Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg


Photograph from 1913
Duke of Hohenberg
Successor Franz
Spouse(s) Countess Maria Elisabeth Bona von Waldburg zu Wolfegg und Waldsee


Franz, Duke of Hohenberg
Georg, Duke of Hohenberg
Prince Albrecht
Prince Johannes
Prince Peter
Prince Gerhard
Father Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Mother Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg
Born (1902-09-29)29 September 1902
Died 8 January 1962(1962-01-08) (aged 59)

Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg (Maximilian Karl Franz Michael Hubert Anton Ignatius Joseph Maria; 29 September 1902 8 January 1962), was the eldest son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg.[1] Because his parents' marriage was morganatic, he was excluded from succession to the Austro-Hungarian throne,[1] to which his father was heir presumptive, and to inheritance of any of his father's dynastic titles,[2] income and properties, although not from the archduke's personal estate nor from his mother's property.


Sarcophagus of Maximilian, with his wife's sarcophagus on the left

Maximilian was born with the lesser princely title and the territorial designation von Hohenberg accorded his mother at the time of her marriage, and from 1905 shared with his siblings her receipt of the style "Serene Highness".[1] Although Sophie had been raised from Princess (Fürstin) to Duchess (Herzogin) in 1909 by Emperor Franz Joseph, because that title was accorded ad personam, Maximilian did not inherit it upon her death in 1914. On 31 August 1917, however, Emperor Charles I granted him the dukedom on an hereditary basis, simultaneously raising his treatment from "Serene Highness" (Durchlaucht) to "Highness" (Hoheit).[1]

Following the assassination of his parents in Sarajevo in 1914, which resulted in the outbreak of World War I, Maximilian, his sister, Princess Sophie and their brother, Prince Ernst, were initially taken in by their maternal aunt and uncle Marie and Jaroslav, Prince and Princess von Thun und Hohenstein, subsequently being raised in the care of their step-grandmother, Archduchess Maria-Theresa of Austria.[2]

In 1919, following the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and collapse of the Habsburg monarchy, the new republic of Czechoslovakia expropriated Konopiště Castle, Maximilian's chief residence, and other family properties in the former Kingdom of Bohemia, and expelled the brothers to Austria. Subsequently, they lived in Vienna and at Artstetten Castle in Lower Austria.[1] Maximilian obtained a law degree from the University of Graz in 1926.[1] He managed the family properties and worked as a lawyer.

Because he had never been a dynast of the Austrian Imperial Family, he was neither banished nor his properties expropriated under Austria's law of exile of 3 April 1919.[2] Remaining in Vienna, by the 1930s the Duke became the leader within Austria of a significant movement for restoration of the monarchy and of his kinsman Otto von Habsburg to the former Imperial throne.[2]

In March 1938, Austria became part of the German Reich as a result of the Anschluss. Having spoken out for the independence of Austria and against the Anschluss, Maximilian and his brother were arrested by the Reich authorities and interned in Dachau concentration camp,[2] where they were chiefly employed in cleaning the latrines. According to Leopold Figl (who served as Chancellor of Austria after World War II), they did so cheerfully and maintained comradely relations with fellow prisoners. Maximilian was released after six months (Ernst was transferred to other concentration camps and released only in 1943) and was then compelled to stay at Artstetten Castle; the Reich authorities also expropriated the family's other properties in Austria.

After the liberation of Austria in 1945, the residents of Artstetten elected Maximilian as mayor, with the concurrence of the Soviet occupation authorities. He served two five-year terms as mayor.

Maximilian died on 8 January 1962 at the age of 59. He is buried in the crypt of the Hohenberg family's Artstetten Castle.[3] His wife's remains are in a sarcophagus to his left. His eldest son, Franz, acceded to the ducal title.

Marriage and issue

Maximilian married Countess Maria Elisabeth Bona von Waldburg zu Wolfegg und Waldsee on 16 November 1926. They had six children, all sons:[1][4]

Titles and styles[1][4]


Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg
Born: 1902 Died 1962
Preceded by
Duke of Hohenberg
1917 – 1962
Succeeded by


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Almanach de Gotha", Hohenberg, (Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1942), pp. 52, 440-441, (French).
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Les manuscrits du C.E.D.R.E. – Dictionnaire Historique et Généalogique, vol. II. L’Empire d'Autriche. Cercle d'Études des Dynasties Royales Européennes (president, Jean-Fred Tourtchine), Paris, 1991, pp. 190-195. (French). ISSN 0993-3964.
  3. Family crypt info
  4. 1 2 Enache, Nicolas. La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg. ICC, Paris, 1996. pp. 54-60. (French). ISBN 2-908003-04-X
  5. Smith, Craig S. "A battle royal for a Czech castle - Princess wants property taken after empire collapsed." International Herald Tribune. p 3. 20 February 2007.
  6. "Princess and Heir of Franz Ferdinand Fights to Repeal a Law and Gain a Castle." New York Times. 19 February 2007
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