Eldest son of last Austrian emperor dies at 98

Mon Jul 4, 2011 9:21am EDT
 
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By Michael Shields

VIENNA (Reuters) - Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, the eldest son of the last Austrian emperor who became a champion of European unity, died aged 98 at his home in Germany on Monday, his family said.

"He died peacefully with his family present," a man who identified himself as a grandson said by telephone from Poecking, on Lake Starnberg in southern Germany, where Habsburg had lived since 1954 during a life spent mostly in exile.

From there he honed a vision of overcoming the Cold War divide of Europe and worked to make it happen.

Born in 1912, the man also known as Archduke Otto von Habsburg became head of the imperial House of Habsburg on the death of his father, Charles, in 1922.

The Habsburgs were the ruling family of the Austro-Hungarian empire, which collapsed at the end of World War One.

Austria abolished the monarchy and seized Habsburg property in 1919, weeks after the family fled to Switzerland.

Habsburg also lived in Portugal, Spain, Belgium, France and the United States before settling in Bavaria.

He made a name for himself as a member of the European Parliament for the German state of Bavaria for two decades and lectured throughout the world on international affairs.   Continued...

 
<p>File photo of the oldest son of Austria's last emperor, Otto Habsburg and his wife Regina standing in front of Hofburg palace in Vienna November 20, 2002. Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, 98, died at his home at Lake Starnberg in Germany July 4, 2011, the Austrian Press agency reported. Born in 1912, the man also known as Archduke Otto von Habsburg became head of the imperial House of Habsburg on the death of his father, Archduke Charles, in 1922. The Habsburgs were the ruling family of the Austro-Hungarianempire, which collapsed at the end of World War One. Otto Habsburg had been a member of the European Parliament for the German state of Bavaria and lectured throughout the world on international affairs. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger /files</p>