Archduke Otto of Austria (1865–1906) bigraphy, stories - Austrian nobleman

Archduke Otto of Austria (1865–1906) : biography

April 21, 1865 - November 1, 1906

Otto Franz Joseph Karl Ludwig Maria, Prince Imperial and Archduke of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia (April 21, 1865 – November 1, 1906) was the second son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria (younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria) and his second wife, Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. He was the father of Charles I of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria.


  • In his lifetime he was also known as "Otto der Schöne" (the Handsome). He is usually remembered for the widely-circulated story that he had been spotted in a hallway at the Hotel Sacher, about to enter a lady's room, wearing nothing else but a sword.


Heirs presumptive

Otto was a son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria and his wife, Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. Karl Ludwig was a younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria; he became heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne when his nephew Rudolf died in 1889. He renounced his rights to the throne that same year (1889) in favour of his eldest son, Franz Ferdinand who thus became heir presumptive. When Franz Ferdinand fell seriously ill a few years later, there was speculation that he would renounce his rights, which would have made Otto heir presumptive. However, this did not happen, and Otto was never first in line to the throne.

In 1914, Franz Ferdinand was murdered in Sarajevo, and Otto' son Charles became heir presumptive. Charles inherited the throne two years later.


Otto's mother died when he was six years old. Otto and his elder brother Franz Ferdinand were educated by Alfred Ludwig, Baron of Degenfeld. Otto was not interested in learning and often played pranks on his teachers. Nevertheless, his teachers liked the cheerful Otto better than his grumpy and irascible older brother. He was also his father's favourite, which led to a difficult relationship with his brother.Friedrich Weissensteiner: Franz Ferdinand — Der verhinderte Herrscher, Österr. Bundesverlag, Vienna, 1983

Adult life

Otto had a reputation as a loafer and was often involved in scandals. He was gradually alienated from the imperial court, and eventually even his wife distanced herself from him.

Around 1900, he contracted an incurable form of syphilis. This caused him agonizing pain for the last two years of his life. He withdrew from public life and spent a year in Egypt, where he found temporary reprieve. He returned to Austria, where he fell ill again. The last few months of his life, he lived in a villa in the Viennese suburb Währing. He was seriously ill, and was nursed by his last mistress, Louise Robinson, using the pseudonym Sister Martha, and by his stepmother Infanta Maria Theresa of Portugal (1855-1944). He died on 1 November 1906, in the presence of his spiritual advisor, Godfried Marschall, the auxiliary bishop of Vienna.Richard Reifenscheid: Die Habsburger in Lebensbildern. Von Rudolf I. bis Karl I., Verlag Styria, Graz, 1982, ISBN 3-222-11431-5, p. 342


In 1896 it was brought to Franz Ferdinand's attention that Count Gołuchowski, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and of the Imperial and Royal House, had suggested that the emperor, considering Franz Ferdinand's lung disease, might reconsider the line of succession. This led to speculations that Otto might inherit the throne. It was noticed that Otto had more personnel than was usual for an archduke and that he carried out representative tasks that would normally be done by the heir presumptive. Despite his life style, Otto was more popular among the courtiers than his elder brother. Franz Ferdinand was outraged by these speculations and by the fact that he had received the modest Modena Palace as his residence and Otto the larger Augarten Palace. Franz Ferdinand felt snubbed, although Otto assured him he had no ambitions for the throne.


Category:Archdukes of Austria Category:Bohemian princes Category:Hungarian princes Category:Tuscan princes Category:House of Habsburg-Lorraine Category:Knights of the Golden Fleece Category:1865 births Category:1906 deaths Category:Deaths from syphilis Category:Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary Category:Knights of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation


Marriage and issue

Under pressure from the imperial court, he married Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony, daughter of King George of Saxony on October 2, 1886. The court in Vienna urgently needed such a wedding to repair their relationship with the Saxon royal family, after both Crown Prince Rudolf and Otto's brother Franz Ferdinand had snubbed the Saxons by rejecting Maria's elder sister Mathilde.

Otto and Maria had two sons:

  • Archduke Karl Franz of Austria (1887–1922), who became the last Emperor of Austria and had issue.
  • Archduke Maximilian Eugen of Austria (1895–1952). Married Princess Franziska von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst and had issue.

Their marriage was unhappy, however, since the Archduke was often unfaithful. He had two children by one Marie Schleinzer:

  • Alfred Joseph von Hortenau (November 10, 1892 in Niedersigen – 1957)
  • Hildegard von Hortenau (March 7, 1894 in Vienna – ??)


The mountain lodge Erzherzog-Otto-Schutzhaus on the Rax plateau in Lower Austria, is named after him.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine