Infanta Blanca of Spain

Infanta Blanca
Archduchess of Austria; Princess of Hungary, Bohemia, and Tuscany
Born (1868-09-07)7 September 1868
Graz, Styria, Austria-Hungary
Died 25 October 1949(1949-10-25) (aged 81)
Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy
Spouse Archduke Leopold Salvator, Prince of Tuscany
Issue Archduchess Dolores
Archduchess Immaculata
Archduchess Margaretha
Archduke Rainer
Archduke Leopold
Archduchess Maria Antonia
Archduke Anton
Archduchess Assunta
Archduke Franz Josef
Archduke Karl Pius
House Bourbon
Father Infante Carlos, Duke of Madrid
Mother Princess Margherita of Bourbon-Parma

Infanta Blanca of Spain (7 September 1868 25 October 1949) was the eldest child of Carlos, Duke of Madrid, Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain and his wife Princess Margherita of Bourbon-Parma. Blanca was a member of the House of Bourbon and - according to the Carlists - an Infanta of Spain by birth. In 1889 she married Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria. The couple had ten children. The family left Austria after the end of the Monarchy and finally settled in Barcelona. When the male line of Blanca's family died out at the death of her uncle, Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime, some of the Carlists recognized her as the legitimate heiress to the Spanish throne.

Early life

Infanta Blanca of Spain was born in Graz, Styria, Austria-Hungary, the eldest child of Carlos, Duke of Madrid, the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain under the name Carlos VII and of his wife Princess Margherita of Bourbon-Parma. Blanca's childhood was marked by the third Carlist War (1872–1876) in which her father tried, unsuccessfully, to gain the throne of Spain by force. For a time in 1875, Blanca lived in Elizondo, Navarre at the court established by her father. After the war ended the family lived mostly in the Parisian district of Passy. In 1881 they were expelled from France due to Carlos's political activities. By then Blanca's parents drifted apart. Her father went to live in his palace in Venice, while her mother retired to her estate in Viareggio, Italy. Blanca and her siblings divided their time between them.

Marriage and issue

Infanta Blanca with her husband and their ten children. From left to right: Archduchess Asunta, Archduke Franz Josef, Archduchess Immaculata, Archduchess Maria Antonia, Archduke Rainier, Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria, Dolores, Archduke Anton, Archduke Karl, Archduke Leopold, Archduchess Margaretha and Infanta Blanca. Vienna, 1915.

Blanca married Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria, second child and eldest son of Archduke Karl Salvator of Austria and his wife Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, on 24 October 1889 at Schloss Frohsdorf in Lanzenkirchen, Lower Austria, Austria. Blanca and Leopold Salvator main residence was the Palais Toskana in Vienna, they also owned Schloss Wilhelminenberg and a rural estate near Viareggio, which Archduchess Blanca inherited from her mother. They had ten children together:

Later life

After the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I in 1918 and the fall of the Habsburg dynasty, Archduchess Blanca with her husband and their children refused to recognize the new Austrian republic. Their properties were confiscated and they had to live in exile with meager means. The family could neither live in France nor in Italy, countries that had been Austria's enemies during the war.

Blanca was forced to ask permission to live in Barcelona to her cousin Alphonso XIII of Spain, who belonged to the rival branch of the Spanish Bourbons. Alphonso XIII allowed them to come to Spain on condition that they did not support the claims to the Spanish throne of Blanca's brother Jaime, Duke of Madrid. In 1922 Blanca was recognized as a Spaniard. The exiled family had to live modestly in a house in Barcelona. The fall of Alphonso XIII and the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in April 1931 did not affect directly their circumstances. However five months later, Blanca's husband died during a trip to Austria while trying to recover some of their lost properties. Blanca was left under strained economical means, living from vineyards at La Tenuata Reale at Viareggio and from a small rent provided by the Carlist party of Catalonia. Three of her children were still living with her: Dolores, Margaretha and Karl. The convulsed political situation in Spain made them returned to Austria.

The family was able to rent three rooms at their former residence in Vienna, the Palais Toskana. In March 1938 Hitler annexed Austria and Blanca with her children Dolores and Karl moved to her property in Viareggio. In later years, Blanca and her youngest sons Karl Pius and Franz Josef became involved in various Carlist disputes and claims.[1] She died, aged 81, in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy.

Further reading


  1. McIntosh, The Unknown Habsburgs, p. 48


External links


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