summer Academy of Arts in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany until 2005. She found the creativity and cheerfulness of her students in the face of the adversity then prevalent in Georgia inspiring.[4] During her tenure there she was granted Georgian citizenship.[4] Her five hectare vineyard in Georgia produces wine.[4]

In November 2009, Georgia appointed Gabriela von Habsburg as its ambassador to Germany, and since March 2011 she has maintained a flat in Berlin.[4][7] Believing that Georgian history served as a crucible for European culture, she has maintained that the liberalizing reforms of President Mikheil Saakashvili have been welcome and invigorating for Georgia's people and economy, which has prompted her to work for Georgia's membership in the European Market.[4] She was dismissed from her position in January 2013, after the change of government in Georgia in October 2012.

Since March 2010 Gabriela von Habsburg has represented Georgia at the International Council[8] of the Austrian Service Abroad.

Some public installations

Marriage and children

On 30 August 1978, in Pöcking, Bavaria, Gabriela was married civilly and on 5 September 1978 religiously at St. Odile to Christian Meister, a German attorney. They divorced in 1997 and the marriage was annulled canonically.[5] Gabriela was the only one of her parents' seven children to marry a spouse who had neither a title nor an aristocratic name. They had three children and two grandchildren:


National dynastic honour

National state honours



Gabriela von Habsburg.Sculpture (English version) By Prof. Mathias Frehner and Prof. Carla Schulz-Hofmann Bucher GmbH & Co. Druck Verlag Netzwerk; (22. Oktober 2007) ISBN 978-3-902612-31-1

Gabriela von Habsburg.Skulpturen (German version) ISBN 978-3-902612-20-5


  1. Parliament Approves New Ambassador to Germany. Civil Georgia. November 6, 2009
  2. Saakashvili Dismisses Ambassadors FM Wanted to be Replaced. Civil Georgia. January 15, 2013
  3. "Gabriela von Habsburg: "Riesenvorteil, heute zu leben"".
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Gelber, David, Financial Times, The art of diplomacy, 29 April 2011, access date 21 May 2011
  5. 1 2 de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal and Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Empire d'Autriche-Hongrie. Paris, 2002, p.201. ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  6. "RIS - Gesamte Rechtsvorschrift für Habsburgergesetz - Bundesrecht konsolidiert, Fassung vom 09.08.2015".
  7. "Georgia Nominates Habsburg Duchess as Envoy to Germany". Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  8. "Österreichischer Auslandsdienst". Archived from the original on 2012-05-30.
  9. (German) : SkulptUrschweiz : Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. President of Georgia - PressRelease
  11. Archdiocese of Vienna - " Oberste Schutzfrau: Gabriela Habsburg-Lothringen "
  12. Sancrucensis, blog article about the Order and its Grand Mistress
  13. Seeger Press
  14. Considering that her brother Karl and sister-in-law Francesca live separated since 2003, Archduchess Gabriela assumes, since her mother Regina's death in 2010, the rank of Grand Mistress of the Order, normally held by the wife of the Head of the imperial House. The order requires 16 quarters and legitimate birth, as well as Catholicism. Francesca, estranged wife of the Head, was not born within Catholic marriage, nor does she have 16 noble great-great-grandparents as required. Her sister-in-law Archduchess Eilika is not Catholic. However, the choice of Archduchess Gabriela is surprising, given that she has older sisters
  15. Hohe Ehrungen Für Den Nestor Der Jenaer Kaukasiologie – Thueringenreporter
  16. Profil -Internationaler Hilfsfonds e.V
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