Habsburg Branches (including Teschen, Altenburg, Hohenberg & von Meran)

If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Administrator in Memoriam
Jan 22, 2005
The von Merans are a cadet line of the Habsburgs through the secret morganatic marriage of Archduke Johann, Vicar of the Empire, in 1823. The 'Count/Countess von Meran' title was created in 1844. They have not been destined to fade into obscurity as various members of the family have had success in marrying well.

some von Meran marriages:

a Count von und zu Trauttmansdorff-Weinsburg, the 11th Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst (Ratibor & Corvey) in 1965, the Erbgraf von Quadt zu Wykradt und Isny in 1992 (his mother a Princess of Bavaria), a Countess von und zu Eltz, a Princess of Schwarzenberg, Prince Heinrich XII Reuss in 1973, a Prince von Auersperg and a Prince von Auersperg-Breunner, a Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck (her mother a Princess of Luxembourg), and in 2001 a Countess von Waldstein (her mother a Habsburg Archduchess).

In 1995 Baroness Maria Theresia von Gudenus, a daghter of Countess Anna Maria von Meran, moved back into the Imperial and Royal line when she married Archduke Eduard.
Count Moritz von Goëss, who married Duchess Fleur of Württemberg in 2003, is a grandson of Countess Marie Valerie von Meran.
Habsburg Branches

It seems to me that the House of Habsburg went over into the House of Habsburg-Lorraine in the 18th century. But where does that leave the descendants of the original House of Habsburg? (originaly it was thought there were none left)

There are a few impoverished royal descendants around, I believe in Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Spain. Are they answerable to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine or are they regarded as an independent house? And how are, or should they, be recognized by other royal houses and countries.

I am specifically looking into the history of Juan de Austria (Habsburg) 1547-1578 who himself had offspring in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. One of which recognized and another from a silent marriage.

This is a real from pauper to prince story. Jerome/Juan de Austria had a childhood in which he was probably unaware of his father and heritage. However, as a young man he was called to his father and to court. Initially he was assigned a position as any other illegitimate, at the back of the line (literally). Over the next few years his acceptance into court and the royal family grew and in the end he was addressed as prince by the court. The issue here is that his father or brother never punt anything on paper (as far as I am aware).

I believe some of these descendants are looking at reclaiming and recognition of their titles. But claim them from who? From the Spanish crown, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, the country they are living in/are national of, or???

I understand this is an effort to gain recognition of their heritage and titles, but not to re-establish the original house. Thus how do I/we look at this situation? If they are recognized by a country or another royal house, would this not be a recognition and re-establishment of the original house? And where would this leave the House of Habsburg-Lorraine?
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Juan de Austria was illegitimate, thus he was no dynast of the House of Habsburg. If he had a title, his legitimate heirs can AFAIK carry this title in Spain till today.
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Habsburg Lorraine was the house of marie antoinette's family when empress Maria theresa married Francis I of Lorraine.

Austria-este seems to be the ones that are how the present day royal family of Austria.
Austria-Este refers to two or three junior branches of the Austrian Imperial House:
the first one was founded by Maria Theresa and Franz I's son Ferdinand, when he became Duke of Modena in 1803; in 1875 his grandson and last Duke of Modena died childless, and named as his heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand, with the condition that Franz Ferdinand assumed the title of Archduke of Austria-Este.
As Franz Ferdinand married morganatically, his children couldn't inherit his titles, so when the Archduke was murdered in 1914, he was succeeded by his nephew Archduke Karl.
Karl later became Emperor in 1916, and as Emperor ceased to bear his Austria-Este titles; the following year, he invested his second son Robert as Archduke of Austria-Este (as the firstborn son, Otto, was the Heir to the Imperial Throne).

Everyone says that the original Habsburgs have died out. However, I have found descendents of Charles V through his son Juan of Austria.

Jerome or Juan of Austria was born as an illegitimate son. However, he was later accepted at court and more importantly acknowledged by Charles V as his son. Which is the equivalent of today's legal acknowledgement procedures which ties a child to the family of the father. Juan of Austria was addressed as Don (Sir) but he later strived to be recognized as Prince. Only after becoming general and admiral with some important victories for the crown did he gain the respect he so yearned for. However, his father died and Fillip II was less likely to recognize his half brother. There are a few historical records where indeed Juan of Austria is addressed as Prince. However, it seems that today it is most common to refer to him as Don Juan de Austria.

Of course, the crown of Spain passed through Fillip II etc. With the death of Charles II in 1700 the Spanish line was said to be extinct. In 1780 the Austrian branch ended with the death of Empress Maria Theresa. Who ensured continuation of the Habsburg name by linking it to her husbands offspring, thus the house of Habsburg-Lorraine was born.

However, it can be argued that the original Habsburgs never totally died out. Charles the V is said to have had a few illegitimate children, and Juan de Austria as well. Juan of Austria is said to have had one marriage with a Dutch lady just before his death.

From all those illegitimate offspring I do not know of any which have been acknowledged like Juan. There may well be more of them. In addition,... there is of course some ambiguity when it comes to his title. However, the romantic that I am, and seen the acknowledgement by Charles V, I would say that yes he and his offspring are princes and princesses.

Thus the house of Habsburg is not dead.

I have found the lineage of Juan and the Dutch lady. However, I would be very interested if anyone has any more information on the other illegitimate children of Juan and Charles V? Were any of them acknowledged like Juan? I believe Margaret of Parma was acknowledged as well.

Does anyone have or know where to find information on these illegitimate children their lineage/genealogy?


Everyone says that the original Habsburgs have died out. However, I have found descendents of Charles V through his son Juan of Austria.

Even if Juan was recognized, he was no dynast and AFAI found out, he was not legally married with children. So even if he was legitimized by his father in one way or the other, he left no legitimate children, thus this "branch" is a cul-de-sac.

Surely a lot of the "pure" Habsburgs had illegitimate offspring, but that doesn't mean that the "House of Habsburg" still exists, only that there are potential male-line descendants of Habsburg dynasts. But then we have the same with Charles II. of England and Scotland, who left male offspring and descendants till today. But none of them is a "Stuart".
[FONT=&quot]Hi Kataryn,

I learned that last year they found documents regarding his marriage and offspring. I do understand that this was a marriage without the (apparent knowledge and) consent of Fillip II, head of the house. So not sure how this affect things on the legality of the marriage. Although, I ask myself when the Catholic priest performed the marriage it must surely be respected by everyone at the time!?

Someone in this forum and on some history websites refer to him being illegitimate. This term reflects legitimacy and law. The term/word came into existence around the same time as Juan. But I am sure that at the time the term Bastard was more used with respect to Juan. As to legitimacy and law, well Charles V did receive him at court and recognised him as his son. After Charles V death, Fillip II did accept his half brother in the family. I did not find anything on succession law of the time. I am not sure, but I believe the head of the house his word was the law and that was the extent of it. Anyone have any links/resources on (Spanish) Habsburg succession law of 1547-1578?

Comparing with English history I found this:
[/FONT][FONT=&quot]"By Roger Powell, MA & Peter Beauclerk Dewar
Since 1066 when William the Conqueror (alias William the Bastard) took the throne, English and Scottish kings have sired at least 150 children out of wedlock. Many were acknowledged at court and founded dynasties of their own – several of today’s dukedoms are descended from them. Others were only acknowledged begrudgingly."[/FONT]

Indeed, during his life, Juan was suggested the crown of Greece, Tunis and some other regions. Including a suggested marriage to the crown of England. But Fillip II as head of the house never acted on any of these suggestions and Juan died before he could reach his goals of being a monarch in his own right.

So, in that sense he was no Dynast, nor Crown Prince. But, although forgotten in time, he and his offspring are of royal blood and direct descendants of Charles V. Due to his recognition I do think he can be regarded as a dynast Prince. If Juan hadn't died just after his marriage, and if his son wasn't kept secret due to the Dutch revolt and Fillip II being suspected of fratricide history may have looked quite differently.

But those are big ifs, and realistically, yes his line has been living in obscurity. But I still feel that this line has more justification to call themselves (original) Habsburgs, rather than those of Habsburg-Lorraine, who often ignore and drop the Lorraine part from their name.

Thus, I wonder if there are other cases like this? And with or without recognition, I would like to know if there are more direct descendants of Charles V? Anyone know?


It seems to me that the House of Habsburg went over into the House of Habsburg-Lorraine in the 18th century. But where does that leave the descendants of the original House of Habsburg? (originaly it was thought there were none left)

There are a few impoverished royal descendants around, I believe in Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Spain. Are they answerable to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine or are they regarded as an independent house? And how are, or should they, be recognized by other royal houses and countries.

Empress Maria Theresa, her sister Archduchess Maria Anna and their first cousins Electress Maria Josepha of Saxony and were the last dynasts of the Habsburgs. When MT married Franz Stephan of Lorraine, they had permission to rename their house/descendants into Habsburg-Lorraine (from the Pope, if I'm not mistaken). MT carried on the Habsburg line as her sister Maria Anna (who married the younger brother of Franz Stephan) and her only child both died during and/or soon after childbirth. Their 2 cousins married into other houses and were not allowed to carry on Habsburg line, although they (and their husbands) both fought for the crown lands of Austria.

I'm not sure whom you're referring to as the other line(s)/impoverished royal descendants of this house. The only line that is ever recognized from the 18th century onwards are those descended from MT in the male line and formed different branches: the main branch, Austria-Tuscany, Austria-Este, Austria-Hungary, and Austria-Teschen.

If the Head of House then (Philip II of Spanish Habsburgs) did not give his consent to the marriage of his half brother Juan, then Juan's descendants have an even weaker claims on anything (other than those given to him by his father or half- brother). Indeed, The Spanish succession at that time recognize females as successors to the throne, there was no need to recognize him or his descendants as dynasts (even though Juan's father recognized him as a son). I'm not sure if this existed at that particular time but the Austrian line could succeed the Spanish line and vice versa.

On any claims on the Habsburg-derived wealth, I believe there is not much to be claimed, if any, from the Spanish Bourbons (main line in Spain today), who do not own very considerable (private) properties now. The cadet branches (Two Sicilies & Parma) of the Spanish Bourbons seem better off as far as I know.....According to royal historian Arturo Beeche, Duke Robert I of Parma remained very wealthy despite being deprived of his duchy: "Not only did he receive a considerable amount of lands and palaces from his Parmesan inheritance, but he also received a fantastic endowment (both financial and territorial) from his uncle the Comte de Chambord, which included large properties in France and the Austrian empire.The confiscation of the Chambord estate was a huge mess. Eventually the French government had to compensate the Bourbon-Parma family".

So, Bourbon-Parma is wealthy on their own even after losing their duchy because of their inheritance from their Farnese and Bourbon/Chombard lines, not because of Spain although they received titles and appanages from it. Note that Duke Ferdinand I of Parma (also Infante of Spain) pleaded with his son Louis (during the exchange of Parma/Tuscany/Louisiana in 1801) to remember that Parma (from Louis' Farnese great-grandmother) was the family's only real assets. Similarly, the Bourbon-Two Sicilies branch of the Spanish Bourbons was also considerably endowed from their Farnese inheritance.

As for the surviving Austrian line of the Habsburgs, I read sometime back that they are trying to get properties and money from the Republic of Austria, those that originated from the fantastic trust fund left by Franz Stephan (from his own private fortune as he was a very talented businessman) for family members who may need it. I also read that they were able to get back some properties in a few of their other heredity lands under the Austrian crown.

So, using all these facts on the private wealth of the existing Spanish Bourbons and the Austrian Habsburgs, what can the Juan's descendants claim from these houses now?

I do know of an expert on the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs (especially 16th-18th centuries) and their various succession laws although he belongs to another royalty forum. I could ask him if you can send him a message or what. Just send me a PM about it. He can answer your queries much better!
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That is a nice and very complete post. My question was not so much regarding inheritance of wealth and lands as I am sure this family has no such claims. If they had any claims, it would refer to property of Juan at the time of his death, 1578. Which I understand was ceded by grant of Filip II to his mother who was living in Spain at the time.

My question is more in relation to the inheritance of family name and titles. As far as I understood the Veen line has been using the name of Juan de Austria his wife, Hillegond van Veen, over the years. This is a surviving male line, Spanish. And without situations like when Maria Theresa continued the line through her husband as Habsburg-Lorraine.

I was wondering if there are other unbroken male lines like this. Other families who are direct descendants of the early/main Habsburg, and thus having a right to the name Habsburg?

If you know an expert I would of course like to get in touch. Maybe PM me?


Thanks too for starting this very interesting thread!

I meant to mention Electress Maria Amalia of Bavaria as the other first cousin of Maria Theresa in the 1st paragraph of my reply earlier.

Kindly send me a PM on the gist of what you specifically want to know and I'll send it to my friend although he might be very busy right now. He has other friends who are serious historians who might also help.
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Research into my family has led me here. My grand mother was Marie Caroline Grafin von Blanckenstein. She had told me many times of lost family wealth during WWII. I have since tried to find ways of regaining the family wealth, place, and titles. If you know of a way to do this, as you all seem very well informed, please let me know. As a direct decendant from this line am I entitled to anything as far as "birthright". I know it may seem naive or even absurd but this is the line... Franz 1 Stephan to Leopold 2 to Marie Klementine von Osterreich to Maria Carolina di Burbone (2nd marraige) to Don Adinolfo Lucchessi-Palli to Euginie von Ezenberg to Caroline von blanckenstein... then to my mother and lastly myself. I started this as a way to contact family but they are hard to get a hold of... case in point. My grandmother's, sister's, grandchild and I are the same age and same line.... She is Paula Wolff (von Neipperg) and we see how different her life is to mine.
It's very interesting. I'm no expert but I do know that in German states, one takes the title(s) of the patrilineal line (if any), pre-WW1. The "lowest" title for the Maria Theresa's descendants in the male line are "Count/ess of Habsburg" (for those who marry unequally).

Other countries, such as Italy and the Austrian Netherlands, permit daughters to inherit titles.
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well i guess i am the lowest now. My grandmother married an american as did my mother... i guess titles don't transfer? As far as i know there are a lot of our possesions cataloged in museams and the house, Castle Batelov, has been a school for the last 20 years. The remaining family that stayed all of course married titled families and have wealth of their own. But being part of this bloodline what can be done to be recognised by the House?

Also as far as the original question of this board... Since the House of Habsburg was simply renamed Couldn'tit be said that the original House is still active and just that, renamed?

The house was not simply renamed. The original male line was believed to have died out and thus the power and head of the house was transferred to Maria Theresa. Since she was a she this was a problem. It triggered even a war as some of the related families/powers did not accept her. She won and was later accepted and it was agreed the house would continue through her offspring. Since her husband was de Lorraine it was agreed to join the houses names, and thus it became Habsburg-Lorraine. This thread is about direct male descendants of the original Habsburgs, who were appearantly incorrectly assumed to have died out. I found one line of direct Male descendants to Charles V and further, and was wondering if there are others. Genetical male lines that is, this is beside any power or titles issues.

As far as I understand your query and history, you are linked to the Habsburg-Lorraines. I believe that Otto von Habsburg has transfered the powers as head of the house to one of his sons. He is the one to address. He can accept you as family and confirm your rightfull title. Then it depends on the country of which you have nationality, or where you are residing, to honour this title. In many cases they do not. I know that the US does not recognizes royal titels. However, they did allow in some cases this to become part of the family name. Thus some passports may say Mrs Xxxxxx of Habsburg-Lorraine. Or Mrs Xxxxxx Duchess of Habsburg-Lorraine. Strange situation, but that was reported to me by a Habsburg-Lorraine with US citizenship/nationality. Austria I believe has similar issues. (Some surviving royalty disregard local laws and continue to use their titles) I have not much knowledge on the Habsburg-Lorraines and would not know much about your family connections. I guess chart your genealogy and ask Otto von Habsburg, or his son. Which one I forgot, check wikipedia etc.


Oh, my previous post was only regarding your title/salutation. When I read about family property, castles, land etc. That is a whole different issue. Then you are talking about the juristiction the property is in. Some countries have laws which make it easier to return previous property to descendants, other countries are extremely difficult or it is just not possible. If money or property is your aim.... get your genealogy confirmed through official documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, wills, etc) and get a good (local) lawyer. I dont expect it to be easy, and most likely not cheap.

Also, imagine you get to own a castle. Then you should have good money to pay any property taxes, maintenance, etc. Thinking of selling it to make some money on it,.... possible, but who will buy it. And can you legally sell it since you just acquired it through some special laws. Some countries do not allow you to sell it for a number of years. A lot of homework to do....

Back to the main question in this thread.... any one know of direct male descendants of the original Habsburgs?
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Thank you for the information.

I've been using thepeerage.com a bit. It is very extensive may help out a bit.
I'm just curious, does anyone know why Archduchess Maria Isabella looked down on the Boubon-Parma family?

It couldn't be that they were "lower" than her, like in the case of Countess Sophie Chotek. Isabella was born a Princess of Croy, from a very wealthy, mediatised family, yes, but they never had royal status.... Besides, that generation of Bourbon Parma shared quite a similar ancestry as her husband and rich as well (the Austria-Teschen line was rich). I understand she could be a difficult woman, who also made a big fuss about her nephew marrying a (rich) American commoner in the early 1900s. Perhaps she was just a difficult woman?
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I don't know the reasons of the animosity of Archduchess Isabella towards the Parmas; she surely was a difficult woman. She made the big fuss when her nephew Carl wanted to marry to Nancy Leishman, eventually obtaining that the German Emperor forbade Carl and Nancy to marry in Germany; and as for Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Choteck, she made a big fuss too not (only) because Sophie was a mere Countess (instead, this was the reason of Franz Joseph's denial to allow their marriage as equal), but because Isabella wanted Franz Ferdinand to marry her daughter Marie Christine.
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You're right, of course. I forgot Archduchess Isabella wanted one of her daughters to be the bride of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. I'll see if I can find out why she was hostile to the Bourbon-Parma family. ;)
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HRH Duchess Elisabeth von Hohenberg, née Princess of Luxembourg, Nassau and Bourbon-Parma
passed away today, aged 88.

She was born at Berg Castle on 22 December 1922, the second child and first daughter of Prince Felix of Luxembourg and Bourbon-Parma and of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg.

She married on 9 May 1956 to Duke Franz von Hohenberg, the eldest son of Duke Maximilian and Duchess Maria Elisabeth von Hohenberg; they became parents of two daughters, Princess Anita and Princess Sophie. Her husband predeceased her in 1977.

She is survived by her daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, her siblings Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, Princess Marie Gabrielle, Countess Holstein til Ledreborg, and Princess Alix de Ligne and their families.

wort.lu | Artikel | Prinzessin Elisabeth von Luxemburg gestorben
Some pictures of the memorial service celebrated on 15 December 2011 for the late HRH Duchess Elisabeth von Hohenberg at the church of Saint Michel in Luxembourg:
Elisabeth of Hohenberg

The service was attended, among the others, by Duchess Elisabeth's daughter Anita and Sophie with their husbands Count Andreas von Bardeau and Baron Jean-Louis de Potesta; Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg; Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg; Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg; Princess Alix de Ligne; Prince Wauthier and Princess Regine de Ligne; Prince Peter von Hohenberg; Archduchess Anna-Gabriele of Austria.
Footage of Habsburg descendants Hohenberg

Just found a fascinating film footage of France Ferdinand Habsburg descendants called Hohenberg. Really lovely. Takes some time to load.

hohenberg franz ferdinand

The site seems to have other Habsburg / Hapsburg footage
Princess Maria-Christina of Altenburg died in Żywiec (Poland) on2 October.

She was born there on 8 December 1923 as second of four children and older daughter of Archduke Karl-Albrecht of Austria (1888-1951) & his wife Alice Anacrona, created Princess of Altenburg (1889-1985).
She leaves her brother Karl (b.1921), sister Renata (b.1931), brother-in-law Eduardo de Zulueta y Dato (b.1923) and nephews and nieces: Christina (b.1955, only daughter of Karl), Carlos (b.1958), Ernesto (b.1961) and Isabella (b.1965; children of Renata) as well as four grandnephews and three grandnieces (grandchildren of Renata); her other brother Karl-Albrecht predeceased her in 1928, aged 2. Her sister-in-law, Marie-Luise af Petersen predeceased her in 1998, aged 88. In 1957 she lost her two nephews: one-year old Karl-Albrecht (son of Karl) in 1957 and 17-year old Jaime (son of Renata) in 1988.
She was unmarried and childless.

Sources: Theroff Files - an Online Gotha - Austria
Hein Bruins Page - Descendants of the Duke of Teschen
von Meran

Cornelia Kirpicsenko-Meran née Countess von Meran died in Salzburg, Austria, on 27 June 2013 after a long illness.

She was born on 14 November 1963 as a daughter of Count Adolf von Meran (1919-2010) & his wife, Ada Maria Kindermann (1922-2012).

On 31 January 1999 she married Walter Kirpicsenko (b.1957) by whom she had three children; she is also survived by her only brother Johannes (b.1961) and sister-in-law with their children.

Source: These Royal Recently Passed Away | NettyRoyal
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Did the Archduchess Isabella have a specific daughter in mind to be a wife to the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?
Yes, she wanted him to marry her eldest daughter, Archduchess Maria Christina. Or better, she expected him to marry her because of his frequent visits at their estate, until one day she discovered that Franz Ferdinand visited her family so often because he was in love with one of her ladies-in-waiting, Countess Sophie Choteck.
Maria Christina (1879-1962) later married to Hereditary Prince Emanuel zu Salm-Salm.
Franz Ludwig Johann Baptist (1839-1891) was the only child of Archduke Johann of Austria-Tuscany and Anna Maria Ploch.
He was raised to rank as Count von Meran April 29, 1844 and served the Habsburg emperors as Imperial and Royal Chamberlain.
Did Archduchess Isabella of Teschen arrange marriages for her daughters Maria Henrietta, Isabella, or Maria Alice?
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I don't know about Maria Henrietta and Maria Alice, but Archduchess Isabella was forced to marry to Prince Georg of Bavaria, though I don't know if it was her mother in particular to force her or in general her family.
Prince Georg was a son of Prince Leopold of Bavaria - son of Prince Regenr Luitpold and brother of King Ludwig III - and of Archduchess Gisela of Austria, the daughter of Emperor Franz Josef.
He and Archduchess Isabella were forced to marry in February 1912; in particular it was Isabella who didn't really want to marry him. During the honeymoon they spent all the time clashing and they were already separated before the honeymoon ended. They then went to Munich, in Bavaria, to reside there, but after just three days Isabella returned to Vienna. By the end of 1912 they were officially separated and in January 1913 their marriage was officially dissolved.
Isabella later in 1915 fell in love and wanted to marry to a surgeon, Paul Albrecht, but the marriage was forbidden by Emperor Franz Josef.
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