09.05.

1892: Zita of Bourbon-Parma – Last Ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

1892: Zita of Bourbon-Parma – Last Ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Charles and Zita with their children in exile at Herstenstein, Switzerland, 1921

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 9 May 1892
  • Servant of God, Zita of Bourbon-Parma, was the wife of Blessed Charles von Habsburg - the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Even three Zita’s sisters became nuns, and she also allegedly considered it. It is interesting that Zita was the 17th child of her father.

This day in 1892 marked the birth of Zita of Bourbon-Parma, who was the last Austro-Hungarian ruler i.e. the last Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.

Her name was Zita and she was born into the prominent family of Bourbon-Parma. She became Empress because, at the age of 19, she married Blessed Charles von Habsburg – the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Her husband was beatified by the Catholic Church and is known for being very devout and peaceful.

Empress Zita was born in Tuscany, Italy, and was named after St. Zita, who lived there in the 13th century. 

It is almost an incredible fact that the future Empress Zita was the 17th consecutive child of her father. His name was Robert of BourbonParma who, in early youth, ruled an independent state called “Duchy of Parma and Piacenza“.  

Therefore, he held the title of “Duke of Parma and Piacenza” (Duca di Parma e Piacenza). However, when he was only 10 years old, Robert was overthrown in the process of the unification of Italy. 

Although he was no longer a ruler, he remained rich and respectable. He owned a private train and the famous château de Chambord in France. 

Robert is perhaps most interesting for the fact that he had as many as 24 children (12 with his first wife, who died in childbirth, and another 12 with his second wife).

The future Empress Zita was raised as a good Catholic. In this large family, there was a custom of sharing with the poor. 

Three of Zita’s sisters became nuns, and she also allegedly considered it. However, she eventually married Blessed Charles von Habsburg. Their oldest son was the recently-deceased Otto Habsburg.

The process for the beatification of Empress Zita has been opened, which is why she is addressed as Servant of God.

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